Point of View

Industry Impact – The Manufacturing Operations Value Chain

February 26, 2018

HfS is expanding its industry coverage in 2018 to include detailed IT and business process research on 11 core sectors, powered by extensive buyer research with Global 2000 firms. The transformation and challenges posed by digital disruption and changing competitive environments differ by industry. Subsequently, the solutions and services enterprises in different industries need to cope with change and to shape transformation journeys differ as well. Over the past few years, HfS has created in-depth industry research coverage that focuses on the rapidly changing needs of buyers and the ability of service providers to meet these needs with services built on domain expertise, industry talent, intellectual property, solutions that tackle sticky industry problems, and investments in industry-specific practices, startup ecosystems, and partnerships. We will build on this foundation in 2018, bringing expanded industry coverage, focused on key industry-specific processes and change agents, updated annually.  Our coverage sectors include:


Exhibit 1: HfS Industry Coverage 2018


Banking and Financial Services




Travel, Hospitality and Logistics


Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods

Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences





Source: HfS Research, 2018

In order to give you a taste of what to expect for research in the high-tech sector, this Point of View report previews our high-tech-specific value chain and the in-scope processes and change agents we’ll be examining throughout 2018. We will release high-tech-focused Blueprint Spotlight reports in Q3 on business process services and in Q4 on IT services; these will be supplemented by periodic voice of the customer case studies, point of view analyses on change agents, and buy-side research. For more insight into our master research agenda for 2018, please refer to our recently published report on planned blueprint research.


The Manufacturing Operations Value Chain


HfS developed the industry value chain concept to graphically depict our understanding of the processes and functions that specific industries engage in to operate their businesses. To truly understand the services needs of an industry, you must understand its industry-specific and horizontal processes and the relevant change agents enabling transformation. 


The industry value chain for manufacturing operations provides a comprehensive overview of services for the manufacturing industry, focused on sales and marketing, manufacturing support, supply chain, aftermarket services, and sustainability services. We’ll be including these manufacturing sub-sector elements in our Global 2000 survey research this year, which will help us gain a more granular understanding of buyer behavior.


Manufacturing Industry-Specific Processes


Industry-specific processes include the following specific value chain functions:


  • Sales and marketing—Processes focused on sales operations, marketing operations and associated analytics services;
  • Supply chain—Processes focused on demand planning and forecasting, order processing and fulfillment, transportation and logistics, and inventory management and optimization, as well as associated analytics services and master data management;
  • Manufacturing support—This value chain segment focuses on product creation support, product realization support, and product sustenance support;
  • Aftermarket services—Processes in scope of aftermarket services include parts management, technical support, warranty management, returns management, and field service;
  • Sustainability services—Processes focused on the management of carbon footprints; environmental, health, and safety management (EHS); and sustainable supply chain management.

Our research will evaluate the depth and breadth of service providers offering manufacturing-specific services in these categories and the impact of critical change agents such as Internet of Things (IoT) and intelligent automation.


Horizontal IT and Business Processes


Enterprises in all sectors have a range of consistent business and IT processes that are essential to running their businesses but are executed similarly regardless of industry. We refer to these as horizontal processes and have segmented them by IT and business functions as outlined in Exhibit 2. Horizontal business processes include elements such as customer engagement and HR. IT processes include functions such as application development and maintenance and infrastructure management. Our industry-specific coverage of these areas will focus on instances where something unique has been developed for the manufacturing industry, such as IoT-based spare parts management or cognitive agents supporting B2B technical support. In addition to industry coverage of these horizontal topics, they will also be well covered as part of our functional research dimension.


Enabling Technologies


Lastly, but of vast importance, we have included a value chain section dedicated to enabling technologies, depicted in Exhibit 2. These change agents help in optimizing critical operations and enabling new revenue streams. They include elements such as RPA and AI, IoT, and smart analytics. We view them as horizontal as they can be used across manufacturing enterprises and leveraged for both horizontal and industry-specific processes. Our research on these topics will focus on how they are being utilized within manufacturing firms, which service providers are bringing them to the table, and what real business impact is being realized.


Exhibit 2: The Manufacturing Business Operations Value Chain


Source: HfS Research, 2018


Bottom Line: Enhanced Manufacturing Research to Help Make an Impact


As we dive into 2018, HfS’ enhanced research coverage of major business operations trends by industry will help identify and articulate business impact in motion. Our coverage of the manufacturing sector will examine core value chain processes across industry-specific and horizontal functions with an emphasis on the impact of critical change agents.


Sign in to view or download this research.


Lost your password?


Insight. Inspiration. Impact.

Register now for immediate access of HFS' research, data and forward looking trends.

Get Started