When it comes to Smart Manufacturing, or Industry 4.0, there’s always innovation happening around every corner in the manufacturing industry. Many large manufacturers have used Industry 4.0, from AR to IoT to Machine Learning, to streamline their businesses, increase productivity rates, and create brand new products. See our top 5 picks for innovations that you need to know about in December.
Choosing a Configure-Price-Quote solution is complex. Your manufacturing business might have already lost money on inaccurate quotes and RFQs lost to competitors; choosing the wrong CPQ provider can cost you more revenue.
The question of "How quickly can the CPQ solution be implemented?" can become a main decision driver for businesses in fast-paced environments. From our years of experience, we can tell you that it depends on 3 main questions.
The JPMorgan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) has steadily hovered above the 50 point mark (indicating expansion instead of contraction) in the last year. This month it has hit its highest since April 2011, at 53.5. This leaves the industry looking healthy for Q4, with many countries (including Singapore, Germany, and the United States) showing increased activity in the manufacturing sector.
How can your company get ahead of the competition, win more RFQs, get more business, and keep costs low? Well, unless your business has a very unique product, your opportunities lie with streamlining your processes and a profitable sales approach.
‘It takes too long to get a detailed RFQ! Your competitor quotes within hours instead of weeks.’
If this sounds familiar to you, then you need to re-evaluate your sales processes - urgently. Yes, a good product or attractive price for a manufacturing solution can help you close a quick deal. But ultimately customer satisfaction - even within the quoting phase - will define whether you retain them and get referral business. According to Zendesk, 62% of B2B customers purchased more after a good customer service experience, while 66% stopped buying after a bad customer service interaction. Which side would you want your business to be on?
Manufacturers today are facing several challenges around the revenue generating unit of their business: Sales. When your sales team’s job includes to calculate production costs, configure the right solution out of a million options and compile Bills of Material extending hundreds of posts, sales has transformed from a number into a data game.
CPQ - Configure Price Quote software - can be intensely beneficial to a sales team. The automation factor in quoting and proposal generation does not only save time, but helps cut down on costs of sales. Besides efficiency, a CPQ solution increases quote accuracy ensuring the profitability of quotes, especially for margin sensitive businesses. Certainly, these benefits are tremendous. But what really gives a CPQ the strength to transform the sales of a company is its ability to span front and back office.
In part 1 of this blog series, we already indentified 5 of the key indicators that your manufacturing business will benefit from sales automation in the form of a Configure Price Quote (CPQ) software.
The first set of questions that CEOs and business managers should ask themselves were:
1. Does the complexity of product configurations affect your margins?
2. Is pricing and product information from your ERP always available to sales?
3. Do your sales teams make costing and pricing errors?
4. Are your approval regulations increasing the length of the sales cycle?
5. Are your margins eaten up by real production costs later?
Businesses in manufacturing industries offering complex products or services to their customers often have 3 problems in common:
- The sales process is lengthy
- The complexity of the products or solutions offered, extends to the sales process itself
- Price calculations are difficult but require 100% accuracy due to slim margins
In the manufacturing sector, an abundance of challenges are constantly on the horizon and forcing businesses to find solutions. No matter the country or the different stages of the business journey, manufacturing firms share almost identical pain points and most importantly, the need to retain their revenue. What are these pain points you may wonder and how can you alleviate them? I could list them all out for you but let’s stick to three.
Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) recently released news regarding the Business Expectations of the Manufacturing Sector. Whilst these are generally on the positive end, we want to give you insights into how manufacturing businesses can amplify these effects via digitalizing their sales operations.