The 'e' has forced everyone to change the way they work, but
what about the 'c'?
SINGAPORE - Ed Miller believes that while the Internet and electronic commerce
has revolutionized the way the companies do business, it really isn't the goal
but rather the means.
"There is a terrific opportunity here, and
we need to utilize it"
Miller, president of CIMdata
Inc., was in Singapore recently as the keynote speaker for the PE21
forum, a Gintic-sponsored
event for the local precision engineering industry.
Miller in his keynote speech, addressed the need for the industry to embrace
collaborative processes, especially in the product defination management
Collaborative product defination management (PDM) isn't new, according to Miller.
"We're just taking the next step," he said, referring to the use of
the Internet as an easily accessible platform that was allowed for a faster
rate of collaboration than before.
"There is a terrific opportunity here, and we need to utilize it,"
The new way of doing business has forced companies to change the way they work
or approach customers, suppliers, partners, as well as internal processes, challenging
companies to think of new ways to do business.
"We're being intellectually
challenged to do business"
Miller drew a parallel between the new economy business paradigms and the porting
of the manufacturing industry from 2D design standards to 3D.
"That's what we're doing here," he said. "We're being intellectually
challenged to do business."
Collaboration isn't new, said Miller: "We've been doing it for years -
except that the process is easier now through better technology."
The impact of technology has several implications: increased personalization,
as well as higher expectations in the areas of access to information, time to
market, and standardized technology.
There is also a greater demand for security and data integrity; the suppliers
you work with today may work with your competitors tomorrow.
Collaborative commerce, now enabled by the Internet, is due to revolutionize
the manufacturing sector.
"Once people have had success with this
in their past, they're willing to bet some more"
Most precision engineering players in Singapore tend to be SMEs (small-to-medium
enterprises) or PLEs (potential large enterprises).
The need for them to collaborate now may be for reasons of competitive advantage,
but that will soon change to be competitive necessity, said Miller, pointing
out that client MNCs are realizing that collaboration with other smaller players
helps them to cut costs.
"Today, it is a competitive advantage - five years down the road, it will
be necessary," he said. "If you don't, you're out of the game."
"Getting an industry to embrace concepts is basically the same as changing
mindsets - a lot of education," said Miller. "Forums, seminars...
in-house programs to specific companies (that don't want to bring up sensitive
dialogue in front of their competitors), help people to understand."
"You have to think about it - have to change the mindset. It's
an internal approach," advised Miller. "It needs management commitment,
and proper planning for support."
Miller believes that once companies see the fruits of such labors, they would
be more likely to continue embracing new forms of technology to aid in their
"Once people have had success with this in their past, they're willing
to bet some more," he said.