BrandPost: How Manufacturers Must Adapt in the Age of the Customer

Products and processes have always been a priority – that’s understandable. Change has been continuous: manufacturers have been on a journey that has taken them from the sweat of physical production towards automation and robotic assembly. Now a connected future beckons, with the dizzying potential of sensor data and Internet of Things ‘smart’ products and connected devices. Despite economic uncertainty, it’s generating exciting new digital services and direct-to-consumer concepts that have the potential to radically change how the manufacturing industry operates. Customers are excited about the evolution of connected products – and it’s these customer needs and demands that are rapidly changing behaviors which are driving innovation in the industry. This means that customers need to be at the center of the way manufacturers think and operate – now more than ever. Yet research highlighted by Deloitte suggests that consumer behavior is shifting from accepting that one-size-fits-all is the only available option to demanding customization and personalization. But according to Deloitte, many manufacturers are struggling to communicate with and receive feedback from their end consumers. Perhaps that’s due to difficulties with innovation, but a worrying 77% also don’t consider improving customer satisfaction as a key business challenge. Customer needs may be falling down the priority list. If manufacturers are to secure their future, what must they do? In the first of a series of blogs, I take a look at the overarching changes that are going to drive manufacturers to adapt and alter their perspective in 2017 and beyond.

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