June 10 by Zack Alspaugh
The Manufacturing State of the Union
We are seeing a pivotal transformation across the manufacturing and industry verticals. IDC has a study that says, companies are now investing 25-30% of their total budget to better understand how to leverage cloud and digital technology in both their sales and service systems.
Going full tilt is Germany, which believes this transformation is the spur of the world’s Fourth Industrial Revolution, (Industrie 4.0). The German government is investing €200m to ignite Industrie 4.0 research across government, academia, and business.
It all really begins with a small device you incessantly use, your smartphones. The rise in mobile capabilities has forever changed the demands of all customers across all industries. Traditional B2B businesses are being asked to change the way they think, execute, and interact with customers – essentially to function more like B2C companies.
Speed to market is what customers expect. When you send sales reps out to talk to customers and configure a product, how quickly can they get to the correct information in the field, without having to take it back to the office and making your customer wait? If they can’t configure a product in the now, on a mobile device, in front of the customer, you aren’t delivering fast enough.
You can change the way you interact with customers, by changing the way you interact with technology.
Last month at Salesforce World Tour Chicago, Cindy Bolt, Salesforce’s SVP of Manufacturing Goods, posed a wax-on wax-off type philosophy about the gradual transformation: “Uber, is it a taxi company, or are they a logistics and transportation company? In the same sense, are you a manufacturer of a product or a service company? The short answer, you should be both.”
Making the Leap to the Cloud
The legacy systems manufacturing companies currently use to run business, the ERP systems, the PLM systems, the supply chain systems, are where you spend a bulk of your time and money. Yet, getting information out of those systems and into your reps’ hands in real-time isn’t possible.
We’ve all been through the highs and lows of implementations, and changing the way you use your technology seems like a daunting task. But companies that have made the leap are seeing real tangible results.
Rick Grubb, IT Leader for Global Sales and Marketing for GE Aviation, shared how GE is leveraging Salesforce to change how the company is engaging with their customers. By implementing an automated Configure Price Quote tool, he was able to drastically simplify and expedite the sales process for all of their reps. In the past they had to call HQ to get pricing information for complex jet engine configurations where a whole team was dedicated to manually configurating the deal for the rep in the field. Now, everything thing is done automatically from an iPad or mobile phone.
“Our approval processes have hundreds of rules in them. When you click the button, a possible 70K unique combinations appears– and it happens in seconds and it’s completely data driven. […] We’re talking about a 1000% increase in the delivery of a quote.”