Why digital transformation is changing the manufacturing industry as we know it


The manufacturing and distribution industry has faced many challenges as a result of the pandemic. These challenges have led to businesses prioritising digital transformation much earlier than anticipated.

Yoav Kutner, CEO and Founder of Oro, Inc., believes that it has never been more important for businesses to have a B2B eCommerce platform that supports their digital strategy  in order to provide long-term value and increased resilience to uncertainty.

The manufacturing and distribution industry has faced many challenges as a result of the pandemic; from spikes in demand, crippling border delays and supply and driver shortages - to name just a few. 

This pandemic has forced many businesses to turn to B2B eCommerce solutions, such as OroCommerce, to access a diverse range of B2B features and capabilities, including personalisation, localisation, built-in multi-channel CRM, powerful workflows and a pricing engine. Doing so, they have revolutionized their operation and introduced clarity and cohesion right throughout their organisation and its manufacturing supply chain. 

Earlier this year Fictiv released their State of Manufacturing report which says that 95% of industry leaders acknowledge that digital transformation is a necessity for their company’s development and success.

So what is digital transformation? Simply put, whenever a company modernizes its IT systems (ERP, CRM, WMS, TMS), needs access to cloud-based applications or automates core business processes, that’s digital transformation. 

Digital transformation is changing the manufacturing industry as we know it. According to McKinsey, in 2020 almost 70% of manufacturing companies struggled to pass the initial stage of digital transformation. 

Those manufacturers and supply chains that thrived during the pandemic were the ones designed for flexibility and agility. Digital transformation created the flexibility and agility that needed to respond to changing market conditions so they can turn on a dime.

A new world of work

Traditionally, B2B manufacturers, distributors and retailers have relied on print materials, face-to-face meetings, live events and conferences to stay connected. Before the pandemic, trade show attendance reached a record high with events being the best way to network and build relationships with customers. The Covid-19 pandemic forced workers to stay home and limited in-person interactions - and forced organisations to source digital solutions overnight, solutions that, within 18 months, became essential to customer outreach and support.

While our return to the new-normal is underway, it’s debatable how much manufacturers and distributors will be able to return to their old means of trading. One thing that is guaranteed, is that today’s manufacturing and distribution businesses no longer have the luxury of relying on yesterday’s strategies if they want to keep up with digitization in manufacturing.

The Millenial factor

It’s not only Covid-19 that has driven digital transformation within the industry. More than 73% of B2B transactions now involve millennials as decision makers, meaning that the change in online B2B buying behaviour is absolutely here to stay. 

New generations of B2B buyers are making more purchase decisions, and the only way to reach them is through digital channels. This demographic is comfortable with making everything from small to sophisticated purchases online and as a result, B2B buyers are demanding more control of their purchasing experience, turning to the internet to research, self-educate, and self-serve. 

As a result, the number of eCommerce users is expected to grow by 7%, to 61 million users in the UK by 2024. That’s why many manufacturing and wholesale companies are turning to platforms such as OroCommerce to ensure they don’t get left behind. 

Leading the race

The biggest challenge for manufacturers today is the desire and the need to stay on the front foot and to lead their competitors in the race against a constantly evolving digital transformation market.

Increasing competition in the industry is putting pressure on organizations to reduce costs, improve customer experience and increase profitability. Organizations must now go beyond the hype of new technologies and develop future-ready digital strategies to manage change and capitalize on opportunities - and that’s where an enterprise-grade B2B eCommerce platform such as OroCommerce comes in. 

Utilizing platforms such as OroCommerce, that is built with a comprehensive set of features ready for any B2B commerce model, will help to digitally transform your businesses and revolutionise the eCommerce landscape.

A changing landscape

Covid-19 has been a rollercoaster for many businesses, and manufacturing is no exception. The pandemic has shown all the vulnerabilities and expedited digital transformation. The pandemic transformed the landscape, and B2B businesses of all sizes explored innovative methods to attract and retain their customers.

In order to compete in this constantly changing market, manufacturers are now expected to provide more and more digital-driven services such as real-time production, tracking, and analysis.

It has never been more important for businesses to have a B2B eCommerce platform that supports their digital strategy and we’re pleased to be able to offer our flagship platform to UK businesses looking to improve their online offering to remain competitive within the industry. The platform has been specifically designed for manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and multi-channel brands.

For businesses that haven’t yet made the move to digital channels, there is no better time than now. The shift in customer preferences is here to stay and a digital strategy is essential for providing long-term value and remaining more resilient to uncertainty, supply chain shifts, or pandemic-style disruptions.

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