Though any CRM application has sales, after sales and marketing functionalities for a typical business, a manufacturing CRM needs specific attention when it comes to CRM development and implementation. An effective manufacturing CRM needs to streamline the sales and service functions of the company. This is only possible by having common underlying data and a tight integration. Having these features in place increases user adoption and generates true business value.
There could two different production set ups – made to stock or made to order. In the former , the visibility to inventory levels as well as projection of demand is of utmost importance. In the latter, swift transfer of orders to back-end manufacturing application is needed for an accurate MRP run. Let us look how a CRM software solution can help streamline the business functions for a manufacturing company.
Salesforce automation within Manufacturing CRM
Manufacturing process can be either made to stock or made to order. In the former case, the production needs to be planned accurately based on projected demand. In the latter, it is of utmost importance to get the order into back end applications so that manufacturing plan can be created. Let drill down the business processes in production domain and explore how a CRM can contribute to a successful customer relationship.
Integrate Supply Chain from Quote to Cash
The sales representatives are spread out geographically and sales happen across channels. The manufacturing facility though central to organization business may be remote to the sales. Moreover, there may be a lot of logistic processes and third party involved in getting the products to the wholesaler, distribution or the end customer. To communicate effectively with customer, the customer representatives need to have complete visibility of the latest on the order. A truly implemented CRM application can help in the following ways
Accurate 360-degree view on master data
The product and customer information must be visible in the CRM application. It must also reflect for example, if a product has been discontinued or a customer has been blocked due to non-payment. It is also important that only the relevant subset of information is displayed to the sales team members depending on their sales territory and hierarchy level.
Accurate pricing, product availability and controlling margin
CRM application must reflect the product prices and their inventory levels. It may be noted that there could be different price lists for various customer groups. Moreover, some product may not be available in the price list at all. For example, a product specific to US market may not be available in Australian price list.
Proper approval workflows may be set in case the price quoted deviates beyond a threshold. There could be multiple levels of approval in case the deviations are high. For example deviation up to 5% on quote line items may not require approval as long as total deviation at header is less than 3%. Anything in excess up to 5% may be approved by business head. However, anything more than 5% may require VP Sales to approve.
Integrated forecast and demand analysis
Based on opportunities and quotes lined up within the CRM system, their expected closure date and win probability, it is possible to forecast demand. Having the quote information from CRM flow down to ERP application adds added advantage. Once they convert into an order, it can be immediately relayed to the production lines.
Logistics and financial visibility
As the customer orders undergoes various stages from being manufactured, shipped and invoiced, this comprehensive order information must be available within the CRM application. This is possible only when the CRM application is integrated with other applications in the landscape. In some cases, customer relationship management solution needs to be integrated with payment systems so that the sales rep can follow up on pending payments.
Loss / competition analysis
Lost opportunities can have immense value. It is important to understand whether the deal was lost due to price, lack of product features or some other features. This can add tremendous input when new product or model is being designed.
Efficient customer service for manufacturing company
As soon as the sales and installation process end, the service function kicks off. On the service side, the support staff need to be aware of the product sold along with warranty terms. It may also be useful for them to know the below aspects of the business.
Tracking Assets and Installed Base
Once an equipment is sold and delivered, it is important to track the serial number, make, model, location and any warranty terms associated with the same. In some cases, there may be a specific contact person associated with the asset. This information simplifies the life of service team. When a service call is assigned to them, they already have lot of information already in the CRM application. Moreover, CRM can help assign the case to a service team member with required skills and bandwidth and reduce the response and resolution time.
Sharing Knowledge Articles
Resolving the service calls lead to understanding. Some of the issues may have chances to reoccur at other installation of the same model. It is therefore important for service team members to share this knowledge. CRM can help streamline this information. As soon as a case is created, it can bring the relevant knowledge base artifact in an intelligent fashion. This can great increase the productivity, confidence and collaboration among service team members.
Analyzing product defects
Repeated breakdown not only means increase in support costs but also decreased customer satisfaction. It is therefore important for product team to go over the defects and fine tune the next release of the product.
Advantages of CRM for manufacturing companies
An efficient customer relationship management solution can be the true differentiation for a manufacturing company. Though one might have already got an idea, the below section of this article summarizes the advantages of a CRM for a production setup.
- Better business visibility to sales and service teams
Just like how an ERP application forms the core of production, finance and other operational aspect of the organization, CRM can mean the world to your sales and service team members.
- Highly efficient Quote to Cash process
A CRM application can increase the effectiveness of quote to cash process by ensuring that sales rep have access to master as well as transaction data. They can respond to customer queries like order status, product availability confidently. Integration CRM means less offline coordination and increase in productivity levels.
- Higher customer satisfaction
CRM can help reach the right service team member, gives them the required background. It also brings in the details on possible resolution. The application also helps them collaborate better. The solution also helps give a feedback on frequently occurring issues to the product team.
- Increased sales with better control
CRM helps forecast demand, helps correct the reason for unsuccessful deal closure and eases the creation of right quote. These help the company grow without necessarily increasing the head count. Proper checks and balances ensure that profitability is kept intact.
Our experience implementing manufacturing CRM
Veon has extensively worked in implementing manufacturing CRM. Listed below are some of the relevant case studies in this domain.
Marco Ophthalmic are Florida based manufacturer of vision diagnostic equipment. With a sales and service team spanning entire USA, the organization was looking at an efficient CRM software solution which could streamline their entire operation. Veon helped implement Salesforce and integrated the same with their SAP application. Read the entire case study here.
Catrike is a US based manufacturer of trikes and bikes. The company has an extensive dealer network spread across the country. The company was looking at a CRM solution which could accurately manage its business partner and help it forecast the demand accurately. The company has also been recognized as one of the fastest growing companies by Inc 5000. The company is located in the east coast.
Triviton is a South East Asian conglomerate dealing in hospital equipment. The organization was looking at a solution which could streamline its sales and service functions. The company wanted to establish a real time connectivity between its ERP and CRM applications. The CRM platform chosen was SugarCRM. Read the entire case study here.
If you are looking at kick starting implementation of your manufacturing CRM, reach out to us for a 30 minutes consultation. It is free and comes up with no obligation.