From vision to execution — achieving your goals with content supply chain
In a world where content is a heavy focus in many industries, the importance of content for industrial manufacturers is often overlooked. But many of the same principles that apply to a tried-and-true manufacturing process apply to content production as well.
Industrial manufacturers need to support the products they create with high-quality content. That could include product images, technical drawings, spec sheets, training materials, and more. As the demand for content ramps up, businesses are looking for ways to streamline their content production processes — using AI-backed tools, workflow and asset management software, and integrated collaboration systems. Otherwise, a disorganized and inefficient content supply chain could lead to further roadblocks for marketers and content teams.
Keeping up with customer demand for high-quality content is a struggle. In fact, 89% of senior executives agree that the demand for content has increased significantly, but only 33% consider their organization to be good or very good when planning, scoping, prioritizing, and assigning content tasks to achieve measurable outcomes. Manufacturers make complex products that require in-depth documentation and training materials that need to be updated quickly whenever products or components change.
Read on to learn how your content supply chain may hold the answer to any struggles you’re having with delivering the best possible customer experiences, marketing your products, and supporting the sales process with the right materials. We’ll also discuss some objectives to think about as you begin to streamline your content supply chain process.
What is the content supply chain (CSC)?
For industrial manufacturing businesses, the content supply chain (CSC) refers to the creation, management, and distribution of the content that is necessary to support the production of physical goods and fuel positive customer experiences. A streamlined CSC is a critical aspect of industrial manufacturing because it makes sure that all stakeholders can find the right information and documentation right when they need it — throughout the customer journey, from lead to loyal customer.
To create the highest quality content possible, businesses need tested processes, unified data, and automated asset deployment. If content workflows are disorganized, rely on siloed tools and data sources, or require too much manual input, it will be impossible to keep up with competitors and customer expectations. To keep up with product changes, new product launches, and supply chain challenges, businesses need scalable tools and a reliable content supply chain that can handle the demand.
Once content has been created, it’s then distributed to the different stakeholders in the production process including engineers, designers, suppliers, and manufacturers. After going through internal review and approvals, that content can then be distributed externally to customers, outside agencies, and other stakeholders. Many companies rely on digital platforms — like collaboration and project management software — to ensure that the content is shared and used effectively.
The five stages of a streamlined CSC
A CSC captures the journey of content from internal intake to planning and creation. It covers reviewing and approving the content, delivering it to customers, ensuring it’s relevant, and then measuring its effectiveness.
Content supply chains for the industrial manufacturer
Now that we’ve examined what a CSC looks like, let’s take a closer look at how it works for industrial manufacturers specifically. Manufacturers often have multiple plants, mills, or factories across different regions that serve a range of buyer groups or individual buyers. This means the manufacturer needs to communicate different regulations, product information, and specs to each group.
Additionally, industrial manufacturers typically have complex products that can demand more in-depth content. For example, products like heavy equipment may have numerous aftermarket parts that can change specifications often due to supply chain challenges or cost reduction efforts. Industries like milling, mining, or chemicals also have products with complex attributes, which may change and require new imagery or documentation. Managing the content needs — in terms of creation, approval, and updates — can be a significant challenge without scalable tools.
Here are some ways that industrial manufacturers can use content to communicate with customers:
- Product images and catalogs
- Product information and spec sheets
- Technical drawings or exploded view images of complex machines
- Instructional guides
- Technical support
- Transportation and handling instructions
- Training materials
- Case studies
These are just a few ways that manufacturers can use content to inform, educate, and engage their customers. The CSC could include anything that someone sees throughout their customer journey.
The “big three” objectives
Let’s take a closer look at three objectives that industrial manufacturers should keep in mind to elevate their content supply chain — streamlined workflow, lower cost per asset, and intelligent content activation.
- Manual, disconnected workflows can lead to delays and errors in the content production process.
- Siloed operations and disjointed communications can prevent teams from working efficiently together — leading to duplication of efforts or misaligned objectives.
- Technology roadblocks for sharing and activating assets can slow down content creation and distribution, decreasing productivity.
- Access to feedback within creative tools lets teams make necessary changes more quickly.
- AI-powered workflows help you quickly find existing assets for greater searchability and reuse.
Lower cost per asset
- Eliminate the manual effort to resize and localize content versions, saving you time and resources.
- By automating this process, manufacturers can reduce the risk of errors or duplicative efforts.
- Accelerating production helps meet delivery times and stay competitive.
- Enhanced asset search capabilities eliminate the waste of time spent searching for old assets to refresh or create new ones when a suitable option already exists.
Intelligent content activation
- Using data-driven insights lets manufacturers activate content across multiple channels and formats to have the biggest impact.
- By understanding how customers engage with content, marketing teams can curate personalized messages that resonate with various buyer personas.
- Analyzing data on project timelines and identifying potential bottlenecks helps manufacturers take action to ensure projects are delivered on time.
Streamline the CSC to give your customers exactly what they’re looking for
The CSC — like the supply chain for physical products — ensures that each customer receives exactly what they expect to solve their problem or meet their needs. While the manufacturing process creates the product you’re selling, the content supply chain provides the information and documentation that your customers are looking for right when they need it. Streamlining your content process helps improve efficiency, reduce errors, and raise the overall quality of your products.
Elevating your CSC helps impress your B2B buyers by delivering seamless experiences between marketing, sales, and your products. When it’s easier for customers to do business with you, you’ll drive cost savings and profitable experience-led revenue growth.
Adobe Experience Cloud is the foundation you need to build and run a well-oiled content machine. With unified data, AI-powered insights, and content automation, you can scale your marketing and sales by transforming customer journeys into data-driven assisted and self-service experiences.