We’re in the age of data analytics where data seems to be flowing from every product with which we interact: whether it’s a product as personal as a wearable health tracker or our automobiles, or a product that we don’t typically associate with data -- like a soda dispenser at a fast food restaurant. With such an abundance of data at our disposal, there is no reason that you should not be able to harness this data to improve your products.
This, very simply, is the goal of PTC’s Digital Engineering Journey: whether your products and systems are not smart or connected or you’re a data-crunching, optimization powerhouse, with the technology that is available today, it is very easy to get your organization to the point where it is able to incorporate Internet of Things (IoT) technologies into your design practice to achieve new levels of innovation and business results. But the ability to truly outperform – to grow your market share and profitability through continuous innovation on evergreen products – is something that organizations are just beginning to explore in their long-term strategies.
“Manufacturers can now stay connected to their products when they’re in the customer’s hands,” explains Kevin Wrenn, Divisional GM of PTC’s PLM segment. “If you can stay connected to your product, what could you do to improve the performance of that product – or fleets of products? How could you interact with it? Well there’s many things you could do: you can improve the performance of the product, use the product in test-suites, or figure out how customers are using a product to upsell them a service or product improvement.”
The Digital Engineering Journey features five Outperform outcomes that organizations should strive for as they transform the way they engineer products:
The Outperform band of the Digital Engineering Journey is, according to Brian Thompson, SVP of PTC’s CAD segment, for the customer who has already done the legwork to design data streams into their product that will drive desired outcomes. The Outperform band is where the customer is finally seeing results from those data streams and is able to finally make sense of all that data in a way that drives business opportunities and a competitive advantage for them. “They’re finally mature enough in their integration of IoT technology into the products that they’re not only getting the data that they want, but they’re now able to put that data into action.”
While the outcomes of the Digital Engineering Journey are all aspiration for now, there are steps that organizations can take to be ready for the technology when it’s available. “Everything starts with a purpose-built product definition,” says Wrenn. “If you want to outperform, you need to have a good Digital Product Definition. You need to have data freely accessible throughout the enterprise. You need to have designed your products for connectivity and traceability throughout your product’s lifecycle. These are the fundamental things you need to have under control before you can succeed in the Outperform band.”
Adds Thompson: “You’ve got to understand what digital information is really important to you -- that you want to track as part of your product definition. You’ve got to make sure you’re sitting down and deciding: ‘What’s our smart, connected product strategy’ and then make sure the products are designed to meet that strategy. For example: Is your smart, connected strategy about enhancing service? Well, let’s make sure that you emphasize in the design of the product the right data streams that will drive the service outcomes that we’re trying to achieve and – boom! We can now do Constant Analysis, Predictive Performance Improvement, and drive better service outcomes. It’s all about what the company’s strategy is.”
Despite the numerous benefits that the Digital Engineering Journey boasts, the idea of transforming the way that your company produces products can be a daunting task. So what message should the unconvinced business owner who is happy with the way things are running now know? Put bluntly: they’ll lose market share.
“By transforming, customers can uncover new revenue opportunities; they can be more competitive and more quickly respond to market needs,” explains Thompson. “If they don’t, and their competitors do, they’ll lose market share or they’ll lose opportunities to grow.”
“Customers that have better market fit over time are going to win,” explains Wrenn. “The best way to have good market fit is to understand exactly how your products are being used in the market.”
Click here to discover how your organization can begin its Digital Engineering Journey.