Customer ExperienceExtending Digital Threads to the Customer Experience (eBook)


Customer ExperienceHow can manufacturers get closer to customers, gain more intimacy, and create more business value for themselves and their customers? How does extending the digital thread into the customer experience and operational phase of the product lifecycle help? Our eBook shares the results of interviews with eight manufacturers to shed some light.

Please enjoy the summary* below. For the full research, please visit our sponsor Propel.

Table of Contents

  • Digital Thread Context and Definition(s)
  • Digital Thread Maturity
  • The Business Value of Extending the Digital Thread
  • Merge Product Threads with Customer Experience
  • Identify Hurdles to Extending the Digital Thread
  • Not an “All or Nothing” Proposition
  • Reduce the Barriers
  • Conclusion
  • Next Steps
  • Acknowledgments

Digital Transformation Unlocks Customer Value

Digital Transformation Drives Greater Customer Intimacy and Profitability

Our research shows that 95% of companies view digital transformation as either important or critical to the long-term success of their company. The survey further finds the only thing more critical to a company’s long-term business success than digital transformation is their customer relationships.

This eBook explores extending the digital thread into the operational phase of the product lifecycle – capturing the current, as-is configuration of the product and how the customer actually uses it. Read on to learn how capturing the customer experience helps manufacturers gain new levels of intelligence and insight into products and customers so they can develop stronger customer relationships and drive higher levels of profitability.

Digital Thread Maturity

Customer ExperienceDimensions of Digital Thread Maturity

Our interviews discovered a variety of digital thread maturity levels with expanding levels of value. We found significant variation in the maturity of digital threads capabilities in:

  • The approach, ranging from maintaining basic history in spreadsheets and text documents to more rigorous, structured data approaches
  • The scope, starting from developing a partial picture and expanding to capture information from more disciplines
  • The lifecycle, representing a variety of maturity that ranges from only design and engineering phases to extension to the in-use phase

We believe that digitalization opens up opportunities to improve digital thread maturity. This research focuses primarily on the value of extending the digital thread further into the product lifecycle and customer experience, although there are benefits for extending along the other dimensions as well.

Expanding Beyond Design

Most companies start with the basics, the designed product configuration. Even gathering trusted data at this level can be challenging, but it provides significant value in terms of design traceability and engineering efficiency.

Some companies go beyond the planned product configuration by capturing how items were actually produced, in some cases including specific component lot or serial numbers. This information is not always complete, however, and not everyone with this data integrates it into the digital thread. Capturing how it was built extends the value by providing greater traceability and the opportunity for continuous improvement.

Next Steps – Incorporate the Customer Experience

Extend the Digital Thread

Extend the digital thread to the customer experience to achieve even greater value:

  • Develop a more intimate understanding of the customer and product experience.
  • Create new value from increasing profitability with lower costs and higher revenue from spares, suppliers, upgrades, replacements, and cross-selling opportunities.
  • Unlock new potential by closing the loop for continuous improvement.

Achieve the Vision

Customer ExperienceThe value is available, and each company should decide how best to take advantage of it. In the process, they will need to consider organizational elements like incentives, training, and developing buy-in. They should adopt best practice processes that incorporate data collection and install a sense of data quality ownership. Lastly, they should look to create a platform of solutions that integrates all of the product and customer experience elements together from underlying systems, including; PLM, ERP, MES, SLM, and CRM. The vision is achievable and starts with a strategy that can be implemented over time to drive new value.

*This summary is an abbreviated version of the ebook and does not contain the full content. For the full research, please visit our sponsor Propel.

If you have difficulty obtaining a copy of the research, please contact us.