Manufacturing businesses struggle with the Digital Economy
The Digital Economy is based on digital computing technologies and is characterized by three main components:
- Digital business infrastructure (hardware, software, etc.)
- Digital business (how the business is conducted),
- Digital commerce (also known as e-commerce where manufacturing products are sold online).
We understand that SMEs in the manufacturing, engineering, and high-tech industries struggle to keep up with the digital economy due to the nature of their businesses. Their product, solution, and/or service portfolio is often complex.
Product catalogs can 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 seems far from reality.
Manage your manufacturing complexity, while giving your customers the simplest way to buy. Download the Manufacturing Commerce Playbook to find out how!
How does the sales process look like in manufacturing businesses
For B2C businesses, e-commerce opens the door to the digital economy. But in manufacturing industries, the sales process is way more complex. For B2C companies, active product marketing and lead generation are focal points that can be facilitated using webshop concepts.
In manufacturing, the Request for Proposal (RFQ) or Quote remains the cornerstone of selling products or solutions—and is the foundation of business success.
Instead of customers browsing through online catalogs to find the desired product, sales reps are forced to deal with Excel lists, and dig through ERP data to perform the crucial process of configuration, pricing and quoting (CPQ).
There are multiple risks when performing the CPQ process manually:
- 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 urgent reasons to participate in the digital economy—like high competition and slim margins—e-commerce can seem out of reach for manufacturers.
Digital Economy – Out of reach for Manufacturing and Engineering industries?
The struggles of an error-prone and complex sales process—originating from a configurable product landscape with hundreds of BOM (Bill of Material) items and a complicated cost structure—have been constant in the past.
But today, technology and innovations big data management, semantic web, and analytics can turn into a lifeline for the manufacturing and engineering industries.
A smart Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) system embedded in a digital sales platform can offer chances for even small or medium manufacturing businesses to overcome their challenges:
- Increase revenue prediction accuracy with precise, real-time sales forecasts and analytics insights.
- Mitigation of sales risks through easy configuration and accurate costing of professional proposals.
- Accelerating and simplifying RFQ collaboration.
- And of course, increase of revenue via profitable RFQs and quotes.
Moreover, having a highly effective and efficient digitalized sales process in place—through a robust digital sales platform—provides manufacturers the foundation needed to enter the digital economy. Together with our customers, we have developed sales portals and digital commerce solutions for resellers and customers. In all of these solutions, our powerful leading-edge CPQ serves as the backbone.
Through these solutions, they can configure desired solutions online, receive cost estimates, and request quotations quickly and easily. The sales portal concept features step-by-step user guidance, paired with smart product recommendations—making it a viable tool that manufacturers can use to compete successfully in the global market.
Singapore has realized that digital technology has the potential to transform businesses, large and small, across its economy. It has put programs like SMEs Go Digital in place to help SMEs tap on that potential.
The manufacturing and engineering industries are struggling with outdated sales processes. This factor can make it seem like the fast-moving and consumer-driven digital economy led by e-commerce is out of reach for business in these industries.
But today’s technological innovations can help them. An industry-specific Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) system embedded in a digital sales platform can serve as as a backbone for a powerful digital commerce storefront.
The resulting front-facing system 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, these industries are now starting to leverage these technologies for better business results. The Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) has increased its efforts to create roadmaps for operations and technology.
The Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) is also delivering great support for Manufacturing SMEs who want to enter the digital economy. With the latest innovations in the field of CRM, CPQ, Commerce, paired with current government initiatives, manufacturing companies in Singapore are presented with a promising opportunity to tackle their challenges in global markets.
Read our free guide on how to get your manufacturing commerce store up and running fast. You can also download the full Manufacturing Commerce Playbook for offline reading, or build a case for investing in digital commerce.