The Chief Marketing officer for HTC, John Wang, gave a speech at COMPUTEX 2012 yesterday in which he talked about “innovation through the eyes of consumers,” detailing how his company strives to create innovative products based on consumer needs rather than those of the manufacturer. At a show that offers an international platform for launching new consumer products, Mr. Wang’s speech was well received.
But while attending a show like COMPUTEX as a representative of a company with a singular focus on manufacturers, I’ve been struck by what innovation means to manufactures and what sort of complexities and challenges they face. I’ve come up with three considerations that I think sum up what manufacturers are up against and, not coincidentally, three areas where strong supply chain partners can make a difference:
- Speed: Innovation to meet customer demands translates into breakneck fast development and production for manufacturers. Just one example, Intel launched the “ultrabook” platform at COMPUTEX 2011, this year Intel notes that there are 21 ultrabook devices in the market and 110 more designs in the pipeline.
- Specialization: Varying the size of displays, adding touch screens, and shrinking form factors are just some of the ways that designs are meeting consumer’s greater expectations for distinctive, personalized experiences with mobile devices. These designs call for more and more specialized components, components that are expanding the size of manufactures BOMs.
- Security: While consumers’ concerns for security are being talked about in terms of privacy and protecting confidentiality in cloud computing, for manufacturers security also has to do with protecting their brand and reputations. The biggest threat to manufacturers’ security is the presence of counterfeit components in the market place and the constant diligence needed to avoid them.
So, while companies like HTC and the other leaders in the consumer electronics industry are innovating to meet customers’ needs, leading supply chain partners like Smith are doing the same. Rapid delivery of information and products, inventory management solutions and strong anti-counterfeit procedures and testing are not optional for providing effective support to electronics manufacturers