Everybody is talking about Speed-to-Market with the power of bringing new products to your customers first and fast. But fostering a conducive environment for innovations to bloom does not get you gold in this battle stretching from development, through sales and further until production. So let’s look at the hurdles for what actually is not a sprint but rather a marathon for manufacturers and engineering businesses and how to get there. Fast.
Why is speed so important for manufacturers?
Well, just as Benjamin Franklin stated “Time is money”. Undeniably. So let’s break this down, how speed-to-market makes or takes your money:
- You are more of a long-term commitment player and not in the speed game in your vertical? Got it. But consider that in a more and more globalized market, your competition draws closer. They might reach your customer first with new products, services or simply the right offer or bundle at the right time. Your customers are pressured just as well by their audience to deliver fast and flawless. So have an honest look at your customer retention rate and reconsider your stand.
- Let’s talk about quality. You might have the better products of higher quality, but other businesses might just pick up on the opportunity to dominate the market, even with a substandard product—simply because they got there first.
- But those who convince with long-lasting customer relationships AND higher quality will also make the deal, right? In a fairy-flossed business world this is absolutely the case. Reality hits revenues hard when businesses realize they are giving away the role of an industry leader and instead are forced to engage in price battles with a manifesting reputation of being a costly follower.
If you have nodded to these points at least once, you may now be ready to hear, how to achieve the holy grail of magical speed-to-market.
Speed-to-Market Hack #1: Update your Shopfloor
The old tale of a dollar spent is a dollar earned is not untrue when it comes to the production floor. In the age of Industry 4.0 it is not just the re-assessment of your production line or the upgrade of machines with sensors. New technology such as autonomous robots and self-optimization, additive manufacturing or the Industrial Internet of Things are evolving. With them unfold countless options to increase your production speed in a smart factory.
Real-time results and lean achievements can truly catapult one business to the top of the market. But mind that an upgrade or replacement of production equipment is naturally tied to a capital expenditure that might be beyond your current scope. Plus, production speed does not necessarily translate into speed-to-market. Let’s look further.
Speed-to-Market Hack #2: The Human Factor
If you want to put your company on the fast track, it is crucial that your employees are operating at the best productivity. Even with advanced process automation implemented in your factories, your key employees can still tip the balance when it comes to efficiency and productivity. A thorough analysis of workflows and tasks followed by re-allocating your human resources to more value adding tasks can dramatically increase productivity.
But monitoring and refining your engineering or development teams plus offering bonuses for exceeding quotas can only ever be half the battle. On top of that perform a thorough review of management and productivity tools (or the lack thereof) and you will often uncover stumbling blocks, which brings us to:
Speed-to-Market Hack #3: One Manufacturing Sales Platform
Maintaining a collection of business process and productivity tools or isolated systems that don’t integrate can become your biggest speed-to-market bummer. Imagine your data flows as the stream of life in your business. A collective of puddles won’t deliver you any momentum. A platform that connects your development and engineering department with your sales and right further into the production does not only boost productivity but will significantly reduce the time to market.
Features such as
- A complete CAD integration for ETO development and tender composition,
- real-time product, configuration, materials and process data for sales, and
- deep back-end ties as detailed as ERP Order Split options to enable faster production
are just a few examples for a well-balanced platform capability set.
Speed-to-market is determined by a series of factors. Improvements of operational speed factors can often tarnish the actual need to digitalize the entire development-to-production chain. In order to achieve long-term efficiency and productivity a well-integrated platform with a number of connectors is the way to go to bringing new innovations to the market faster.
Are you ready for a consultation on how a digitalized development-to-production chain can help you to shorten the time-to-market significantly?