Smart Factory Service Business Model Design

The China general manager of an industrial components supplier was exploring new business extensions to support customers with smart factory design and servicing.
Growth is slowing for the core business of an industrial components supplier as the China market matures. To sustain growth, the China general manager was exploring opportunities to leverage their existing capabilities to build new revenue lines serving operators of smart factories. The company’s core spare parts supply chain business provides insight into smart factory component demand, a large customer base, and a distributed network of service teams.

Before investing in new ventures, the management teams required a deeper understanding of the competitive environment for smart factory services. They also had to segment the market and identify specific customer needs to focus on. Finally, they needed to assess their internal ability to develop and sell differentiated software and services. Capability gaps could then be addressed by working with vendors or strategic partners.
Asia Growth Partners provided a systematic evaluation of the service requirements of Chinese smart factory operators, from factory planning through maintenance operations. We started by assessing the current state of several market segments and projecting market trends over a 3-to-7-year period. This enabled us to focus on high potential segments. Next, we mapped the smart factory planning, integration, operations, and maintenance processes to prioritize areas with significant unmet needs. This was achieved through interviews with system integrators, technology providers and factory operators.

After opportunities were well defined, Asia Growth Partners worked with the client’s management team to map opportunities against existing internal competencies and corporate strategic direction. This analysis highlighted two SaaS services that would fit well with the existing maintenance service portfolio. Finally, pilot partners were identified to further validate the opportunity and refine the solution requirements.
  • Evaluate the service requirements of Chinese smart factory operators, from planning through operations.
  • Assess the current state of market segments and project medium term market trends.
  • Map smart factory planning, integration, operations, and maintenance processes.
  • Prioritize processes with significant pain points and unmet needs via interviews.
  • Determine feasibility by assessing existing internal competencies and corporate strategic direction.
  • Identify pilot partners to further validate opportunities and refine solution requirements.
  • A detailed analysis concluded in the prioritization of two SaaS opportunities – development of manufacturing management software (MMS) and condition monitoring with a focus on integration with maintenance and spare part management processes.
  • An integration approach was selected to enable focus on the client’s domains of expertise. There are mature existing solutions in both opportunity areas but integration with maintenance and inventory management processes are lacking. We focused on addressing these gaps.
  • Finally, Asia Growth Partners introduced 4 potential technology partners to support solution development. These partners were selected for both technical fit and for their willingness to participate in a collaborative business model that leaned on integration with existing software solutions in the market.

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