The Record - Issue 9: Summer 2018

98 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E “Manufacturers are not only providing a product but nurturing a relationship that is built on feedback and trust” P roducts of all kinds have become increas- ingly complex in the digital age, as a rapid succession of digital technologies has ena- bled ever faster, more agile and intelligent product design. At the same time, mobile devices have put a world of social connections, work tools and lei- sure activities in the palms of people’s hands. This combination of influences is driving consumer expectations for new products that deliver an up-to-the-minute, personalised experience – and manufacturers are under pressure to find faster, more efficient ways to produce high quality prod- ucts and respond to market trends. “The manufacturing industry is shifting its focus from building products as standalone offerings to providing services that enhance existing products,” says Bill Moffett, senior global industry product marketing manager, manufacturing at Microsoft. “In doing so manufacturers are not only providing a product but nurturing a relationship that is built on feedback and trust. This has become increas- ingly important as the expectation for mass cus- tomisation has become the norm. Manufacturers need the flexibility to create customised products for a segment of one if they are to succeed.” Success depends on manufacturers’ ability to reach out to the marketplace and connect with key partners across intelligence, product development, operations and services. “Creating a successful product demands in-depth customer knowledge and seamless communication with engineers, suppliers and other partners,” says Moffett. “Obtaining and then understanding feedback is critical whether it’s with vendors, customers or even within your own organisation. The insight gained from that feedback provides significant gains across the supply chain and internal manu- facturing operations. Whether it’s improved and expedited delivery modes, changes in packaging or various forms of product innovation, timely and quality feedback is the core to the overall ability of a manufacturer to not only provide what the market wants, but also to anticipate market changes. From product innovation to packaging changes, timely, quality feedback is core to the overall ability of a BY J ACQU I GR I F F I THS Huge transformations have swept across the manufacturing landscape, challenging traditional processes and operations. Success will depend on manufacturers’ ability to up their game, and this will only be achieved through the implementation of new technologies A new manufacturing landscape