The sheer scale and force of worldwide manufacturing operations make it a prime target for automation and digital transformation. Although the adoption of automation and digital transformation strategies has been slow within the manufacturing industry, the newest industrial revolution is changing the tide.
Industry 4.0 is characterized by automation, machine learning, and IoT technologies combining to revolutionize the manufacturing industry’s operations. Not only can automation and digital transformation make operations more efficient, but they can also help manufacturers better serve their customers through the use of CRM solutions.
This guide will explore CRM’s uses in the manufacturing industry and how Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud can help manufacturers transform the customer experience and enhance internal operations.
The Case for Adopting CRM in Manufacturing
The newest manufacturing revolution, Industry 4.0, has been gaining prominence across the manufacturing industry. Surveys performed in the U.S show that digitization has been widely adopted across manufacturing firms. Digitization generally makes it easier to find, organize, share, and store information.
However, digitization is just the start of the overall process of digital transformation and automation. The same study showed that advanced technology adoption is highly dependent on critical infrastructure. This infrastructure concerns those digital processes, strategies, and tools that would enable a manufacturing firm to successfully adopt more advanced technology such as robots, machine vision, and machine learning.
In short, digital tools, such as CRM software, are the fundamental building blocks that enable businesses to grow with advanced technology. Beyond the eventual goal of advanced technology use, CRM software can help businesses completely overhaul their internal operations in a way that improves customer service, enhances efficiency, and strengthens customer relationships.
CRM in Manufacturing Use Cases: Manufacturing Cloud
One of the greatest challenges to CRM’s adoption in manufacturing is a lack of information surrounding its use. So, it’s crucial to help manufacturing leaders better understand the potential benefits and applications of CRM software adoption.
The following use cases will explore the applications of Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud, a CRM solution designed for use in the manufacturing industry. Let’s dive in.
Strengthen Your Forecasting
Forecasting is a crucial manufacturing practice that businesses use to determine the inventory and supplies they’ll need for the upcoming year. Businesses may also leverage multiple data sources to come up with a more accurate number and reduce waste.
Unfortunately, many manufacturing businesses find it difficult to consolidate data sources during the forecasting process. As the manufacturing disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic demonstrated, forecasting based solely on last year’s data doesn’t allow businesses to be flexible enough to adapt and respond to sudden shifts in demand.
An automated forecast process enables businesses to use real-time data from sales teams, operations teams, and customer service teams and keeps the numbers accurate and adaptable. With Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud, you can track your teams’ KPIs and manage data in one place. Automated forecasting takes the doubt out of the equation by backing up the numbers with real-time hard data.
Upgrade the Customer Experience.
As clogged supply lines and manufacturing disruptions completely halted the output of many manufacturers during the pandemic, another significant issue was exposed — a lack of transparency.
Customers expect information regarding the status of their orders, inventory and stock data, and exceptional responsiveness from the manufacturer. Without these details, customers are completely in the dark about their orders and will lose trust in your business. That’s why it’s essential for manufacturing businesses to give customers all the information they need to facilitate an excellent customer experience.
That means businesses will need a solution that allows them to easily review and manage customer data, inventory data, and more in one place. Here’s how Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud delivers.
- Consolidated Real-Time Sales Agreement Data: The Sales Agreements feature, provides a single comprehensive view of all sales terms, including prices, products, duration, and more.
- Get a Unified Customer View: Proactively manage customer relationships with account activity, service issues, and real-time sales process updates to better serve customers.
- Better Marketing: Communicate with customers across different channels and create a personalized customer experience with detailed customer profiles.
Revitalize and Automate S&OP
Sales and operations planning (S&OP) is another core business practice, aimed at the optimization and cohesive plan of action related to business processes.
Using Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud, manufacturing businesses have the opportunity to completely revitalize and automate S&OP by gathering data from multiple sources, including sales, finance, marketing, and customer service teams.
Within the Cloud, teams can collaborate to ensure that every detail is synchronized and everyone is on the same page. Better yet, Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud is scalable and secure, so it can grow as your business does. Within Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud, businesses can:
- Respond Faster: New product applications can be updated across different channels. In the pandemic, manufacturers who produced alcohol were able to capitalize on the demand for hand sanitizer by quickly updating the applications for their products and getting the message out.
- Optimize Inventory: Know which supplies and inventory are currently on-hand and increase production as needed with real-time production inventory data.
- Decrease Time to Revenue: Get things moving faster by automating and optimizing the manufacturing process to decrease the time-to-revenue.
Completely Elevate Field Service
Within the manufacturing industry, many businesses struggle to effectively capitalize on the revenue potential presented by their install base. These are organizations or individuals who already have your products, and may need service in the future. Deploying field service technicians to meet this growing consumer need is not only a great way to generate revenue, but it can also help to strengthen your business’s reputation by extending your product’s longevity.
That’s where Salesforce Field Service Lightning comes in.
Field Service is best deployed when service technicians have access to vital information on the go. For manufacturing businesses, this means leveraging the power of a CRM solution that provides a unified customer view and streamlines field service management. These are the core offerings of Salesforce Field Service Lightning. With Field Service Lightning, businesses can create service appointments and work orders, dispatch technicians who are the best match for the job, and monitor field performance – all in one place.
What Does the Future of Manufacturing Look Like?
Currently, many manufacturing firms are hesitant to adopt more advanced digitization tools, such as CRM technology. They may lack the technology infrastructure to do so. However, the larger challenge to adoption is the lack of perceived value of such tools. Moreover, while many firms have moved toward adopting more digitized operations, the vast majority don’t rely on mostly automated tools in crucial business operations, like forecasting. Worse yet, cloud technology is under-utilized within the manufacturing industry.
A recent report by Salesforce shows that:
- 95% of manufacturers apply manual approaches to their forecasting.
- Only 57% of manufacturing salespeople feel confident in their company’s ability to quickly adjust to the changing market.
- 77% of manufacturers who have transitioned to the cloud organically transitioned to mostly or completely automated forecasting processes, which increased adaptability.
Together, these statistics highlight the manufacturing industry’s growing need for automated digital tools and its markedly hesitant adoption. However, with the plethora of CRM solutions available, including Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud, now is the time for manufacturers to make the move.
There’s no denying that the manufacturing industry is facing one of its biggest transitions since the Industrial Revolution. Automation and digital transformation are destined to improve efficiency and streamline the manufacturing process, starting with smaller-scale changes, such as implementing a CRM solution.
That said, it can be challenging to implement CRM solutions, especially if you are not familiar with your options. Get in touch with an expert at Forcivity to help you build the right solution with the power of Salesforce’s cloud-based CRM platform.