Industry 4.0 drives future of sales


Industry 4.0 drives future of sales

Industry 4.0 technologies allow consumer and industrial products companies to innovate their business models with new customer propositions such as customised products, data-driven sales solutions or advanced services. Traditional companies should be following leading industry examples to stay competitive and reinvent themselves with platform-based, smarter customer solutions.

With revenue growth continuing to be a key priority for Swiss manufacturing companies, they will need to evolve and change what and how they sell to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving business environment of the digital age. While Industry 4.0 goes a long way towards accelerating the eternal quest for efficiency improvement and cost reduction, it only becomes a true differentiator by leveraging its potential for new services.

Rolls-Royce and Hitachi are cases in point. They were at the forefront of transitioning their products selling businesses into more services-based models with the help of Industry 4.0 technologies. They achieved this by offering Products-as-a-Service (PaaS) to the airline industry and rail operators respectively. They innovated their business models to such an extent that revenue from aftermarket services now accounts for a sizeable share of overall profits.

Creating new sales opportunities

Through Industry 4.0 technologies, digital information from various physical and digital sources such as Internet of Things (IoT), advanced sensors, predictive analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) or cloud solutions can be combined and shared.

By seamlessly integrating with other systems these technologies capture information and establish a digital record enabling real-time predictive analytics and visualisation. These deep data insights can then be converted into actions in the physical word (e.g. predictive maintenance). Predictive analytics can also be coupled with IoT, PaaS, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud solutions to help traditional manufacturing companies better understand customers and identify prospective sales targets. Innovative companies have already recognised the need to connect their ecosystems and use this as a foundation to provide smarter customer solutions.

Leading industry examples

Several years after the emergence of Industry 4.0 we are now seeing promising examples of how to create additional revenues through these technologies:

  • ABB leverages Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure (Azure) and IBM’s cognitive technology (Watson) to harness data, convert data insights into actionable items and thereby reduce the total cost of ownership. ABB is also actively acquiring companies to enhance its digital and automation services portfolio.
  • Siemens Digital Services enables smart mobility by analysing data received from transportation assets and the status monitoring of machinery.
  • Airbus has developed its CITAR platform to improve product connectivity and leverages IoT, cloud and AI to enable automation and enhance customer experience. Some of this has been achieved through active collaboration with Google and IBM.
  • Schneider Electric is leveraging its EcoStruxure IoT platform to provide advanced energy management and automation solutions to improve customer experience. It also provides smart MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) services that enable predictive maintenance and help customers to extend the life of their assets.
  • Bosch combines intelligent software and services under its Nexeed solution to help customers connect the value stream and optimise their production and logistics processes. Its IoT Suite platform is offered as PaaS to provide customers with a comprehensive toolbox in the cloud.

Common denominator of success

What all these leading examples have in common is the extensive use of Industry 4.0 technologies to change the way they are selling. This includes smarter customer solutions, value-added services, innovative pricing models, increased aftermarket support and stronger network collaboration to strengthen their customer proposition.

The ability to customise and leverage data to better serve customer needs, improve customer experience and increase engagement, is key for manufacturing companies who want to achieve success. Failure to transform and reinvent will result in lost opportunities and diminish their competitiveness in the future.

Deloitte Digital’s Cloud4M is such an Industry 4.0 solution that supports end-to-end customer engagement from marketing to purchase to service. Designed as a pre-configured multi-cloud solution, it provides manufacturing companies with a single view of their customers and connected products. Cloud4M enables value to be realised throughout the customer lifecycle and results in significant improvements to productivity, field service quality and sales predictions beyond the point of purchase.

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