Consumers can be demanding — and their demands are evolving continuously. Discrete manufacturers are often tasked with answering to the market. When considering decades of consumer expectation, it should be unsurprising that OEMs and suppliers have become more adept at responding. However, many large and small companies have not yet optimized their internal processes to support the demands as efficiently as possible.
Consumer demands will always be present and various markets show clear signs regarding expectations, including:
Deloitte’s 2022 Global Automotive Consumer Study found that most consumers are unwilling to pay more for advanced technologies, as there is an expectation that new vehicle features should be absorbed as a cost of doing business. This expectation places added pressure on supplier and OEM margins, leaving less room for costly mistakes along the way.
Customers have many expectations when deciding which shipyard should be utilized for the construction or repair of their vessels. Quality, as with all industries, remains a top priority and there is continuous downward pressure for well-constructed vessels in a relatively stable, $28 billion industry.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a temporary wrench into the passenger airline market, digitalization and sustainable growth are factors that have already begun to shape the future of manufacturing. Airlines are eager for differentiation and have become increasingly focused on optimizing in-flight experience. Requirements such as creative and functional cabin designs, electronic connectivity, and more environmentally friendly and efficient designs have taken priority. Some airline brands have already waved goodbye to portions of their wide-bodied fleets, including British Airways’ 747s in an effort to replace them with more fuel-efficient aircraft.
Discrete manufacturing companies continue to pay close attention to these shifts — including the companies which enjoy the larger portions of market share against competitors. But to protect vital market share and increase opportunity in newer sub-markets, companies must find new ways to improve existing internal processes, which still hinder the work of product development teams. Some PD employees struggle with challenges that seem obvious, but are perplexingly difficult to resolve, such as:
- Less centralized teams now separated by a remote working environment or by their companies’ pre-covid internal structure sometimes find it more challenging to collaborate
- The knowledge needed to perform their respective roles is sometimes siloed or stored in multiple places making it less accessible, and less accurate than it should be. Knowledge is often separated between archaic spreadsheets, which aren’t always viewed by the key people who need to view them
- Employees often waste time updating information unnecessarily in multiple places
- Mistakes which arise during the development phase can be frustrating and costly, yet more easily avoided if lessons learned were properly recorded and applied, at the right time in the process.
These challenges should be addressed when attempting to optimize internal operations. Product developers must become increasingly agile and savvy when managing their internal processes — if they wish to be positioned to respond to market demands in an effective and efficient method. Solutions exist for companies eager to tackle these challenges and position their teams with optimized workflows to design, develop, and launch innovative and cost-effective products that demanding consumers rely on — and often expect.