Manufacturers want a competitive advantage over their rivals, and with many already utilising the best that automation offers the race to maximise digital efficiencies is on. Production Information Management (PIM) makes that journey much easier.
For some time there has been a digital skills shortage across manufacturing. That applies to the workforce, and also having the right digital technologies and tools in place.
Historically, it’s been the company infrastructure lagging behind. That changed as efficient machinery arrived on assembly facilities, and new servers and computers gave staff better access to important data to make quicker and more informed decisions about products.
The environment also heaved a sigh of relief as many of those slower paper-based systems were mothballed.
Slowly but surely organisations also established an online presence to showcase the products and services they offered. Some websites were basic but they acted as a central point of contact, offering phone, email and some download options.
However, in many instances customers had to take two or three actions to buy products. If it wasn’t scrolling through a PDF of part listings, it was having to phone through card payment details.
There were bottlenecks in the buying process and there was nothing to bring all aspects of the experience together.
Production Information Management (or PIM) offers a route to digital success, where all stages of the design, build, marketing and sales process can be centrally organised and better presented to customers.
From manufacturing data through to the digital sales receipt via the ecommerce pages, PIM is in tune with how more and more consumers want to transact.
Digital payments becoming the norm
How customers are behaving, gathering information and buying products is changing rapidly.
Data from the UK Finance association shows that digital payments have now comfortably overtaken cash transactions.
That fact points to one thing: customers now prefer the online journey, especially those that allow them to take an easy path to purchase.
And why would any organisation want to make things difficult for its customers? Giving website visitors an easy online experience breeds brand loyalty, referrals rise and users spend longer browsing pages of product information.
More than just placing orders
Selling parts and accessories is just one element of an efficient ecommerce solution. However, customers now want more than point-and-click purchasing.
With the world at their fingertips they now have increased choice. They demand to know how a product or service provides a solution to the problems they encounter.
The complete digital experience enables the users of complex machinery and tools to explore assemblies via linked 3D interactive experiences. They can identify what they need quickly and satisfy any curiosities they have before making the purchase.
They should also be able to browse and buy where they want, when they want and on a range of devices.
On a simplistic level, there can also be immediate savings for organisations. Fewer customers will need to call in where face-to-face contact is required, and there will be less payments made over the phone that rely on customer service representatives.
Utilising PIM and ecommerce to drive digital sales can improve consistency, transaction speeds and help to cut costs.
Don’t miss the digital payment revolution
Like every change of behaviour, new marketing idea, or method of interacting with customers, there is no end date that signals manufacturing organisations have missed the digital boat.
The transition must be put in place when it’s affordable (website rebuild and implementation of product information management tools), but the appropriate skillsets must be available to make full use of any roll-out.
Deploying state-of-the-art online tools will only work if functions across the business embrace the power of data generated. The consistent information distributed by a PIM system should be used by all areas of the business and its customers.
The Epitomy Platform is a worthy solution that can work for manufacturers of complex parts. Powerful, intuitive and tailored to business requirements as appropriate, full training and ongoing support is also available.
Where technology or skills shortfalls exist, our solutions can help.
And it’s not just a fancy front-end to dazzle would-be customers. There are many knock-on benefits from PIM that reach way beyond offering website visitors a great experience.
Digital sales mean direct stock adjustments that also helps the core production unit react to changing demand. Integrated reporting tools will chart customer preferences, and this will help to shape the development and design of future products.
In the first instance, why not take an online digital tour of the Epitomy offering? Call us to arrange a demonstration: 0114 258 0404