“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.” This brilliant quote at Copenhagen Central Station stopped me, and I though it’s so true, especially in business.
The global business environment has changed dramatically in all industries during the past 20 years. When the boom to concentrate on core competencies started in early 90s, everything was supposed to change. And it did. Internet brought a high velocity for this transformation. Today, we’re living in ecosystem economy. No doubt.
In ecosystem economy, everything needs to be connected – products, machines, production lines and people. Even the organisations should be tightly connected with each other. In a business environment, we live in today, it’s not possible to deliver high value with Taylor and Ford’s methods anymore.
Products, machines and production lines can be connected and integrated with the digital solutions (IoT, Industry 4.0). People are allowed to work remotely in digital workspaces and use conference calls and live online meetings wherever they are and whenever they want to.
But how about the organisations? The truth is that the value is created in relationships between customer and supplier. How are the organisations connected with each other? For sure, most of them aren’t.
From my perspective, the manufacturing industry is the most interesting environment to work in. Believe me, it’s the most networked business ecosystem. Nowhere else, so many people from supplier and customer are involved in designing, engineering, producing and delivering a complex product for an end-customer.
Nevertheless, the companies operating in manufacturing industry struggle terribly with the friction that exist between the customer and supplier. In most relationships, the thinking and ways of acting are modern but the technology to connect information and communication flows are still in 90s. Is it wise to operate today with the same methods, that wasn’t valid even two decades ago?
The expectations are high. To succeed in ecosystem economy the shared information between customer and supplier is expected to be transparent, visible, accurate and traceable. Furthermore, the communication is expected to be real-time, on-going and symmetric between business partners. The solutions, which were designed before the ecosystem economy was born, fail miserably when evaluating these expectations.
My advice for manufacturing companies is to stop for a while and look around – the winners of ecosystem economy are enjoying the benefits of friction free supply chain already. Would you like to be one of the winners?