This article shares a specific prediction from IDC on futures for Manufacturing, which says, due to COVID-19, there will be a sizable increase in revenue, uptick in customer satisfaction, and better business resiliency due to new ways of business-to-consumer selling channels. In order to make that a reality, manufacturers of consumer packaged goods, in particular, will need to make sure their IT is flexible, scalable, and consumable due to unforeseen changes in the market. HPE Nimble dHCI (HCI 2.0) is great place to build that capability.
In addition to dealing with the global health crisis, there were many ways that society has had to act in response to the challenge of Covid-19. Examples include: Rapid vaccine development, better awareness of infectious disease mitigation, and in the case of business, product targeting and transactional streamlining that will forever change how we go-to-market. And in the short term, IT departments needed to react quickly to meet opportunities to support and grow their businesses.
In October 2020, IDC published an interesting document, IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Manufacturing 2021 Predictions. There were 10 predictions, but one in particular caught my eye.
Think about that for a moment. This is the convergence of 1) the “already in motion” direct-to-consumer buying model, with 2) the pandemic, where people were isolated and not able, or willing, or walk into a brick-and-mortar location. Instantly, you have a perfect storm. If you are a Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) manufacturer, you immediately have a distinct business potential that can be realized. If you have been a traditional factory-to-wholesale-to-retail business, this new channel won’t necessarily replace all of your other business channels, but it will give you an opportunity to add growth and revenue.
Planning your strategy
But what are the IT questions you need to consider in order to respond rapidly to make this happen? Part of the puzzle has to do with where the opportunities are, how to interact with the consumer for the best experience, and what is the infrastructure you need to make sure both the consumer is happy, and your business and supply chain is ready for the uptick.
Looking for opportunities
Bernhard Schroeder, in an article from Forbes, outlined some interesting observations about changes for manufacturers, brought on by COVID-19. Before the pandemic, who would have thought that these would be some of the fastest growing businesses heading into 2021?
Bread-baking products – mixes, instructional videos, baking machines, FLOUR.
Glamping – luxury camping, combining creature comforts with nature travel experience
E-bikes – electric bikes for people who either don’t wish to mix on public transportation, are aging, and/or green-conscious.
Cleaning – an array of cleaning materials and products to make environments “virus” disinfected.
Home meal kits – fresh ingredients shipped, contactless, directly to your home from the manufacturer.
Consumer interaction considerations
Buyers want to have a transactional relationship in different ways.
Think of the uni-channel way of years gone by: you walked into a store, spoke to a sales person, and made a decision, usually on the spot. Next came the multi-channel buying experience, where you could be contacted by any one of these: email, social media, text or phone call, then choosing to interact and purchase. Today, we have the omni-channel which combines all the channels. They are connected and share data across platforms, so you can get a text or social media notice of a product you may need, view it on your app, talk to someone via phone about the product, and then purchase it from your shopping cart via the app or browser on your mobile device. And all of this comes directly from the manufacturer. A unique response to the pandemic that facilitated a new way of doing business and driving a new revenue source.
The right infrastructure to build on
Transforming a business model like this takes an IT infrastructure that can start out small for development and test, then scale out based on growing orders and consumer trends. Now that you know where the uptick opportunities are in your business, and you know how your consumers want to interact with you, you need to get a platform that will allow you to market, interact, and sell directly to the consumer. You will also need to manage the demand on the supply chain, and the logistics of moving inventory from the factory directly to consumer.
HCI 2.0 dHCI (disaggregated hyper-converged infrastructure)
It just so happens that HPE has an IT infrastructure category that is highly suitable to the needs of an unforeseen trend. HPE Nimble dHCI is the marriage of a flexible and powerful storage array subsystem, with world-class server platforms, all pulled together by intelligent software that integrates with VMware vCenter and uses HPE Infosight to manage it with ease. The really unique part of this solution is the ability to scale both storage and compute resources independently, so it handles everything from a small VM monitoring your business’s social media activities, to a mission-critical backend VM that is accepting payments for consumer purchases during a big sale. In fact retailer, National Tree Company, is leveraging HPE Nimble Storage dHCI for great business benefit including speeding order processing times by 70%.
Get IT as you use It
If you’re looking for a way to use this solution without breaking the bank, HPE Nimble Storage dHCI with HPE GreenLake is now available to help your organization build out your infrastructure as a consumption-as-a-service model. You can track your usage in the HPE Consumption Analytics Portal to make sure you have capacity for the next trend or uptick. And HPE GreenLake helps avoid that up-front investment that often creates overprovisioning or difficulty predicting and managing cash flow.
We’ve experienced a once-in-a-lifetime crisis. The unfortunate reality of the pandemic over the last 13 months is that it has has brought disruption, uncertainty, isolation and more. Hopefully we are coming to the end of this very painful chapter.
Sometimes, there is good that comes with the bad, and new ways of doing things are discovered that we never would have found without adversity. And while the disruption and uncertainty of the next “big” thing – good or bad – can be cause for concern, we take away great learnings in all facets of our lives from this experience.
One learning is to ensure that your IT infrastructure is ready to adapt, deploy, and take advantage of those revenue opportunities – even when they come, seemingly, out of nowhere.
Meet HPE blogger, Stan Grant. Stan is an Industry & Workload Marketing Manager for HPE Americas. He is focused on hyperconverged technologies, manufacturing innovations, and security for hybrid cloud.
Stan loves learning about new and impactful innovations that make our lives better.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise