With Millennials and Generation Z now making up over half the global workforce, manufacturers have a clear opportunity to grow their customer base through digital technologies, says Made Smarter.
According to research published earlier this summer, manufacturers are much less likely to have a Millennial (born after 1980) director than other sectors, and risk falling behind in their ability to attract younger talent if they fail to showcase modern practices.
A failure to connect with younger generations is also a risk to a manufacturer’s future customer base. Millennials and Gen Z will soon hold the majority of decision-making roles in supply chain and buying, so those manufacturers that can form relationships and loyalty with them now are therefore in a stronger position for future contract wins.
The guide identifies four key considerations for meeting the expectations of Millennial and Gen Z buyers:
- Personalise your offer: Mass customisation and personalisation is valued by younger buyers, so manufacturers must find ways to free up capacity for product personalisation using digital tools on the shopfloor
- Offer a quicker and more reliable service: A fast, trackable service is a basic expectation for Millennials and Gen Z. Manufacturers can use scheduling software to more precisely track product progress through the manufacturing process, which can improve traceability and reduce lead times
- Make purchases experiential: As online purchasing continues to become the norm for buyers, manufacturers can use Augmented Reality (AR) and similar tools to allow customers to explore and test products before they purchase
- Boost sustainability: Young people are far more sensitive to the environmental impact of their purchases than previous generations. Technologies such as additive manufacturing, predictive analysis and digital twins are all examples of digital tools that can maximise the efficiency and sustainability of the production process.