Stefanie Naujoks
Stefanie Naujoks (Research Director, Manufacturing Insights Europe)

Manufacturing organisations need to operate in an uncertain, volatile and increasingly digital business and market environment. Closer integration and collaboration with suppliers, customers and partners can enable them to detect, react and even anticipate any potential business disruptions or unexpected events, changing market conditions or customer requirements better and more rapidly.

Our research shows, however, that only 28% of manufacturing organisations worldwide have clear and timely visibility of their ecosystem — limiting their ability to adapt rapidly to changing conditions. The remaining 72% risk not being able to quickly tackle upcoming challenges. This could be bottlenecks in the supply chain or changing customer requirements or market conditions. Those that have good visibility into their ecosystem will have more data and insights and will be able to react more rapidly — making them more resilient.

But it’s not only about being resilient. Organisations will need to become digitally resilient and be able to rapidly adapt to business disruptions by leveraging digital capabilities to not only restore business operations but also capitalise on the changed conditions.

A recent IDC report, PlanScape: Ecosystem Strategies to Improve Digital Resiliency in Manufacturing, looks at how digital resilience can be improved through closer integration with stakeholders in the manufacturing industry ecosystem, such as customers, suppliers and partners. It highlights the areas that need to be addressed by organisations to develop, retain, renew or optimise their relationships with customers, suppliers and partners to ensure innovation and achieve long-term business growth in and beyond any crisis utilising digital technologies.

The report highlights the top 10 ecosystem strategies for manufacturers to improve on low and medium levels of ecosystem resilience:

  1. Ensure closer collaboration and integration. Manufacturing organisations must foster closer collaboration and integration with ecosystem stakeholders to increase digital resilience. This includes customers, suppliers and partners.
  2. Make digital technologies major enablers. Digital technologies should be the major enablers of digital This includes technologies to enable and scale ecosystems such as cloud and technologies to increase efficiency of ecosystem operations such as automated workflows and IoT.
  3. Adopt a digital-first approach for customer engagements. Develop and implement IT solutions and applications that help to ensure ongoing sales and after-sales operations, order management and fulfilment, as well as customer support and field service operations that enable frictionless engagement with customers anytime and anywhere or enable customer self-service portals to reduce dependency on physical sales or service points of contact.
  4. Put data at the core. To attract, sell to, retain and renew customers, data should be utilised much better by utilising digital technologies such as data analytics and AI for additional business opportunities, but also to identify changing customer and market requirements and demand early.
  5. Increase supply chain visibility. Ensure ongoing order fulfilment, visibility and transparency across the entire supply chain network. Transparency across the means of available transportation, close monitoring of the supplier network and supplier risk assessment tools can help to avoid risks in the supplier base.
  6. Utilise channel data for faster decision making. Leverage data from the channels to better align demand and supply, enable real-time sales and operations planning, and support intelligent supplier sourcing and automated sourcing to reduce dependency on manual decision making, based on wrong or outdated data.
  7. Orchestrate the ecosystem based on trust. The more organisations collaborate with partners, the more they will need the right ecosystem orchestration and management including the introduction of governance mechanisms, data privacy and trust supported by digital technologies such as blockchain.
  8. Consider partnering with peers. Organisations should look to shared operations or production facilities in times of uncertainty.
  9. Increase customer value. Organisations should consider adding third-party components or services to their own products if this increases overall customer value.
  10. Reduce risks. Partner with key providers such as insurance companies or payment providers that can help to reduce financial risks in times of uncertainty or crisis.


For more information, please refer to the recent IDC PlanScape Ecosystem Strategies to Improve Digital Resiliency in Manufacturing or reach out to Stefanie Naujoks.

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