Digital Product Models: The Rise of Self-Service in Industrial Manufacturing

How Industrial Manufacturers are Using Digital Product Models to Enable Customers to Help Themselves

Have you ever gotten your own refill at a quick service restaurant? Checked in for a flight at a walk-up kiosk? Cashed a check by using your bank’s mobile app?

We all experience self-service models that previous generations would be astounded by. Industries are changing right before our eyes and the world we know now looks very different than just ten years ago.

Technological advances offer us convenience and time savings from the grocery store to the gas station. What’s even more exciting is to see how these shifts in “self-service” are now occurring in B2B environments.

As a partner to industrial manufacturers, we’ve seen firsthand how technology has improved the customer experience as clients pursue development, modeling, and production of their ideas.

This self-service exchange has been a huge win for their bottom line, but also for their sanity. By providing digital product models to our clients, we’ve made massive strides away from the old way of doing business.

In years past, if you wanted a working, accurate model of a product, it required an arduous process to obtain it. Frankly, it was a hassle.

First, you placed a phone call to a manufacturer, and hoped that you had called the correct number in the first place. After a confusing exchange with an annoyed operator, you’d realize you had no idea which department or extension you were trying to reach. Eventually you’d be shuffled to someone who could possibly help you design a model for your product—but that was just the beginning.

Industrial manufacturers (not exactly known for their customer service) had some real trouble satisfying their customers from this point forward. A consumer was required to work around and coordinate everything on the manufacturer’s time schedule. Time zone differences and busyness on the part of the manufacturer usually made it incredibly tough to get anything done quickly, much less conveniently.

To add insult to injury in this irritating process, the resulting models were usually subpar and not very helpful for the customer. Industrial manufacturers had almost no variance in their modeling and could only create models in the particular CAD format they were using.

At best, they could provide a neutral model of mediocre quality, but this wasn’t especially helpful for clients who were looking to get the details right on the specific product they hoped to produce.

Obviously, this tedious and imprecise process doesn’t work for a 21st Century consumer. Thankfully, the game is changing…

As the technological revolution hits the industrial manufacturing sector, more companies are giving their customers the convenience they’ve found in the other areas of their life.

A recent study by Gartner Research predicts that by 2020, 85 % of B2B transactions will occur without a human.

According to Professor Steven Van Belleghem, a thought leader on the transformation of customer relationships and the future of marketing, 70 % of online users expect the company website to have a self service application, and 40 % prefer self-service to human contact for their future contact with the company. Source:

Within the industrial manufacturing industry, we see digital product models as the “self-service” solution customers have been clamoring for. At CADENAS, we identified four distinct ways we could improve our customer experience and built our service model from the ground up.

  • Go digital: No more hassling with your manufacturer over which CAD format to use for your model. Digital models provide the information you need in a format you can easily use.
  • Find your solution anytime: Work around your own schedule as you research for the exact part you need, day or night. No more waiting—letting weeks go by as your questions go unanswered. Immediate solutions at times convenient to you.
  • No more back and forth: Fix small issues with your design by modifying the configuration yourself. Easily tweak the model and even compare/contrast different solutions. The perfect fit is just a few clicks away.
  • Get the perfect model every time: Download your model in one of our 150 native file formats. Compatibility is an essential component of serving you well.

While the industry might be lagging behind in changing their service models for the modern consumer, CADENAS is helping forward-thinking industrial manufacturers adapt to a new way of business.

“Self-service” is our new normal and we take pride in quickly finding our customers the perfect solutions with our beautiful digital product models.

As you look to create the next model for a product you hope to create, remember to contact a company that understands how to serve you well in The Age of Self-Service.

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