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.
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.
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.
The word cloud has become one of the most important buzzwords in technology of the last years: if you type “cloud technology” into Google, your search will have over 130 million results. The worldwide public cloud service market will grow to approximately $247 billion this year according to the Information-technology research firm Gartner. Do you need more proof?
Navigating through the day to day workings of a manufacturing business can be both exhausting and debilitating. Trying to avoid any additional costs and risks to these slim margins, the inevitable long cycle times and a sales process so disconnected from your manufacturing operations, you wonder if you are living in the stone age.