Speed to market is an increasingly critical priority as companies compete on their ability to detect and respond to change faster than others. Those who can accelerate their time to market can gain a competitive advantage.
Amid the current macroeconomic pressures and burdens facing the industrial sector, industrial enterprise (IE) C-suites are permanently accelerating their operations as a means to longer-term success and, increasingly, survival.
A new report from Accenture details how new technologies are helping CIs speed the time-to-market process.
In the research, based on a survey of 1,200 industry sector executives in 13 countries, we identified the companies that had the shortest operational practices across three main pillars: ideation, planning and delivery. . Next, we analyzed those who had taken advantage of advanced technologies, including machine learning/AI (artificial intelligence), cloud computing and digital twins, to reduce time and costs.
Research has overwhelmingly revealed that what we call “speedsters” are the companies that have reduced time and increased efficiency the most. Above all, they were able to do so thanks to a significantly higher technological leverage on all three pillars.
For example, using machine learning, speedsters achieved more than seven times the time savings of “starters” – the companies that reduced time the least and increased efficiency. Those in the middle that we have called “accelerators”.
The Speedsters excelled not only in saving time, but also in reducing costs. For example, the use of automated guided vehicles has resulted in speedsters achieving 30 times the cost savings of starters. Equally important, we found that speedsters outperform both starters and accelerators in terms of financial performance. Over the five-year period from 2016 to 2021, speedsters achieved annual growth 4% higher than accelerators and 18% higher than starters.
Improve efficiency at all levels
What lessons can industrial companies draw from our research? Clearly, if they are not already doing so, companies need to think about harnessing and taking advantage of advanced technologies to ensure increased operational efficiency, both in terms of cost and time reduction. Our research indicates a number of ways to achieve this.
At the ideation stage, companies need to use machine learning and analytics to analyze large amounts of data stored in the cloud to identify patterns, which speeds up the analysis of simulations and test results . For example, DoverFueling Solutions developed a digital content delivery system to support video advertising at its gas stations. The company relied on IoT Intelligence and a cloud platform to reduce its time to market from years to months. By doing so, they have also increased their efficiency and can now provide a better customer experience.
During the planning phase of speedsters, the planning and execution processes come together. KUKA, a robot manufacturer, has invested in enabling technologies to enable a process from planning to production. Together with two partners, KUKA recently launched a “Smart Factory as a Service” offering, which will flexibly and independently produce different types of products in any quantity and meet customers’ changing demand for customized products, shortening the time to market for new products by up to 30%.
Finally, at the delivery stage, companies should focus on integrating manufacturing with the supply chain to create a digital thread that enables the seamless flow of data across the enterprise. This enables better distribution network and supply chain optimization and planning, allowing large amounts of data to be brought together in one place and allowing different entities to work together to increase speed and efficiency.
The road ahead
As powerful as these technologies are, industrial companies will need to address them alongside process improvement and people factors. This means new ways of working, such as automating manual activities, eliminating and leveraging data to react faster to change. Equally important, companies must strive to navigate their employees through this time of change through skills development and cultural shifts. Companies that do so can better respond to rapidly changing customer expectations with innovative products and experiences, and ultimately come out the strongest.