With less than a month until the end of the fiscal year, it is crucial for manufacturers to ensure that they end the year on a high note, mirroring industry expectations. This includes ensuring productivity levels stay high, overhead costs stay low, and that your allocated budget is used to maximise revenue in preparation for the next fiscal year.
Q4 is interesting from a budgeting point of view, especially, as frugal budgeting measures in the first 3 quarters of the year can lead to a surplus that needs to be used within Q4. This isn’t indicative of poor budgeting; in fact, it’s an opportunity for manufacturers to use that excess budget to lock down measures for the next year.
At the same time, as salespeople try to meet their sales targets for the year, discounts are aplenty, leading to an abundance of favours, so to speak, for the manufacturer. However, this doesn’t mean that you should spend your budget on any little thing that catches your fancy; your focus should be on tools that can improve process, and move your business ahead of competitors, especially in the realm of Industry 4.0. IoT, AI, Machine Learning, Automation…these are all Smart Manufacturing tools that you should be considering.
CPQ: The Crucial Sales Automation Tool
One more tool you should be signing on the dotted line for this Q4? A Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) solution. A good CPQ solution, especially a Cloud-based one, is a great start for manufacturers who want to implement automation. By starting with a product that you already own (your ERP system, whether on SAP or otherwise) and integrating with a CPQ solution to provide more user-friendly solutions, you won’t have to overhaul your processes on the factory floor.
Invest in a suitable CPQ solution, one that’s optimised to help your salespeople create more accurate quotes. By creating a bridge between your CRM and your ERP, you can make the long, drawn-out process that is quoting, more efficient. Your sales team can save time that’s wasted waiting for approvals, engineering input, and supply numbers, while your engineering team will be able to add their input smoothly and all involved parties may easily access the finalised quotation, ergo production data through the ERP.
What’s In The Pipeline
CPQ has quite a long sales lead time. This is because most manufacturers keep a tight hold on their budget from Q1 to Q3, in case of emergencies. So, while you might have been reading up about CPQ for a few months, it might have seemed too early in the year to invest in one.
Q4 has always been suitable for long-gestating purchases, those that you’ve been keeping your eye on for a while, from software upgrades to updates. Considering that CPQ is an upgrade in comparison to current sales processes, it makes sense to relook at a CPQ solution in Q4, when you have more bandwidth to look closely at integration types and case scenarios.
Long-Term Benefits For Your Revenue
Is your business competitive now? And what can you do to start off a new year right? Considering that a CPQ spans front and back office, it can lead to long-term benefits like better productivity, better time management, and in the end, a boost in revenue.
Learn about how a CPQ solution can help you by watching our 2-minute explainer video!