Adapt to Survive: Accelerating the Power of the Partner Ecosystem

  • Celestica  |
  • 2019-01-03
Adapt to Survive:  Accelerating the Power of the Partner Ecosystem

Historically, organizations have struggled to find the right balance between understanding what it is they do well, and when they need to extend innovation beyond their own four walls to find the expertise they need.  While this has always been challenging for organizations, in today’s marketplace it is essential they do it well.

Three powerful forces are driving today’s competitive marketplace: customer expectations; new and emerging technologies; and globalized innovation and competition. At Celestica, we call this new world The Acceleration Economy. These forces have upended the way businesses function and survive. In this world, every company – including us – must be nimbler, more adaptive and innovative in how we deliver products, services and experiences to our customers. 

The transformations taking place affect businesses at all levels and across all functions. They are particularly impactful to the supply chain because they demand that companies fundamentally rethink how they design, build and bring products to market. This begins with the outdated notion that the desire to create everything in-house supersedes their ability to now reach out to a strategic partner ecosystem to drive greater efficiencies, speed and quality across the supply chain.

Bottom line: a company’s success in responding to these transformative market forces is increasingly and is directly correlated to the strength of its partner ecosystem. The inability to act on this new reality is sure to bring on stagnation and potentially failure.

Unlocking Innovation

In today’s globalized and intensely competitive marketplace, where goods and services can be made anywhere and sold anywhere at any time, companies need to be much more fluid and flexible in their approach to innovation. They need to be evaluating and understanding the areas in which there is room for improvement and where partnerships can help them better compete, fill gaps in R&D and create value. With close collaboration between strategic partners throughout the value chain, companies can maximize and extend their innovation capabilities and shorten product development cycles. By developing partner networks with more “nodes” around the globe, it’s much easier to accelerate a company’s ability to spot changes, implement adaptive concepts that shift market dynamics, and fend off global rivals.

In the IDC study we commissioned in February 2018, entitled “Surviving Supply Chain Disruption – Digitally Transformation from Innovation to Execution,” we asked companies about the state of digital transformation within their organization. More than 75% of respondents told us they’re “lagging behind” or “just on par” with the competition. When asked about their current business and what gaps are likely to be most problematic if not addressed, the top two responses were “Lack of insight into customers” and “inability to get products to market fast enough.” Many businesses face these challenges, but category leaders and innovators have pioneered new and dynamic ecosystems. 

Co-Creating with Celestica

Innovation has never been exclusive to large enterprises, nimble start-ups or small-to-medium size enterprises -- disruption has come from companies across the spectrum. Size does not matter in the Acceleration Economy, but an innovative manufacturing ecosystem does.  It can help foster cross-industry collaboration and connect companies with research institutes and academia to ignite the development and manufacturing of products that meet rapidly evolving customer demands: more cutting-edge, more sophisticated, more efficient, more cost-effective, more transformative.

In bridging the gap between applied research and product development, the vibrant manufacturing ecosystem becomes a game-changer for those companies struggling with lack of insight into their customer or confronting the inability to get products to market fast enough.

In the not too distant past, we determined that hardware manufacturers would need to devote more of their resources to developing software and rolling out new services. These companies were transforming their businesses to focus on software and services, but still needed good hardware products on which to base their platforms and applications.

Addressing this need marked the beginning of our own evolution from a manufacturing company into a designer of enterprise-class hardware. Our unique Hardware Platform Solutions enable our customers to optimize hardware to the application environment, instead of trying to force the proverbial square peg into a round hole by loading their software onto an ODM’s white box hardware product. Our Joint Design and Manufacturing (JDM) offering enables companies to leverage leading-edge technologies to innovate and achieve success more quickly, with less investment, while protecting their valuable IP.

We also recognize the need to help our customers build an ecosystem comprised of software companies, silicon providers, supply chain partners, and other entities supporting their value proposition to keep pace with the speed of the Acceleration Economy. In 2014, Celestica partnered with ReMAP, a technology accelerator that brings together all stakeholders of the product enablement value chain for faster commercialization.  One result from ReMAP is the partnership with optical sensing firm FIBOS.

Celestica, through ReMAP, was able to accelerate FIBOS’ time to market, develop and build its new optical sensing amplifier and optical sensor. FIBOS was challenged in taking a relatively new technology and commercializing it for an industry that historically has been slow moving.  Celestica had the capabilities to help FIBOS meet its goal of building and delivering its first product to customers in a three-week timeframe.

Our JDM offering and ReMAP both serve as compelling proving grounds, illustrating the profound impact the right partner ecosystem can have when organizations work together to extend innovation.

Change comes at us fast. But for companies that have built meaningful channels for cross-industry collaboration, it can be an opportunity to redefine the way they do business, bringing products and innovations to market faster for their customers.