Yes, even small and medium-sized companies should have platforms. Platform researcher Prof. Dr. Heiko Gebauer is convinced of this. In an interview with startup founder Dr. Julian Feinauer, he formulates a few principles.16 May 2022
Smaller machine builders in particular can benefit from a platform by having data fed back to them from the machines on the plant floor. This can increase plant availability and enable machine builders to offer digital services directly to their customers. Margins in mechanical engineering are not that high. Once the deal has been signed, there will be hardly any more opportunities to generate revenue.
Via a platform, machine builders can offer additional services or include partners who may be responsible for the spare parts business, and jointly develop applications, thus sharing in the revenue. Machine builder, customer and partners in the field should be part of their own platform. However: Customers want to communicate. They don't want to be trapped in a platform. The platforms on which they are active must be able to communicate with one another.
Every machine builder should look for two partners and also plan an exit strategy. Then, in my opinion, there also needs to be a contact person at the provider who looks after the platform. This is not a part-time job for executive assistants. Partner management must be considered if companies want to make money digitally. The offerings on the platforms develop in an interchange with customers. At the beginning, three applications should be available that deliver added value and that are then developed together. Many machine builders think they have to immediately present ten or twenty digital offerings to customers with the launch of the platform. This is a fallacy.
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