How ERP3.0 is THE customer experience

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It is our desire to have what we want, when we want that drives the next revolution and we’ve seen it coming since the internet allowed us to access so much and so much more quickly. 

As Steve Jobs used to say “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them”. What we do know however is that we want more choice, more personalized and faster products. And, as a result manufacturing and production needs to adapt quickly to these changing market demands or fear being left behind. This grasping of customer wants and responding accordingly is massive and defines ERP3.0 (Industry4.0).

That first touch frequently outside the manufacturing floor or maintenance call sits with the IoT/Mobile device in the hands of the customer. It is the integration of such that brings the IoT directly into manufacturing and the service industry.

Imagine getting the exact car/computer/TV/Refrigerator etc you want, with your personal customized design and specific functionality when you want it at a price no more than that of today’s product. This is so very possible, care of ERP3.0/i4.0.

so where’s the customer?

Let’s wake-up to the new world and no longer hanker over how it used to be! Not so long ago, we’d read a newspaper and see an advert once or twice, then we’d watch it on TV, it’d grab our attention and interest and we’d head off to the store to learn more and maybe purchase. The Press and TV had a captive audience with minimal competition.

Then came the internet and the mobile device and it turned on its head how we use our time, view products and buy. Now it’s in our chosen time. How many of us read newspapers? watch TV commercials? buy anything without doing our own research on the net?

The radio is all but gone, in fact let’s think back and in fact the TV is now our radio and our mobile phone has become our new TV. BBC is Facebook, BBC2 is Instagram, ITV is Facebook and Sky News is LinkedIn. The sooner we grasp this, the better we will all be in tuning into our new audiences. 

The sales interaction will start to involve a customizable and internet based experience and soon in the form of VR and in perhaps another ten years AR. 

Please don’t misunderstand all the old channels will exist, however their effectiveness is declining and will continue to do so. 

But this is incredible news for the seller/manufacturer as it offers a level of customer intelligence (data deciphered) care of the internet, and Big Date now starting to be realized by companies. In realtime customers can engage with the enterprise and supplier to enjoy a buying experience like never before and they are going to expect it.

& into the factory it will go

No two products need be identical and it will be to the customer’s individual requirements. The customer designs through customizable website or VR or AR. This is then in lightning speed transmitted as design data to the planners (collaborative AI/ML) who assign the production process automatically to the suppliers. 

Quickly, this ends up on the modularized autonomous robotic manufacturing floor that includes 3d printing for the more complex parts. These robots are perfect for the non-repetitive production having been learning “as they go”. Today, typically just 8% of production tasks are automated and with the introduction of robots (already happening at Amazon) this is expected to rise dramatically improving productivity by 25%, output and growth by 20%, demanding more human labor as a result. Rejects are removed from the inevitable process and costs are driven down. 

The finished product is then packaged and sent via self-driving, IoT-tracked trucks to the product manufacturer for assembly. 

As customer demands increase not only in terms of personalization and choices, so too does speed. A competitive market will bring about speed through proximity to the customer and therefore localization of product but still with global standards. Lean, agile and local factories! Versatility is everything.

we’ll need more people

For years now we’ve been trying to save costs in manufacturing and slowly productivity has declined, decade on decade for the last 50 years. We’ve been offshoring to “cheaper” places only to find with the increasing price of labour that there no longer cheaper. Then we tried to make the factories bigger to benefit from the perceived economies of scale only to find this rigidity has throttled our product agility and supply chains.

The internet came but has very little impact on productivity and in fact arguably so far it’s made it worse, being used successfully as a form of entertainment and media. 

Now, however with the demand for better and smarter products there sits an opportunity for their workforce, care of i4.0 and its IoT, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Computer Simulations, Autonomous Robots, CyberSecurity, Big Data, Additive Manufacturing, Self-driving logistics and Augmented Reality. Customer opportunity for choice and personalization combined with speed becomes the new norm! Multi-product and Make-to-Order is the way of the future and it will need to be supplied and manned locally. But we must retrain our workforces.