Nobody would deny the fact that smart, connected products radically affect companies and the business environment in which they are operating. Organizations are forced to accelerate the pace of progress to survive in the modern competitive world. In the following paper, an attempt to summarize the key points of the article “How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Companies” by Jim Heppelmann and Michael Porte is made.
The work examines the impact of intelligent, connected devices on both organizational operations and structure. First of all, the authors promote a certain view that such tendency entails the new product capabilities. Smart devices can perform monitoring functions and be controlled through remote access. Moreover, such products offer new opportunities for optimization and autonomy. Consequently, these new capabilities reshape the manufacturing aspect of the company, as long as every activity in the value chain is considerably affected.
Smart, connected products epitomize the new source of data that has become a decisive asset. The value of this information considerably increases once it is integrated with other types of data, such as product use, performance, commodity prices, warranty status, and other kinds. Since the ability to discover the value of data is an effective strategic mechanism to develop a competitive advantage, management, security, and analysis become other important considerations.
Intelligent products can readily transform the value chain. The process of changing starts from the stage of product development, since the product’s design, is fundamentally reconsidered. One of the main advantages of such design is the low-cost variability, as it can be easily altered or upgraded via software. Furthermore, remote operations, such as monitoring and adjustment, powerfully promote ecological sustainability. Engineers can produce a digital overlay of products utilizing efficient user interfaces technologies. It enables them to effectively support and service the product. The opportunities for ongoing quality management and connected services also multiply when using smart, connected products. Lastly, active support for product-as-a-service is suggested to increase the product’s efficiency.
In a new era of functioning smart products, new manufacturing requirements should be met to satisfy business demands. It is worth admitting that the production process expands beyond the manufacturing of the physical objects, as smart products require software system for functioning it throughout its life. Moreover, the authors believe that logistics will be largely simplified soon. Using smart, connected products, remote monitoring, and control of the delivery process will be fully implemented by companies. The ability to remain connected to smart products is essential, as it suggests new requirements for marketing and sales thereby providing continuing value to consumers. This connectivity, however, places the privacy of data centers and business systems in legal jeopardy. The authors claim that creating data policies can help in this regard. All activities in the value chain presuppose the presence of necessary knowledge and skills required for their successful execution. In such a way, human resources are forced to adjust to the new cultural norms and working styles.
A shifting focus of work has many important implications for the organizational structure as well. It becomes increasingly apparent that strong collaboration with information technologies (IT) and research and development (R&D0 will be fostered at every business level. New kinds of units will emerge and expand rapidly. Finally, virtually every conventional function will be reconsidered, given the drastic change in the alignment of tasks.
The following article gave me valuable insight into the impact of smart, connected products on the business and industries as a whole. It became abundantly clear to me that these products reshape not only competition but the entire essence of a manufacturing company, its work, and how it is constructed and managed. It is increasingly important to view smart, connected products as a successful endeavor to improve both economics and society. Upgrading and modernizing products can contribute to the improvement of human living conditions in regards to safety, health, nutrition, and other significant aspects.
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