As I always say, the pace of change isn’t going to slow down. In fact, I would suggest the COVID-19 pandemic sped it up, as customers have now come to expect faster service, delivered in more ways than ever before. Companies that want to succeed in today’s fast-paced world need to focus on the needs of the customer, while also finding the right people who can lead the charge within the organization.
This heightened need to focus on client satisfaction is evident in research in a new report Making Way for Industry 5.0 by Visual Components, which suggests 60% of client expectations have evolved as costs have also increased.
It was also a conversation I was having last week on The Peggy Smedley Show with Devraj Bardhan, CTO, SAP managed services, IBM Consulting, and Nathan Weaver, senior director, SAP business unit, Microsoft, where we discussed that good value for both the business and the customer is required today, meaning it is critical businesses focus on the customer journey.
The podcast conversation and the research from the report came to a very similar conclusion: To battle high costs while also meeting customer needs, companies need to look toward technology, which in many cases can help people—both employees and customers.
Digging in a bit deeper to the report, in terms of technology adoption and use in the manufacturing environment, 71% are at least fairly confident their business has embraced concepts such as automation, AI (artificial intelligence), and realtime data, while 72% believe their current solutions allow workers to be at the center of the production process.
This is all good news except the report also suggests more than half of companies are not investing in training in the use of new technologies, which could ultimately slow progress in Industry 5.0. Investing in the right technology, developing the right processes, and training to support skilled employees are all key to a good technology adoption journey.
Sustainability is also a huge component in all of this—especially in manufacturing. Manufacturers believe they have made the most progress in waste reduction (43%), improving efficiency (43%), and reducing power usage (29%). The latter is likely to be driven by rising energy costs, as businesses look to cut costs. Meanwhile only 12% cite a reduction in needed transportation, but it’s likely this figure will increase as more manufacturers look to reshore.
Yes, that is right. Almost four-in-10 are planning to reshore their operations due to the economic climate, partly due to expense to manage operations across several countries. Technologies—such as simulation software—can help drive sustainability forward, as businesses look to reduce waste, optimize design, and ensure efficiency.
Still, in all of this, employees are the key to driving sustainability strategies, with roughly two-thirds of respondents stating this. It is the people who will drive change. Customers and employees alike are demanding it. Now it is up to companies to determine how they will respond. It requires us understanding and leveraging the people-centric component and applying the right services that complement the journey. Too often we leave one ingredient out and I can assure you your cake will not rise, let alone be flavorful. We need people, process, and technology to complete the journey.
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