In today’s world, digital technology reigns supreme. From phones and computers to watches and cars, almost everything has some form of digital technology embedded in it. And this technological advance is not only changing the way we live our lives but also how businesses operate. One industry that is feeling the impact of digital technology more than most is manufacturing.
Across the globe, factories are being modernized with advanced sensors and systems that collect data on everything from machine performance to employee productivity. Companies are using online purchasing services and coordinating their activities with contractors and suppliers. So, what does this mean for manufacturers? How can they take advantage of all this data to improve their operations? Keep reading to find out!
Manufacturing and Digital Web Of Data
It is very easy these days to find any information online. Just Google It -this is one of the most popular ways to find any information we need on an everyday basis. We can Google phone numbers, driving directions, working hours, and much more information. Web platforms such as Google and others developed sophisticated methods to get data.
As manufacturing companies are moving towards digital transformation, it is more and more critical for them to find an easy way to connect to information about off-the-shelf parts, custom manufacturers, and special providers of hardware and components.
Online Data Sources and New Digital Channels
As the number of users of online data sources for manufacturing companies grows, so does the demand for connecting this data to the software you use for engineering and manufacturing software. Among these systems, catalogs of different components and corresponding data providers are becoming very popular.
Companies that are interested in selling the components they build are looking at how to make their products available online and sell their products using new digital channels. These companies can be separated into two groups: (1) vendors and distributors and (2) aggregators.
Aggregators are providers of online catalogs of components that can be purchased using the digital method (eg. Fastenal, Octopart, DigiKey, etc) are approachable and provide comprehensive catalogs of components you can buy. Vendors and distributors are companies that actually manufacture and sell components and equipment that are sold by the same companies.
While the first group is investing and focusing on how to collect components from multiple manufacturers and sell them, the second group is more narrowly focused and often provides very unique and specialized products. The first group of component providers is investing in the process of building catalogs and providing them online including an online purchasing experience. The second group is more focused on customers and uses a piece of online information about their product purely for engineering and marketing.
OpenBOM Online Data Connectors
At OpenBOM, we realized the importance of sourcing components, buying sub-assemblies, and ordering custom parts and equipment from different sources. Therefore, we are looking at how to make OpenBOM connected to multiple sources and for our customers to provide more accurate information about everything they need to buy to design and manufacture their products.
We are growing our ability to connect to multiple catalogs and get direct access to components that can be purchased there. As such, we are enhancing our Octopart integration via the Nexar platform and providing an advanced method of getting data from the Octopart online catalog (stay tuned). In addition to that, we are planning to develop connectors to other online catalogs.
However, the second group of data sources related to vendors and distributors is also very interesting. Most of the companies in the manufacturing and industrial segment don’t have enough digital skills and infrastructure to create and maintain their catalogs. Which creates a lot of friction in their ability to sell their products online. We are planning to help these companies and to allow them to create “public” catalogs on OpenBOM that can become available to all OpenBOM customers. Stay tuned for this as well. If you’re a company with different industrial components, please reach out to us – we would be happy to discuss how to offer your product online using the OpenBOM platform.
Digital transformation and the digital economy are here and getting stronger. For manufacturing companies, getting connected with many online services is part of digital transformation and all manufacturing companies are looking at how to make it happen. OpenBOM is developing extensions of the platforms that help to connect to catalogs of industrial parts and OTS components. At the same time, OpenBOM is looking at how to provide a service to manufacturing companies developing a variety of industrial equipment and specialized components to make them available via the OpenBOM platform and provide the data to help engineers to use these data and consequently buy these components. This is a digital transformation in action as I can see it.
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