The term Industry 4.0 (or Industrie 4.0, if you’re looking for the original), has been around since the Hannover Messe in 2011, but many manufacturers are still trying to wrap their minds around what it means for them. After all, hasn’t computing, programs, and automation been par for the course in production for years? How would this new wave of digitalisation differ?
When it comes to the competitive world of manufacturing sales, there are two factors that can affect your quote-to-close rates: speed of response, and accuracy of quote. Let us look at the first point, one that can plague many manufacturers with complex configurations and calculations.
In the last 10 years since cloud computing has emerged, industries and business, from Manufacturing to Finance, from B2C to B2B, have all jumped onto the cloud computing bandwagon (for good reason). Cloud solutions, from Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud to our own Cloud CPQ Express, have taken over the world, allowing for quick distribution and sharing of resources over the internet, regardless of geographical boundaries.
We’re not in the business of looking back; as a software company focusing on Configure-Price-Quote solutions, our business thrives on looking forward, especially in the realm of Industry 4.0. We’re always working on the next release or a new way to serve our customers better. At the same time, with IoT, AR, and more innovations popping up each day, we can’t help but take notice. As we move into 2018, let’s look back at 3 pieces of news in December that caught our attention.
In case you missed it, Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB), in partnership with TÜV SÜD, has released a Smart Industry Readiness Index, one that aims to help Manufacturing businesses become Industry 4.0-ready. Taking reference from the Reference Architectural Model for Industry 4.0 (RAMI 4.0) developed by Plattform Industrie 4.0, the whitepaper and Index aims to help Manufacturing businesses become Industry 4.0-ready by providing guidelines for self-assessment and steps for improvement.
When it comes to industries such as Contract manufacturing or the Engineering-to-order (ETO) and Manufacturing-to-order (MTO) industries, the phrase ‘create a quotation’ can lead to weeks of work in complex product configurations, in some cases for customers who might not even end up giving them the project.
Sales is a tough job. They need to chase prospects or handle accounts, pitch products and solutions against competitors, and then negotiate prices to make the right person sign on the dotted line. This process itself can take weeks and often months.
Now imagine that your product isn’t one single item, but is millions of tiny pieces that make up one product. Or that your offered product doesn't even exist yet and you have to figure out how to best serve your customer whilst keeping profitability in mind.
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.
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.