09 Jan Doing business better: Salesforce launches Manufacturing Cloud
by Tom Lovell
The manufacturing industry is in an age of dramatic and fast-paced change. For every $1 spent in manufacturing, a $1.82 is added to the economy—the highest multiplier of any sector. And yet over the next decade, it’s estimated that 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will be needed. Keeping up with the new talent pool and simultaneously maintaining customers with increasing digital automation is no small task for the industry at large.
So, as we enter 2020, Salesforce aims to do its part to help the industry by launching a new industry-specific product for manufacturers: Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud. Let’s look at what Manufacturing Cloud is and how it can help your business.
What is Manufacturing Cloud?
Salesforce, founded in 1999 in California, has become the global leader in the customer relationship management (CRM) space. Salesforce connects companies with consumers using the cloud, mobile, social, internet of things, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. Recognizing that each industry has unique needs, Salesforce has developed individual industry verticals to address those needs with tailor-made software.
“In the manufacturing industry, changing customer and market demands can have a devastating effect on the bottom line, so being able to understand what is happening on the ground is imperative for success,” stated Cindy Bolt, SVP and GM of Salesforce Manufacturing, in a press release. “Manufacturing Cloud bridges the gap between S&OP teams while ensuring more predictive and transparent business, so they can build deeper and more trusted relationships with their customers.”
An article in Tech Crunch points out that manufacturing is a capital-intensive business where the individuals laboring on the physical products might be disconnected from those working on sales or distribution (not only separate in their job function but also in terms of the software that’s used to manage their part of the operation). Salesforce created Manufacturing Cloud to unify S&OP teams with a complete understanding of the market and customer to more precisely strategize performance and predict outcomes. Salesforce has worked to perfect Manufacturing Cloud by working with major global manufacturing and sales companies through its product pilot program, including Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (Engines Division), Hitachi Chemical, CF Industries, Mipox, GELITA, and others.
How will Manufacturing Cloud help your business?
Manufacturing.net found that even in well-run companies, anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of inventory is dead or obsolete. On top of that, revenue leakage—when deals close but the customer ultimately does not take the product in the contractually agreed on time frame—adds to the challenges manufacturers face. However, S&OP teams working in tandem can help reduce inventory pitfalls. Two of Manufacturing Cloud’s top features, Sales Agreements and Account-Based Forecasting, will allow the different parts of your operation to always be on the same page. In Salesforce’s press release, they described the features in the following way:
– Sales agreements allow manufacturers to unify their run-rate business with data housed in ERP and order management systems with the contract terms negotiated—including planned volumes and revenues—so both operations and account teams can have a 360-degree view of the customer. If any changes to the agreement are needed, they are immediately incorporated into the existing sales agreement, ensuring there is always a single source of truth. This allows account teams to manage the full sales agreement lifecycle and have visibility into committed and actual order volumes, the performance of the agreement against the forecast and other time-phased custom metrics. This also simplifies the renewal process, ensuring account teams continue to bring in revenue while increasing margins.
– Account-based forecasting provides manufacturers with a complete view of their current business alongside future opportunities. This allows sales, finance, and operations teams to develop more accurate forecasts while breaking down internal silos. Account teams can also add updates on changing customer needs or market demands, allowing the team to collaborate and adjust forecasts in real-time, helping to make business transactions, profits and revenue margins more predictable.
Another key analytical tool, Einstein Analytics, was also announced. Salesforce states that Einstein Analytics will provide account managers an intelligent experience with key performance indicators into account health, demand insights, product penetration and sales agreement progress. This centralization of information will help managers focus on engaging customers with relevant upsell or cross-sell opportunities who are at a higher risk of leaving. Since increasing customer retention rates by only five percent increases profits by 25 to 95 percent, according to research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, analytical tools for your manufacturing company could do a lot for your bottom line.
As manufacturing companies continue to face the challenges that globalization, changing consumer and partner habits, and greater competition bring, you need the right CRM software to help your company make the best choices. Connecting your front office to your back office in a seamless way is a critical step. The Manufacturing Cloud is the perfect solution, with a roadmap that addresses everything from target setting and rebate management to account forecasting and CPQ integration.
For more information about how Simplus can work with you to find the right solution for your manufacturing company, visit simplus.com or call 833-SIMPLUS.
Tom is Industry Lead here at Simplus. For over 15 years, Tom has helped companies implement data and process-driven strategies to bridge the gap between business and IT. These strategies have improved patient outcomes, reduced financial risk, and improved operational efficiency in healthcare organizations while bringing to bear streamlined costs, reduced risk, and improved revenue at manufacturers. His passion is architecting and sharing practical solutions that deliver valuable results for customers.