A small company, Injecta, which produces systems in the field of chemical water treatment, at risk of being stuck in the middle between the distributors (always on the hunt for lower costs) and the suppliers that produce the components (always looking to integrate vertically), succeeds, thanks to a workshop series program, to capitalize on its content and to give solidity to its central role in the value chain while maintaining its leadership role towards distributors and suppliers. Thanks to the discovery of new critical assets for its market, he boldly decided on a global development strategy, which results — as the first step — into the purchase of a company in Brazil.
A series of workshops using the innovation vortex as a baseline approach
The sequence of workshops started to carry out a digital transformation to generate commercial leads, has allowed us to rethink our business role and through the enhancement of our digital content to generate a service that alone has transformed Injecta into the pivot between distributor and producer. But let’s go in order.
THE STORY OF INJECTA
Established in 1989, over the years Injecta, a small company from Rieti, Italy, that operates in the field of chemical water treatment, has embarked on a long growth path, extending its market share internationally (more than 80 countries served across all continents), thanks to participation in some large international trade fairs that have enabled Injecta to obtain contacts and agreements from foreign customers. Among the company’s successes the catalog offered to its customers, which boasts some innovative dosage systems for detergency (Perivar, Sinergy, Star, Sinergy 5 and 6, etc.) and the treatment of water and some hydraulic pumps, including the model Hydra and the Synergy Next system.
Injecta customers are made up of system builders and suppliers who integrate Injecta products into their offering and interface end customers (the owners of the plants). Therefore they act more as partners than as actual customers, for Injecta, playing a role also in the design of new products.
Injecta produces systems by building firmware and pumps designed and sold on its own. Some components are acquired by third party manufacturers.
Injecta is therefore configured as a production company that operates with a B2B model whose essential components are above all: product design, product marketing towards distributors/integrators, sales, assistance, and support worldwide.
To grow, Injecta initially thought of setting up an effective digital marketing and storytelling strategy, implementing various activities to be developed through technological tools and web channels. Injecta has therefore committed itself to digitize as coherently as possible in all the company functions to overcome the problems of competitive risk (related exclusively to the physical production phase of the components).
THE BIRTH OF THE PLAN
The history of Injecta is an excellent example of resilience: despite the difficulties related to the tragic seismic events of 2016 in the area, the company has managed to achieve numerous successes. However, there was a need to communicate on the web, feeding a continuous story that would enhance its identity, confirming the company’s value also on new realities. This, in a nutshell, was the strategic objective that Injecta wanted to achieve: to bring Injecta from a defensible position on the market to a true servitization of the product, introducing efficient services and with valuable know-how into it.
To do this, it was decided to make a digital innovation plan to make market positioning distinctive, by communicating the company with Digital Marketing and to make it more effective by re-designing its more traditional activities in a completely digital approach.
The Plan was aimed at providing all the elements necessary to convert Injecta’s operating/management system from traditional to digital, with marketing activities that used web channels to tell the story to develop the commercial network, analyze and forecast trends market, create offers on the target customer profile and brand the company on the web, through content marketing. Digital storytelling, therefore, found space as leverage to feed the website and social communication to obtain commercial leads.
To feed suitable storytelling, it was necessary to insert content production directly into the production process, making sure to have enough material for continuous storytelling making possible to generate Injecta issue ownership. So the plan was to give a solution:
- managing information assets, to produce the content so that it was easily distributed on the web and social media;
- accessing information assets. This involved segmenting the content according to levels of confidentiality (what is publishable to everyone, what only to the partners, what is not publishable), to avoid the dissemination of sensitive and strategic content;
- enriching information assets from the field. An important element to take into account was the feedback that comes to Injecta from the use of its products in the field (partners and users), an activity now carried out only by e-mail and word of mouth.
These objectives led, therefore, to see not only the simple aspect of generating leads but of a real digital transformation process, with these Key Steps:
- The digital business models applicable thanks to the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology.
- Acquiring skills to design and start a Storytelling suitable for the Injecta model.
- Insights on the development of new types of digital branding.
- Design Sprint to validating Injecta infrastructure.
- The launch of a business development plan aimed at making this new digital approach operational after the conclusion of the Plan.
Given the structural nature of the intervention, the choice was to use a facilitated approach to the development of internal skills. This is to answer a fundamental question: the very nature of the market and the highly specialized product requires that the solutions emerge directly from the company. Also to guarantee a high level of commitment capable of guaranteeing development even after the end of the plan.
We have chosen to combine a series of methodologies that would allow on the one hand to reflect on the processes that were being digitized, on the other to become familiar with a mindset oriented to the propagation of value in the processes themselves. Furthermore, the development direction of Strategy-Content-New products/services would have precipitated the entire value of previously developed solutions in this last stage. As in design thinking, where moments of empathy, problem definition and ideation precipitate in the phases of implementation, testing and learning from feedback.
