The right foundations changes everything
The Digital Renaissance

Why Fly Blind? Reach New Heights with Data-Driven Decisions in Industrial Manufacturing

This is the second blog in a multi-part series entitled “How Digital Foundations are Enabling Industry 4.0 for Industrial Manufacturers.”

Let’s say you’re a domestic airline pilot flying a 747 with over 500 souls onboard. The particular route you’re flying is nothing special – you’ve done it hundreds of times and, besides, the airplane’s advanced navigation controls do most of the flying for you. But halfway through the flight, there is a short circuit that causes your instrument panel to go completely dark. You now must fly the plane manually, with no data on airspeed or altitude, not to mention navigational assistance of any kind.

This scenario sounds far-fetched, but it’s precisely what happens when organizations attempt to navigate a turbulent market without access to meaningful, actionable data. Sure, you can still fly the plane manually, but when faced with unpredictable, stormy conditions – such as a pandemic or recession – your chances of failure skyrocket. On the other hand, a manufacturing organization armed with the right information at the right time stands a much better chance of success.

In today’s market, volatile supply chains, inflation, shifting consumer demands, and dynamic supplier relationships make it crucial for industrial manufacturers to adopt a data-first approach. Unified sales and operations planning are no longer optional, but in fact essential, to staying competitive.

However, many manufacturers still face challenges such as outdated technology, lack of reliable system integrations, siloed business units, and inability to visualize and leverage customer and market data in meaningful ways. In our previous blog post, we highlighted the importance of having a solid digital foundation. Data and analytics play a key role in bolstering that foundation.

In this blog, we’ll explore six areas where industrial manufacturers can leverage data-driven decision making to gain a sustainable competitive advantage.

6 Ways to Create Competitive Advantage with Data

“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” – Jack Welch

  1. Supply Chain Management

Only 6% of companies report full supply chain visibility. 69% of companies do not have total visibility (Zippia).  By harnessing data-driven insights, companies can streamline various aspects of their operations, from planning and sourcing materials to optimizing manufacturing processes and logistics. This approach ensures timely deliveries, cost-effectiveness, and reduced waste. Additionally, analyzing return rates and implementing strategies to minimize costs associated with returns can further enhance overall efficiency. In essence, leveraging data in supply chain management paves the way for a more agile, responsive, and profitable manufacturing operation.

  1. Cost/Price Leadership

By employing data-driven strategies, organizations can stay ahead of fluctuating costs and safeguard their profit margins with pricing optimization. One key approach is margin protection, which involves regularly analyzing and adjusting prices based on evolving costs and market dynamics. Another is profit margin analysis, which allows companies to identify opportunities for improvement by closely examining the profitability of their products and services. To gain further insights on how organizations can refine their pricing strategies listen to this podcast featuring Argano’s Chief Strategy Officer, Tim Harris.

  1. Revenue Operations Optimization

Data-driven decision-making has the power to uncover new revenue opportunities and optimize sales efforts for businesses. One effective method is whitespace detection, which focuses on identifying upsell and cross-sell opportunities within a company’s existing customer base. Another valuable approach is developing a customer 360° perspective, which allows businesses to gain a comprehensive view of each customer, thereby enabling more targeted sales and marketing efforts. Prioritizing opportunity quoting can be instrumental in directing attention towards high-potential deals based on historical win rates and individual customer preferences. By integrating these data-driven strategies, companies can effectively boost their sales performance and maximize revenue potential.

  1. Product Strategy Insights

Understanding customer preferences and market trends has never been more crucial. Analyzing customer-facing data obtained through your CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) platform can provide valuable insights for product managers, allowing them to make informed decisions and tailor offerings based on customer needs. Moreover, identifying new product or service opportunities can be achieved through a thorough analysis of customer buying behavior, leading to the development of innovative solutions that cater to evolving demands. By leveraging competitive intelligence and staying attuned to emerging market needs, businesses can effectively stay ahead of the competition, ensuring continued growth and success in their respective industries.

  1. Customer Experience

Enhancing customer experience is paramount for fostering loyalty and driving repeat business. By harnessing data-driven insights, manufacturers can effectively understand and anticipate customer preferences and buying patterns, enabling them to deliver personalized offers and improve overall satisfaction. Identifying customers at risk of churn allows businesses to proactively engage them with targeted outreach, thereby reducing attrition rates.

  1. Distributor Relationships/Rebate Management

Establishing strong distributor relationships is crucial for driving sales and expanding market reach. By leveraging data-driven decision-making, organizations can effectively pinpoint and nurture the most profitable partnerships, ensuring sustained growth and success. Plus, understanding which rebate incentive programs yield the highest results enables companies to tailor their offerings, accordingly, further strengthening these vital relationships. As a real-world example of this, Argano helped James M. Pleasants Company, Inc. (JMP) leverage technology to spend less time solving problems and more time innovating new products and services. This implementation enabled frictionless sharing of information through automation and standardization of sales activities, eliminated paper processes, improved customer/supplier engagement experiences, and created a hub for suppliers to leverage JMP’s technology platform and become more efficient.

The Cornerstone of Competitive Advantage

Data-driven decision making is the cornerstone of a competitive edge in today’s business landscape. By leveraging data insights in Supply Chain Management, Cost/Price Leadership, Revenue Operations Optimization, Product Strategy Insights, Customer Experience, and Distributor Relationships/Rebate Management, organizations can unlock their full potential. Argano’s comprehensive suite of services – including enterprise integration assessments, data strategy roadmapping, and cloud architecture assessments – can help businesses identify the best strategies for bringing their data together and optimizing their systems. By partnering with Argano, companies can navigate the complexities of the digital world with confidence, ensuring a successful and prosperous future in an ever-evolving marketplace. Contact us today for a free Data & Analytics consulting session.