By now, all manufacturing companies should have heard about the digital transformation movement. Many companies are just now starting to digitize. When undergoing a digital transformation, manufacturers must innovate to adapt and succeed. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for such innovation has never been greater. What does this mean for manufacturers? To some it means deploying a digital experience for customers and others it means deploying a new business model all together. The Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud is the digital transformation answer for all of the above.
Keeping Customers at the Center
The entire life cycle of customer engagement, not just sales, needs and wants complete visibility across their whole experience. A recent survey found that two-thirds of companies say their competitive advantage comes from customer experience. Seventy-four percent of buyers say they’ll pay more for a better customer experience.
Salesforce keeps the customer at the center of everything the platform offers. It is able to deliver that unified experience between customers, products, and employees. Salesforce isn’t strictly a sales tool. It’s a unified platform that brings together marketing, sales, service, pricing, and order management all together with one common user experience, one common security model, and a common data. This kind of simplified experience that still tailors to any complexities the customer needs is exactly what today’s customer wants from a manufacturer.
One Platform to Rule Them All
As we said in the previous point, everything ties into the Salesforce back office. The platform includes quote configuration, product service management, price management, field service management, and multiple IoT services. Practically everything can be done from the first customer engagement to maintaining a customer relationship with product/service maintenance down the line right from Salesforce.
If you don’t offer e-commerce yet, you still want to have this functionality for when you will offer it. Inevitably, your company will have to offer e-commerce, so there’s no time like the present to get a jump start on it now.
Complete Visibility for the Customer
Manufacturing is a capital-intensive business that cannot quickly pivot to meet changing customer demands. Success in this industry requires a level of understanding demand as well as predictability. The customer can’t be transparent about their needs if the purchase process includes a number of silos. With everything in one platform, both customers and employees have that complete transparency across the board. This way, both the customer and the business can react quickly to changing demands and no one is blind-sided in the process.
It’s a win-win for both sides of the transaction.
Sales Agreement Functionality
The Sales Agreements feature provides that visibility into all of the terms, volume commitments, schedule product frequency, and everything your business may have stored in different systems. The Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud assumes that a separate ERP system is feeding the data necessary for these sales agreements, and therefore, one of its top priorities is to bring all of that from the separate system to the forefront of the Sales Agreement. The Cloud additionally provides one shared space for both parties to collaborate and negotiate on the full Sales Agreement life cycle, from draft to an eventually expired agreement.
Forecasting and Predictability
So once we have our sales agreement in place, then we’re able to forecast off of that, and this where you get to measure your assumptions. The Salesforce Einstein Predictive Analytics platform drives the forecasting functionality, analyzing how an account is going to perform over a period of time using the actual revenue the sales agreements generate.
Einstein is already part of the Manufacturing Cloud, and it includes a set of pre-configured dashboards and components that you can add to your user interface.
Forecasting can show plenty, but it’s the analytics that interpret what you need across the board. With Einstein Analytics, you can see a holistic performance across multiple market segments, product segments, and different customer types. Einstein will even pull in additional data from separate systems, such as your ERP, to get an idea of overall performance as well as just the lifetime value of that customer. You can see how things are looking across the whole company overall and not just from an account forecast perspective.
The Manufacturing Cloud also includes a Communities feature, that enables additional dealer and partner collaboration. For example, if your dealers help with forecast management, these communities will increase both accountability and visibility.
Since so many companies are currently working remotely, these Communities are perfect to continue collaboration, communication, and growing those relationships with dealers, partners, and even customers.
One of the biggest pluses with the Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud is that your ERP or order management system can easily integrate with it. In real time, you could have full, integrated order data. You can compare your planned quantity and revenue amounts to your actuals through your ERP system, making it an extremely powerful tool.
In addition, integrating your ERP with the Manufacturing Cloud fuels the Einstein Analytics, providing an even bigger and more accurate picture.