Birmingham-based Allsee Technologies is working with academics from Aston Business School to drive value from its service offer. The digital signage manufacturer joined the school’s Advanced Services Group SME Partnership Programme to access free expertise and promote its service proposition to steal a march on its blue-chip competitors.
Established in 2007, Allsee Technologies is a leading manufacturer of digital signage and commercial displays. It has enjoyed steady growth over the last decade and now offers more than 40 product ranges, together with bespoke solutions. The SME already punches above its weight, having a greater UK market share than larger competitors such as Intel and Sony thanks to its specialist expertise in developing complete turnkey solutions.
Over the years, the business has developed software and a range of associated services to differentiate the business from its competitors and to provide a one-stop-shop for all digital signage integrators and resellers.
As time has gone by Allsee has seen increasing demand for associated services as a result of customer requirements becoming more complex but had not yet fully exploited this avenue for growth.
In 2019, Marketing Director Thomas Fraser-Bacon was invited to a breakfast briefing by Aston Business School. The Advanced Services Group’s SME Partnership programme was looking to support its next cohort of businesses on their journey to advanced services. Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the programme helps businesses trading in the Black Country, Birmingham and Solihull LEP regions to boost competitiveness by embracing servitization, which involves the transformation of business models to enable companies across a range of sectors to compete through advanced services.
Thomas says: “Talking to the team completely changed my mindset and made me realise that servitization is the future of manufacturing. They backed up theory with case studies and unbiased academic research. We quickly saw an opportunity to put services at the heart of our customer offer to help us to differentiate our business in a competitive market.”
Allsee already provided a range of services to its partner network of distributors, resellers and integrators, yet had failed to capitalise on what it now recognised was a key differentiator. Through a series of visits and virtual sessions, Aston academics worked with the SME to explore how it might redesign its value proposition through lifetime technical support, training and installation and use these to drive revenue and build collaborative and enduring customer relationships.
The company set about analysing its offering and designing a services spec sheet to present to its partner network. “We had a really positive response”, says Thomas “and it opened our eyes to the impact these services have on our value proposition.”
The move encouraged other parts of Allsee’s supply chain to follow suit and use servitization as a vehicle for growth. Dave Dunne, Project Manager at partner organisation Media Group, says: “We knew Allsee offered more than just providing screens and software but it wasn’t until they promoted their full service offering on LinkedIn that we realised to what extent. They inspired us to produce our own 10-point services document. It has become as important as our product literature and helped us win new business and secure on-going business within our portfolio of blue-chip clients.”
The entire partner network is finding it easier to win major contracts and Allsee is now able to go head-to-head with big-name competitors such as LG and Samsung. “They are just offering a product, whereas we provide a comprehensive package of solutions”, Thomas explains. “It has changed our relationship with the market and is helping us to win a bigger slice of the cake.”
Allsee is continuing to promote its service offer and is now exploring how it might create new revenue streams by introducing service level agreements and maintenance contracts. It plans to strengthen its in-house capabilities to expand on its service offer and is continually identifying how it might address customer pain points through surveys and polls.
Since 2012, the Advanced Services Group has supported hundreds of companies like Allsee to transform their business and operational models through academic engagement, business model innovation, the adoption of new technology and communicating value propositions to their customers and supply chains. Financial data from participating companies indicates that shifting to a servitized model led to combined growth of £30 million.
“There are so many possibilities and I don’t see our servitization journey ever ending”, says Thomas. “The Advanced Services Group SME Partnership is helping us to take our business to another level and the team is passionate about helping their cohort companies to succeed. I’d advise any SME to join the programme. Services are critical to modern manufacturing and no one can afford to miss out.”