As our global population continues to grow, demand for manufacturing and industrial goods continues to grow too. With new innovative concepts, like the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming more of a reality, global manufacturers have been re-evaluating and reviewing use of technology, how to make production processes more streamlined and automated and how to make their supply chains even more efficient.
To stay competitive in this global market, manufacturers have to meet increasing consumer expectations. Here are five trends which will impact the role of any localization manager working in the global manufacturing sector:
INCREASED NETWORKING: Simon Ellis, practice director for supply chain strategies at the IDC Manufacturing Insights, wrote in a recent blog that one of the biggest trends in the manufacturing industry for 2015 will be the way manufacturers run their supply chains and a move further towards the notion of the networked supply chain. Networking has grown significantly in every industry, mainly due to the increased use of the internet, technology, remote devices and access.
To achieve sustainable growth and stability, global manufacturers must look to connect and network more deeply with consumers and suppliers around the world and in multiple languages. This is not an entirely new concept. Manufacturing is viewed as one of the more traditional B2B industries, with models and methods that were developed many years ago and now used universally.
If you look more closely at the concept of networking, there are certain factors that are emerging that will influence the way business is conducted in manufacturing and this will affect the role of localization and translation. As supply chains are more automated and transparent, any content published on products or processes accessed by these wider networks must be in the native language, not only to adhere to local compliance or health and safety regulations. It must also ensure product information is understood and accurately and effectively communicated in any language.
GROWTH IN TECHNOLOGY: In the manufacturing industry, there has recently been more pressure on the supply chain ecosystem, driven by the internet, more e-commerce and mobile communities and economies. As more companies publish digital content through mobile platforms, traditional types of content like technical documentation needs to evolve so it can be clearly read and understood online through a device, in more than one language. This must be addressed at source and authoring stage.
Technical content authors who write for global manufacturers must adapt writing styles so all formats of content can be translated and accessed through these emerging technical platforms. An experienced language service provider will work closely with technical authors and the various publishing and content management systems to ensure localization is conducted as efficiently as possible.
SOCIAL MEDIA: The massive growth of social media is forcing manufacturers to become more customer-centric. Through the use of global social media, customers are much more informed and expect products, on-demand. This transforms the traditional B2B manufacturing models and perceptions that social media is just a tool for the B2C markets.
Customers and companies buy products and services via e-commerce with a tap of their smartphone, often after gathering a lot of information about the product online and reading product reviews and feedback via blogs, forums and review websites, all which are interlinked to the main social media sites. For manufacturers to keep competitive in the global market, they need to monitor what is being said about them around the world. They should harness the power of social media to improve their products, using the social media feedback. This potentially means understanding online content out of the source language. For these types of scenarios, Welocalize has worked with clients using MT to gain an understanding of social media content, without it being linguistically 100% accurate as the translations may not be republished. The translation is “fit for purpose.”
The same applies for pushing social media campaigns out to their international audiences. As well as translating more traditional company communications, such as websites, technical and instruction manuals, global manufacturers must look at including these new content types of user-generated content in the localization plan.
INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT): As the IoT more beyond the early adopter phase and becomes more of a reality, as detailed in The Internet of Things and How it Affects Localization, this will trigger more highly technical systems into the overall manufacturing production cycle. For example, more intelligent smart cars, linked-up to our interconnected devices. This will result in more technical data, whether instruction manuals or online help facilities, thus increasing the amount of technical driven content for localization.
FROM OFF-SHORE TO NEXT SHORE: With rising wages in different regions of the world and high shipping costs, companies have shifted their manufacturing strategies from outsourcing overseas to developing and producing products closer to home. This enables a speedier production cycle to meet customer’s increasing expectations and stay ahead in an intensively competitive global market. For localization managers working within the manufacturing industry, this means keeping a close eye on target languages. If your suppliers and work force are shifting geographically, then so may their nationality and native languages. Continuing to produce localized content in the same languages, year after year may not meet the needs of all your audiences.
Like many industries, global manufacturers have to better engage with their customers, suppliers and vendors. Even the more traditional industry sectors, like manufacturing, are moving to a more interconnected and online networked model. Any content developed for target audiences must be in the native language. It is a requirement if you want to meet customer and supplier expectations and ensure all brands, product and services are safely and accurately communicated to local markets.
Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.
For more information about Welocalize services in the manufacturing sector, download Welocalize Manufacturing Overview pdf.