Manufacturing companies are always searching for a competitive advantage. It’s not just a common observation when one looks at successful manufacturing companies, it’s a necessity. With thin margins and fierce global competition, manufacturing companies have understandably embraced everything from Big Data and digital transformation to just-in-time and lean manufacturing principles in order to gain a crucial edge.
The real secret weapon of many successful manufacturing companies is the adaption and continual maintenance of a powerful CRM system. Even though this implementation doesn’t receive the same attention as topics like Big Data and digital transformations, CRM systems provide great value
to manufacturing companies. Implemented properly and regularly assessed to ensure that it can meet a company’s always evolving business priorities, CRM systems provide a level of visibility, accountability, and communication that manufacturers need in order to run efficiently, keep customers happy and win new business.
If you are a manufacturing company, here are four big reasons why a CRM should also be your secret weapon:
- Accurate Forecasts: Shifts in the tastes of consumers or gyrations in global economic conditions impact manufacturing companies immediately. Responding effectively to these inevitable changes is a basic reflection of the very purpose and mission of manufacturers. They need to make just the right amount of high-quality products to meet customer demands in the most economical and time-efficient manner possible. Accurate forecasting enabled by a powerful CRM helps manufacturers overcome this difficulty because it provides the visibility needed to always have the right amount of raw materials on hand in order to make the right type and number of products the market demands. This translates into fewer back orders and less waste, but also quicker turnaround times and the ability to respond quickly to changes in the marketplace. Additionally, when all the forecasting is available from anywhere, anytime using any device (like mobile phones, tablets & computers) it makes it simple and fast for managers and executives to access the information they need to make decisions that will have a meaningful impact on their business. Instead of being burdened by the carrying costs of too much inventory or lag times because you don’t have the material to fulfill orders, a powerful CRM can keep customers happy and your company efficient.
- Improved Relationships: When a manufacturing company’s sales or customer service team is able to respond to customer inquiries about the status of an order with quick and always accurate information from a CRM system, it will increase the trust of the customer on the manufacturer and will quickly help the manufacturer be seen as a trusted partner rather than a vendor. When sales, marketing, and support functions are automated via an integrated system it frees up more time for sales reps to cultivate the relationships they need to provide an accurate assessment of demand in the marketplace. More time to understand the marketplace and its demands also means that a manufacturer can better anticipate bubbling trends and develop plans that anticipate new developments. It also means that knowledge about a customer and a market can be used to improve a manufacturer’s marketing and customer support efforts thereby helping to streamline business operations, lower costs, and boost profits.
While trust in a manufacturer’s sales and customer service team is vital, complete transparency can be even more powerful. CRMs allow for the creation of customer portals that provide visibility into a manufacturer’s production process. A customer portal that provides up-to-date information on your business operations and helps you communicate with your customers and solve their issues, their confidence in you as a partner soars. Of course, the opposite is also true. When a manufacturer is vague, evasive, or just flat out wrong about the status of an order or where something is in the production process, their credibility is diminished. A CRM system helps prevent that.
- Better Short- and Long-Term Planning: Improved forecasting by powerful CRM systems can have a dramatic impact on a manufacturing company’s short and long-term production planning. Obviously, no two manufacturers are alike, but the ability to include highly accurate pipeline forecasts is a critical ingredient in making good long-term decisions about capacity. When manufacturers can combine historical and other data with CRM-aided forecasts, decisions about large capital investments in factory equipment can be made with more confidence. As short-term planning among manufacturers shrinks from anything less than a year to as little as a few months, accurate forecasting becomes increasingly important. Accurate and intelligent sales data means that orders of raw materials needed to make products quickly are tied to real-world conditions.
- Ensuring compliance: A CRM system that helps track customer behavior and preferences can be of great help to manufacturing companies. With the implementation of GDPR in the European Union, protection and correct usage of personal data are of utmost importance. Non-compliance of the GDPR personal data protection laws can amount to huge amounts of fines. To avoid this, powerful CRM systems allow your sales rep to capture when and how customer data should be used and also ensures that their personal data can be deleted on request. This ensures complete compliance with GDPR policies and helps manufacturing companies avoid huge fines.
If you wish to know more about how CRM systems can help manufacturing companies, please click here.