13. August 2021
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Industrial marketplaces for mechanical engineering

Platforms and digital marketplaces are well established in the B2C environment. Recently, interest in these new business models of the digital economy has also been growing in the B2B environment of mechanical engineering. After all, on the road to Industry 4.0, such offerings can leverage new potential and help companies in all industries to position themselves successfully.

Industriemarktplätze für den Maschinenbau

Platforms and digital marketplaces

Platform business models and B2B marketplaces are becoming increasingly common in the industry. The platform operators either act as matchmakers, bringing supply and demand together (without themselves becoming contractual partners), or they adopt the concept of a neutral marketplace coordinator with a one-stop-shop solution.

In industrial markets, business models such as these enhance transparency and increase the speed of transactions in terms of products, services, and data. Industrial marketplaces are a vital prerequisite in order to be able to take part in this development. Overall, they are forging a new “simplicity of things.” This is a winning formula that is increasingly attracting the attention of manufacturers.


Venturing into the future through the marketplace

What is often still uncharted digital territory for traditional companies in the manufacturing industry offers the opportunity in the future to speed up their own digitalization efforts and take a fundamental leap toward the vision of Industry 4.0.

A digital marketplace is creating a common virtual marketplace within industrial sector structures where supply and demand have the opportunity to meet. This approach generates new added value for both sides. Businesses can offer and purchase products and services by means of a digital sales channel.

A digital marketplace eliminates the inefficiencies associated with formerly analog processes by harmonizing the interfaces and thereby tapping into additional value-added potential in many cases. Neither the supply side nor the demand side is unfairly advantaged in the process. The result: A win-win situation of mutual added value generation.

Providers of products and services for industry benefit from the opportunity to expand into markets across technical barriers and even international borders. As such, the use of digital marketplaces is also one way of further scaling one’s own business and achieving growth in the digital ecosystem. Small and medium-sized enterprises in particular can reap the benefits by increasing their digital competitiveness and tapping into hidden potential for maximizing profits.

On the demand side, there is transparency about offers, combined with a pre-qualification of the offer by the forces of the marketplace. This simplifies purchasing decisions and reduces the burden on organizations. In addition, purchasing and billing processes are automated via the platform and the marketplace. The “customer journey” is transforming: The experience is becoming more convenient and, for the most part, less expensive.


Complexity Management | Trust | Courage

In 2018, more than 30 percent of industrial companies were already using transaction platforms for digital product sales or IIoT platforms for digital services in production. The availability and usability of digital B2B platforms has already arrived in industry, but the economic effects known from the platform economy of consumer markets have not (yet) materialized. *(Cf. BMWi study)

The three keys to the industrial platform economy:

  • Complexity Management: The industrial sector is richly complex due to a lack of standards, a high degree of heterogeneity, and complex supply chains. This is an obstacle for so-called hyperscalers when it comes to market penetration. Log-in effects and isolated solutions must be avoided. The mechanical and plant engineering sector in particular therefore has great opportunities to take the issue into its own hands.
  • Trust: Marketplace operators must be able to offer attractive service packages with open, fair and transparent governance structures. In addition, industry-relevant networks and ecosystems must be supported. This requires not only trust in the provider, but also a certain degree of neutrality.
  • Courage to embrace “coopetition”: As is the case with any change of this scale, the platform economy also leads to shifts that companies must deal with in a self-critical manner. Opening up new business areas alongside the continuation of traditional core business requires courage, openness and a cultural shift.

One thing that is not disputed, it seems, is the way forward. A study conducted by innovation consultancy Etventure surveyed nearly 1,500 SMEs on the future viability of the German economy. The study found that 62% of respondents were convinced that the dynamic shift towards a new “economy of platforms” will influence established business models in the future. (Cf. etventure study)

“Make B2B like B2C”

ADAMOS creates an efficient digital infrastructure with the ADAMOS STORE and ADAMOS HUB, above all for small and medium-sized manufacturers and users in the industrial environment. The mechanical engineering alliance recently launched the ADAMOS STORE as a digital marketplace and the ADAMOS HUB for cross-platform customer data management to offer its partner companies and their customers a unique shopping experience. Companies benefit first and foremost from its collaborative approach. The common goal of the collaborative alliance is to transform the B2B sector in a way that is now the norm in the B2C environment.

As an alliance with an industry focus, the company supports the traditionally long-term trust-based customer-supplier relationships in the mechanical engineering sector. The wide range of comprehensive integration and interaction services includes support in the area of business model innovation as well as services for contract management, online law and payment. 


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