Mobile technology has made a transformative impact on both manufacturing and marketing. The two industries have never been exclusive (both falling under the larger umbrella of supply chain management), but today’s digital world has brought the two together in ways that could not have been dreamed of 50 years ago. Current trends in digital supply chain control are changing the way that manufacturers interact with consumers.
New Platforms for Educational Leadership
There was a time when the manufacturing process fell secondary to the retail side of the industry. More people knew about Ford Motors as a product through marketing than they did about the manufacturing process. Now labor rules, location and politics have made the manufacturing process part of its marketing focus.
Some manufacturers have used this new blend to set themselves as knowledge leaders in their respective industries. For example, Apple Rubber, an o-ring and seal manufacturer, has used much of its website real estate to offer guides and technical journal links, making the company a resource for customers trying to learn about the sector. Being an educational leader is a good way to draw in and maintain viewership and it is easy on the marketing budget.
The Return of QRC
Manufacturers have been using bar codes for decades as a way to organize products and make the point of sales process more streamlined. As the next generation of bar code, Quick Response Code (QRC) brings the customer into the supply chain by giving them the opportunity to receive a large amount of information. Compared to the traditional bar code, a QR code can hold up to 7,089 characters of numeric data or 4,296 pieces of alphanumeric information, according to Denso ADC, the inventor of the QR Code. To give you an idea, the entirety of this article is more than 3,400 characters.
QR codes can give customers as much information as can be read on a smartphone. They also can open websites and interface with the database management software of your contact system. Smart marketers are seeing the benefits of being clever with the QRC because they do not need to be square. The code can be designed into art, brand logos or ingenious message generators.
Apps as the New Interface
The wide use and simplicity of developing smartphone and computer apps have made them the next big way for manufacturers to interact with consumers. As a marketing tool, apps are digitally renewable, making them always up-to-date. This is a huge advantage in the marketing world. Having accurate, reliable and readily available product information is a big factor in customer’s buying behavior. Since they can be updated electronically, apps prove to be nice on the marketing budget.
New Levels of Connectivity
Apps also open up a new level of connectivity that brings in the internet of things (IoT). On the retail side, consumers are already seeing coffee makers that can be turned on and garage doors that can be opened via an internet connection. Now on the manufacturing side, apps can take their traditional supply chain and beef them up by placing them on the IoT. This is where additive technology, commonly called 3-D printing, comes into play. From a smartphone or computer, a customer can use company templates to customize a product that will then be 3-D printed. This can happen from anywhere in the world and will change the way that manufacturers work with customers.