We know dealing with the pressures of global disruption while trying to improve operations and ROI is a challenge. Salesforce for manufacturing companies is a great tool to use to meet those challenges head on. In this blog, we walk through the various features you can use to increase efficiency in your manufacturing business.
Manufacturing companies are always looking for ways to streamline their operations and increase efficiency. Today, manufacturers face increasing pressure to remain competitive and drive growth in an era of global disruption. To succeed, they must leverage the right technology tools to streamline operations, optimize customer experience and make informed decisions.
One of the most effective solutions is Salesforce, a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system that helps companies better manage customers and prospects.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits manufacturing companies can expect from using Salesforce and our top reasons to consult with a Salesforce partner.
What Does Salesforce Offer Manufacturers?
Salesforce offers a range of features that can help manufacturing companies better manage customer relationships and streamline operations. These features include automated workflows, data analytics and reporting capabilities. With automated flows, companies can automate common tasks like sending emails, scheduling recurring service visits and inventory control updates.
Data analytics allows companies to gain insights into customers’ behavior and preferences while reporting capabilities provide an overview of business performance. You can then use this information to make more informed decisions about meeting customer needs.
Over the years, manufacturing companies have recognized Salesforce is an invaluable tool for streamlining operations and improving efficiency. With an array of solutions for common pain points, most manufacturing companies, like yours, contend with regularly.
Here is a breakdown of the commonly used Salesforce Clouds for manufacturers.
Sales Cloud acts as a pre-requisite to a Salesforce solution. It is the heart of a company’s CRM system, capturing data such as accounts, contacts, products, price books, sales processes, opportunities, quotes and reports.
Manufacturing companies require the ability to effectively manage customer support processes. Service Cloud is the key to managing inbound support engagements using cases, chatbots, omnichannel message routing and milestones. Operations and support teams have found great value in the Knowledge Base function Salesforce provides. The ability to easily find and update documents related to the support topics allows for seamless knowledge transfer, training and unmatched customer service.
For companies that offer field-level support to their customers, some of the greatest challenges revolve around determining the right technician for the job, cost-effective routing and historical tracking. Field Service’s robust range of capabilities seamlessly helps manage work orders, route dispatching and logistics.
You can improve communication between sales and inventory management by including Manufacturing Cloud. Salesforce introduced the industry-based cloud with features that provide sales teams access to up-to-date inventory-management data. It also gives production managers insight into the sales pipeline to manage inventory levels.
Salesforce’s Manufacturing Cloud is an all-encompassing solution for managing forecast accuracy, communicating fluctuating inventory levels and managing production to meet demand. It empowers decision making to improve manufacturing operations.
How Can Salesforce Positively Impact Manufacturing Companies?
By using Salesforce for manufacturing operations, companies can reduce manual labor costs by automating processes such as order tracking and product delivery notifications. Data analytics provides decision makers with valuable insights into customer behavior and inspiration, so they can create more tailored services and products that better meet their customers’ needs.
Additionally, reporting capabilities enable monitoring KPIs such as sales performance and customer satisfaction. This reporting helps identify areas where companies need to improve to maximize efficiency and profitability.
Salesforce provides manufacturing companies with powerful data-driven insights. This includes providing real-time visibility into customer data across sales teams, product development, marketing and service teams. The tool also supplies users with advanced analytics and reporting capabilities, enabling sales performance tracing across multiple channels. It also monitors key metrics so you can make informed, data-driven decisions related to pricing, inventory optimization and production schedules.
Efficient Supply Chain Management
Salesforce enables efficient supply chain management to track orders from start to finish while also connecting with suppliers and partners, facilitating smoother collaboration throughout the entire process. This function helps eliminate manual processes that slow down operations and allows quick identification of problems or delays before becoming costly mistakes.
Finally, Salesforce offers warehouse management capabilities that allow users to track inventory levels in real time while managing orders through automated processes such as pick, pack, ship and deliver functions.
How an Implementation Partner Increases the Value of Salesforce
So far, we have explored the suite of Salesforce products that can help transform business operations and the benefits manufacturing companies gain from these solutions. Generally speaking, a “turnkey” or “plug-and-play” solution does not exist. Every company has unique business processes and system requirements. The Salesforce products we reviewed above are a great starting point, but you will only realize the tool’s true value through customizations and a Salesforce expert’s guidance.
Here are some things you can do when you partner with a Salesforce vendor.
Create Customizable Solutions
As I mentioned, Salesforce offers pre-configured solutions that allow manufacturing companies to get started on the platform. An implementation partner with manufacturing experience will tailor the platform to meet the company’s needs. This tailored plan offers greater flexibility and control over the user experience and helps ensure scalability and efficiency.
One of the most popular challenges we’ve seen manufacturing companies encounter relates to annual planning. Almost all the manufacturers we have worked with do not follow a typical 12-month fiscal or calendar year. Many follow a 13-period calendar, which is not inherently configured in Salesforce. This calendar poses a data alignment issue for many companies. Through creative configurations, certified developers and administrators can provide customized solutions to increase report reliability.
Apply Automation Capabilities
Salesforce’s automation capabilities enable manufacturers to automate many processes, such as customer service, sales processes, technical support and marketing campaigns. However, every manufacturing company is unique and often needs additional customizations to streamline processes. Salesforce Solution Architects can marry defined business requirements with Salesforce automation tools to design robust, reusable and scalable automation. This can help to streamline operations, reduce costs and improve ROI.
Integrate with Other Platforms
Most manufacturing companies we have worked with already have multiple technical systems to support their business operations. These include an ERP system and a financial reporting system, among other things.
We have even worked with global companies with different technical resources conducting the same processes throughout the organization. They all had one common pain point. They needed to access and analyze the data in one central system. They all wanted to have that 360-degree view of the customer.
With the support of an integrations specialist, Salesforce customers may gain the technical ability to incorporate important data within their existing systems with robust workflows and take advantage of the dynamic analytics on the Salesforce platform. This process makes transferring data across multiple channels easier, ensuring that information is up-to-date and accurate.
Institute Robust Security
Salesforce takes data security very seriously and provides robust tools to help keep manufacturers’ systems secure. This security includes multi-factor authentication, encryption, customizable access controls and other built-in measures to protect customer data. The app market has a lot of tools to enhance security and data integrity. Many companies engage with a Salesforce partner to determine the right solution, configure company-specific security settings, and develop a strategy to enforce user engagement.
Prepare for Scalability
As manufacturers expand and grow, Salesforce can scale with them. You or your vendor should configure customizations so you can easily reconfigure them to match process enhancements. This step ensures you have the tools and resources to operate at peak performance. It also helps to reduce operational costs by eliminating the need for separate software packages when expanding operations.
For many manufacturing companies today, embracing digital transformation is essential to remaining competitive in a rapidly changing landscape. Leveraging Salesforces’s suite of products and a strong implementation partner with industry-specific experience provides you with powerful, customized tools to help you accelerate your business goals.
This suite creates efficiencies throughout the entire organization and ultimately delivers better experiences for end customers along every step of your journey.