In times of great uncertainty, in tough times where markets sharply reveal the loss of confidence, not just the world of finance, but also manufacturing companies are forced to deal with rapid rethinking and restructuring of their business model.

The identification and implementation of the “right” strategies and programs are no longer driven by searching only the growth, but these are “simply” essential choices for the protection of their positioning.

We are watching very closely how the smartest companies - regardless of their reference industry - are going through these changes, and we can see that they have properly start from the fundamentals, such as products/customers, or better supply-chain and customer-relationship, introducing new approaches and new information.

The search for the end-to-end performance of supply chain requires a renewal of targets and metrics, it is necessary to define new indicators that better address the objectives towards the maximum efficiency, but do not overlook the potential benefits produced by the focus on variety and flexibility of service.

This activity of focusing on the “inside”, even if belonging to an always more extended network, is alternate with "intelligence" and forecast activities, as regards customers and markets.

Again, the news is not in the meaning of these activities, that have always belong to marketing and business development offices, but it is rather in the new fresh data and models able to make them even more effective and leading.

93% of marketers use social media to discover trends, opinions, to gather information. Within seconds a large amount of information can become powerful "early warning" indicators, so the challenge is to transform and integrate this asset and make it actionable to discover new channels, new causal relationships, new possibilities.

This is "Social Intelligence", but not only. It can also become a powerful tool of "Competitive Intelligence", highlighting feedback not only on own business initiatives but also on the competitors’ actions.

If we think about it a bit, these two trends are simply the re-edition, more and more convincing and supported by "analytics" of the old mantra "right product for the right customer", that at this point, “right” it is really an expression of the win-win relationship between customer and supplier.