In our last post, we explored in detail the costs of transforming manufacturing sales with off-the-shelf digital solutions. In summary, digitalizing the manufacturing sales process can cost you more than you would expect.
How can manufacturers reduce Total Cost of Ownership?
Digitalizing manufacturing sales comes at a cost. But you can aim to keep it as low as possible. Here are our top 5 recommendations to achieve faster time-to-value (TTV) and higher return-on-investment (ROI) when digitalizing manufacturing sales:
Find the perfect balance between profitability, customer satisfaction, and cost reduction. Download our new guide, "Accelerate Manufacturing Sales" to find out how!
Find a manufacturing-focused solution
The first thing manufacturers need to do, is to find manufacturing-focused digital sales solutions. This step means that the solution offered would have features that work for manufacturers out-of-the-box without costly and lengthy customization efforts. Look for solutions with capabilities that get your sales organization up and running immediately.
Digitalize the entire sales process on a single platform
Look at manufacturing sales digitalization from a holistic view. Address the entire sales process, not the gaps. This way, you can ensure a seamless buying experience. With a single platform, you eliminate the need to integrate multiple solutions and save on integration costs. Your sales platform can serve your end-to-end sales needs while drawing on a single data source—your ERP. This approach not only helps you save costs but helps manufacturers scale their sales organization fast.
Select vendors with manufacturing expertise
Vendors with experience in the manufacturing industry can deliver turnkey solutions that instantly fit your business. A good indicator of experience is the certifications they have. Certified vendors are often able to perform complex integration quickly with built-in “accelerators” or powerful APIs. Another benefit of partnering with Industry 4.0 technology vendors is that their solutions are purposefully built to turn manufacturing data into value.
Use cloud-based software-as-a-service solutions
Leading manufacturers are now reaping the rewards of their investment in cloud computing. Solutions built in the cloud deliver free software updates and are flexible enough to fit any IT environment. They are made to scale quickly alongside your growth. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) also lowers your capital expenditure costs like hardware, talent, security, backup and transfers it to your operating expenditure into monthly subscription fees.
Find the perfect-fit subscription plan
One of the most significant criticisms of off-the-shelf software providers is their complex price structure. The cost of entry is attractive, but as your business grows, so do your requirements—and costs. Adding more users, features, functions, and storage can cause your fees to skyrocket. By finding a vendor that provides a clearly defined fee structure (no minimum number of users, acceptable contract length, etc.), you can control your costs effectively.
Look for transparency in times of uncertainty
Investing in digital is a must in today’s digital economy. It is an opportunity that manufacturers must take to stay competitive or relevant. However, many manufacturers are hesitant to start digitalizing sales because of uncertainty.
They are not sure if their investments in digital technology will pay off. To further complicate things, many solutions available in the marketplace today have long lock-in periods.
Take 5-year software contracts, for example. If your software does not work for your business in the first year, you will have to continue paying for the next four years.
Here is another example. If the software you buy has long implementation times, your return-on-investment is stretched thin if it does not deliver value fast enough. If it does not return any value at all, you lose the capital expenditure.
To confidently invest in a complete digitalization solution, you need to clarify everything the solution provides: Costs, integration, implementation, deliverables. Finding a vendor that lays everything on the table is key to a successful digitalization initiative.
In the new digital economy, getting software—even enterprise-grade ones—needs to be as simple as subscribing to Netflix. Software that can provide fast TTV will not lock your business in with long contracts.
Look out for transparent pricing, manufacturing-focused capabilities, and avoid long contract periods. By going with our recommendations, you can easily find a low-risk solution you can implement and start using in weeks (or even days).
Find out how you can successfully digitalize the manufacturing sales process and achieve faster TTV and higher ROI. Start with our digital sales guide for manufacturing companies. You can also download the full guide for offline reading or use it to build a business case.