Manufacturing-as-a-Service: How Manufacturers Can Take the First Step

Posted by Sabine Kempe on Feb 10, 2022 9:55:22 AM
Sabine Kempe
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What is manufacturing-as-a-service about?

Manufacturing-as-a-service is a service-oriented business model that exists since pre-industrial times when farmers brought their wheat to the mill to get flour. It is based on sharing manufacturing infrastructure to reduce costs and make better products. In practice, customers define what needs to be made, and the manufacturer makes it.

However, with the availability of Industry 4.0 digital technology (IIoT, additive-manufacturing, connectivity, big data, and cloud computing), MaaS becomes a highly flexible model that can produce faster, cheaper, and in any quantity while keeping resource consumption under tight control.

Download our Manufacturing Sales Handbook to find out more about the MaaS model and how digital sales can help manufacturers accelerate their transition to this model. 

How the MaaS model lowers traditional risks

Manufacturing sales handbook MaaS

The MaaS model keeps traditional manufacturing business risks low

The chart above outlines the four key risks that all manufacturing businesses have to consider during operations. As the chart points out, the MaaS model negates all of the traditional risks that manufacturing businesses are subject to. Transitioning to this model, however, requires a shift from a focus on products, to a focus on services—using an approach called “servitization.”

Risk 1: Time needed to deliver products

Servitization powered by technology gives manufacturers much greater speed than before. Technology like digital sales, connectivity, data processing, robotics, and additive manufacturing helps to keep manufacturers in a constantly ready state. Once order data (digital sales) come in, it is immediately sent to the backend and used (connectivity & data) to kickstart production (robotics & additive manufacturing). MaaS manufacturers that have invested in proximity-to-market also gain a significant speed advantage over businesses located further away.

Risk 2: Agility and the impact of change

Just like how technology improves speed, it also improves an organization’s agility. Technology gives a MaaS business elasticity, and the ability to react quickly to changes in design, demand, or volume. Changes to product design parameters can reach production in an instant and the final product can be altered quickly with less utilization waste. The same could be said when it comes to demand or volume—since they have the ability to scale production quantity without any adverse effects.

Risk 3: Cost of engineering incurred and risk of design error

In a MaaS model, much of the engineering costs come from the initial stages. Investment is used on developing a robust system that can produce on demand. Design errors can be quickly corrected before production begins. Even when production has started, changes to the product can quickly be introduced with minimal utilization waste.

Risk 4: Investment needed in development

The MaaS model uses technology to gain the advantages of other traditional manufacturing models. Just like the ETO model, a MaaS manufacturer does not need to invest in development as the infrastructure is already in place even before orders come in. Once it receives orders, it is ready to produce immediately.

Why digital sales is key when transitioning to MaaS

Transitioning to a successful MaaS business requires a radical shift in perspective. Manufacturers are now selling highly complex outcomes rather than complex products. With MaaS, outcomes are a combination of products, solutions, and services that meets customer requirements. Achieving this requires manufacturers to reimagine operations, financials, and most importantly, their approach to sales and what happens after the transaction.

And since customers are buying outcomes, MaaS businesses have to ensure those outcomes meet expectations. This is a customer-centric approach that leading manufacturers have already invested in. For Satisloh, a customer-driven approach helps improve revenue by:

  • Improving forecast accuracy
  • Increasing aftersales support
  • Reducing costs of errors

By digitizing sales, Satisloh also set a data-driven foundation for its future digital ambitions.

Read more about Satisloh's customer-centric approach to sales success here

A Digital Sales Platform is the first step towards a successful MaaS model. It has the technology embedded to fully digitize and transform any manufacturer’s sales process, end-to-end. For instance, it has embedded CPQ technology that integrates with a manufacturer’s ERP to enable solution configuration in minutes, as well as accurate pricing and lead times. This integration also allows order data to be sent back into the ERP and used to quickly kickstart production quickly and with zero errors. 

An embedded CRM then helps manufacturers use this data in conjunction with customer data to raise customer engagement and forecasting to the next level. Add in eCommerce functionality, and the system provides manufacturers with a complete Digital Sales Platform that empowers customers with self-service access to the manufacturing business.

That means customers can configure, buy, and get their solutions delivered with just a few clicks of a button—the definition of on-demand manufacturing. Extend it to aftersales, and manufacturers get the interconnected benefits of sales digitalization in one powerful package—a massive competitive advantage.

Explore how the In Mind Cloud Digital Sales Platform sets the stage for your transition into a true MaaS business. Download the Manufacturing Sales Handbook to find out how our Digital Sales Platform is ready to elevate your manufacturing sales regardless of the manufacturing model you use. If you have further questions, you can book a no-obligation consultation with our manufacturing sales experts to get your answers.

Manufacturing Sales Handbook
Sabine Kempe

Written by Sabine Kempe

Sabine - a digital enthusiast at heart, she is dedicated to matching the challenges of manufacturing businesses with the opportunities of a digitalized world.

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