Budget 2017: Singapore To Help SMEs To Go Digital And Embrace Innovation
Leveraging digital technology and embracing innovation are the key capabilities for businesses to stay competitive and grow, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his Budget 2017 speech on Monday (20 Feb 2017). The speech led up to the announcement of the SMEs Go Digital Programme that aims to help SMEs in Singapore to participate in the Digital Economy and leverage data as an asset.Manufacturing businesses struggle with the Digital Economy
The Digital Economy is defined as an economy that is based on digital computing technologies and is characterized by three main components:
- e-business infrastructure (hardware, software, etc.)
- e-business (how the business is conducted),
- e-commerce (transfer of goods, for example when a manufacturing product is sold online).
We understand that especially SMEs in the manufacturing, engineering and high-tech industries struggle in keeping up with the digital economy due to the nature of their businesses. Their product, solution and/or service portfolio is often complex and sales catalogs consist of hundreds or thousands of products, materials or components. Engineer-to-order scenarios dictate the sales process and the digital economy or e-commerce seem far from reality.
How does the sales process looks like in manufacturing businesses
In B2C businesses building the matching IT infrastructure with a webshop opens the door to participate in the digital economy via e-commerce. But in manufacturing industries the sales process is way more complex. For B2C companies, active product marketing and lead generation are focus points, which can be well facilitated through webshop concepts. In the mentioned industries, the Request for Proposal (RFQ) or Request for Information (RFI) remains the cornerstone of selling products and therewith basis of the business success.
Instead of customers browsing through web catalogs to find the desired product, sales reps are forced to deal with Excel, Word and Outlook or ERP to perform the crucial process of configuration, pricing and quoting (CPQ).
The risks of manually performed CPQ tasks is long:
- Configuration errors caused by a lack of centralized and up-to-date product data,
- Inaccurate costing and pricing resulting in margin depletion,
- Months-long sales cycles with a significant lack of customer satisfaction and declining retention rates.
Despite claiming flagship reasons to participate in the digital economy, like high competition in the market and slim margins, it seems that e-commerce is simply out of reach for manufacturing.
Digital Economy – Out of reach for Manufacturing and Engineering industries?
The struggles of the error prone and complex sales process originating in a configurable product landscape with hundreds of BOM (Bill of Material) items and a complicated cost structure have been insuperable in the past. But today’s technology and innovations in areas of big data management, semantic web and analytics can turn the page for manufacturing and engineering industries.
A smart Configure Price Quote (CPQ) system embedded in a right-sized CRM solution can offer chances for even small or medium manufacturing businesses to overcome their challenges:
- Increase revenue prediction via sales forecasts and analytics insights.
- Sales risks mitigation via accurate costing and configuration and professional proposals.
- Accelerating and simplifying RFQ collaboration.
- And of course, the increase of revenue via profitable RFQs and quotes.
Moreover, having a highly effective and efficient sales process support in place with a CRM and embedded CPQ system, provides the basis for entering the digital economy.
Together with our customers, we have developed sales portal solutions where a strong CPQ engine serves as the backbone for re-sellers or customers. They can configure their desired solution online, receive a cost estimate and inquire the respective quotation fast and easily. Step-by-step user guidance, paired with smart product recommendations, the sales portal concept is a viable chance for manufacturing industries to compete in global markets and increase their revenue.
Singapore has realized that digital technology has unique potential to transform businesses, large and small, across the economy. It has put programs like SMEs Go Digital in place to help SMEs tap on that potential.
For manufacturing and engineering industries, the struggles of the error prone and complex sales process, originating in a configurable product portfolio, combined with a complicated cost structure are highly relevant. It seems that the fast and consumer-driven digital economy with e-commerce is simply out of reach.
But today’s technology and innovations in areas of big data management, semantic web and analytics can turn the page for manufacturing and engineering industries. A smart Configure Price Quote (CPQ) system embedded in a right-sized CRM solution as a backbone of a sales portal can empower manufacturing industries to overcome their challenges of slim margins and high competition in global markets.
With manufacturing and engineering as the key pillars of Singapore’s economy, the next steps towards leveraging these technologies are now being taken for these industries. The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has increased its efforts to create roadmaps for operation and technology. The Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) and its Digital Commerce Interest Group is also delivering great support for Manufacturing SMEs who want to enter the Digital Economy.
With the latest innovations in the field of CRM and CPQ and the current government initiatives, manufacturing companies in Singapore are presented with a promising opportunity to tackle their challenges in global markets.
Support resources for Manufacturing, Engineering, High-Tech SMEs in Singapore, looking to go digital:
In Mind Cloud Sales Portal Solutions for Manufacturing & Engineering industries
|Singapore Manufacturing Federation supports Manufacturing SMEs and has founded the Digital Commerce Interest Group (DCom) under the Electrical & Electronics and Allied Industries (EEAI) Industry Group. If you are interested to join Digital Commerce Interest Group or are seeking their support, join via their website.|
|A*STAR’s newly launched ACCM Collaborative Commerce Marketplace serves as a portal to foster business partnerships and connect technology buyers with suppliers and is clearly something Singapore's Manufacturing industry has been waiting for.
What is A*STAR Collaborative Commerce Marketplace (ACCM) about?
What are the benefits of ACCM?
In Mind Cloud, an expert for CRM with embedded CPQ and Sales Portal Solutions for Manufacturing, has come on board ACCM. Come join In Mind Cloud and register your company online for free today with just six simple steps at accm.a-star.edu.sg.