A recent study by IBM revealed that 92% of manufacturers are now focused on improving operational efficiency. While this goal is—and should be—on every manufacturer’s agenda, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the urgency to make full use of every minute, cent, and resource.
To cope with global disruption, manufacturers are increasingly adopting smart manufacturing. The goal here is to use data to move fast and respond quickly to changes in market conditions or customer demand. Today, 67% of manufacturers have accelerated their IT adoption plans. In a separate survey by Deloitte, 62% of manufacturers are accelerating smart manufacturing technology adoption.
Manufacturing businesses like yours have already embarked on a digitalization journey towards becoming a smart manufacturer.
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Smart manufacturing beyond the factory floor and ERP
Many businesses are not fully aware of how their smart manufacturing capabilities can still be hindered. To realize the full potential of smart manufacturing, you should look beyond upgrading the factory floor and backend ERP systems. One powerful option is digitalizing front-end processes like your sales capabilities. By digitalizing manufacturing sales, your business can tap on its potential to deliver the promised results of smart manufacturing. Imagine your business turning live business data from your ERP into tangible value—operational efficiency, customer growth, and customer retention.
Your ERP plays a central role in running the business. However, the data it contains is immensely dense. And while the data is essential, not all of it is relevant to your customer. Manually extracting useful data from it can be labor-intensive. Your sales reps would be better off doing what they do best—sell. A digital sales platform extracts, organize, and adds value to the data. It is a bridge that connects your smart manufacturing business to your customers.
But what makes digital sales indispensable for manufacturers is the two-way communication between the ERP and your customers. Customers buy using real-time prices at the best possible margins, while order data is fed directly back to the ERP to ensure optimized production. This level of transparency impacts the entire business—from quotation to production, fulfillment, and even aftersales.
Digital sales powers smart manufacturing
A digital sales platform comprises elements that are not new to the manufacturing industry. What is new, however, is how each component works seamlessly with one another, your ERP, and your manufacturing complexities. A digital sales platform takes a customer-centric approach and perfectly matches each touchpoint in your customers’ journeys.
Here is a brief explanation of how it encompasses the entire customer journey from start to finish.
- Simplifies complex ERP data to facilitate customer engagement
- Error-free quotes in minutes to reach customers faster
- Ensure the business is aligned and ready before production starts
- Single source of truth for faster opportunity identification
- Automates tedious administration work to enhance sales agility
- Accurate forecasting for faster response to demand spikes
- Provides 24/7 self-serve access to the entire business
- Constantly updated with the latest product information
- Powerful digital channel that enables automated buying
Conclusion: Smart Manufacturing is a growth initiative
In today’s context, smart manufacturing is more than just an Industry 4.0 buzzword. It is a critical step for manufacturers in pursuit of efficiency and growth. But smart manufacturing does not result in a smart business by default. Becoming a smart manufacturer means your customer-facing processes need to keep up. Digitalizing sales is your next logical step.
With digital sales, your smart manufacturing systems get the intelligence needed to perform at their peak. At the same time, your customers connect with your business better. Getting new customers becomes easier while keeping old ones even more so.