The design sprint phase took place only when the company, after digesting the previous phases (business models, content production and storytelling), identified the most critical service/product.
To understand how it got there, it must be said that one of the results of the previous phases was to better understand the heritage of the different contents. In Injecta some tools have been the starting points to be used for the generation of digitally expandable content. Among these are:
- Manuals: a source of the necessary base to base company competence. This manual was overturned starting from the problem and not from the characteristics of products;
- Direct support (e-mail/telephone/CRM): the request starts from the end-user to the customer/partner and, if necessary, is made to scale up to Injecta. This activity would have served as a necessary basis to tell cases, applications, solving problems to prove the strong experience and ability to deal with all the different pieces of knowledge needed to solve the customer-specific problems;
- Partner network (strong and weak relationships with physical and digital contacts): operating in close contact with customers would have provided ideas, cases, and realities very close to those of potential leads. DSA (Dosing System Academy) by Injecta qualify partners’ technicians.
The challenge was to be able to engage the production of the content, ready for publication, directly in the production processes, applying adequate security criteria to avoid disclosing sensitive, strategic or confidential information.
This is why in the end we focused on opening the channel of direct support to the DSA qualified technicians of our partners. This precisely starting from a direct production-content and safety process since the DSA is protected, with restricted access which can be controlled directly by Injecta.
Efficiency, efficacy, and security are the cornerstones of the pre-design sprint development. Design sprint maintains the focus and precipitates the knowledge acquired in the series of workshops ensuring a maximum level of depth. The entire Design sprint process saw development focused on a system in which the different technicians (Inject and qualified DSA of the partners) could independently answer the questions asked by each other.
THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE SYSTEM INTO ASSET
As the process developed, from the initial idea to the prototype, the system was acquiring a value higher than simply easing customer support. The number of questions and answers already acquired and reorganized during the content management phase, the possibility of using the extensive documentation in a problem-driven way, led to a product that was a real knowledge system, made of all the years and years of applications and installations, and centuries of highly skilled technicians spread all over the planet.
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The system had developed from a support tool into a community of practice and a problem-solving knowledge system supported by a highly competent world community. Any manufacturer could have offered systems similar to those of Injecta, but no one, apart from Injecta, would have been able to offer a community-oriented problem-solving system so widespread, updated and qualified. Any distributor could have detached himself from Injecta to ally with a more “convenient” supplier but would have lost the enormous patrimony of solutions and widespread community (the network of technicians) with similar installations all over the world.
The system put Injecta at the center of the market, guaranteeing it a Cardan joint and going to provide value to its offer beyond the simple supply.
The testing phase with customers/partners during the last day of the sprint confirmed all this. Once implemented, the system would have been unique and would have made Injecta indispensable for success in the market. It gave to the community a voice.
VOICE into a company as a baseline model for VOICE into an ecosystem
Injecta had managed to change its role as a weak chainring in a customer supply chain, to be a node of an ecosystem for the development of water treatment systems, from a local player to a critical node of the global ecosystem.
Downstream of the development of the prototype, but with the new system running, Injecta started operating differently on the usual development plans. In a work entirely based on know-how, Injecta’s cognitive heritage must be conveyed in a strong and scientifically credible way, strengthening and integrating the platforms and making them converge towards DSA: from here, in other words, Injecta’s competitive strength passes on reference market. People, internal and qualified became critical assets. Thanks to the combination of the workshops and the new system, Injecta’s business model has changed.
Meanwhile, DSA with the new system becomes the platform to increase synergy with the Brazilian subsidiary (Tron). The courageous attempt to buy a homologous reality in Brazil, in a technically advanced sector such as that of a dosing system for water purification, better protect Injecta from the risks of an increasingly competitive context. The success of the attempt passes through the possibility of importing into Brazil not only products but the European business model.
Based on the central role of the DSA in the business model, Injecta is now leading the production developments, to the point that it is Injecta who now guides the supplier, dictating price lists and parts supplies. In this integration process, thanks to the Brazilian subsidiary, economies of scale, capable of making everyone’s margins grow, guaranteed harmonious development, transforming a supply chain into a globalized ecosystem.
The growth of everyone is the driving force for common growth on the market, growth led directly by customers through the DSA which becomes a response, support, and customer-driven-manufacturing system.
In short, a digital transformation did not mean automating existing processes, but that redesigned the way the company operates. A new business model in a global ecosystem capable of competing and making Injecta world leader in the sector of the dosing system. As the company claim says “Injecta, the perfect dosing”.
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