July 1 by Alex Mera

Manufacturing companies are subject to constant changes that are influenced by market pressures like global competition, market demand changes, regulatory compliance, changing material and wage costs. These market pressures drive new business priorities like improved product innovation, better resource utilization, and improved channel collaboration. The new business priorities drive company-wide (and sometimes industry wide) initiatives like Lean initiatives, Agile manufacturing, Kaizen projects, or in some regions like Germany, it’s “Industrie 4.0”.


Industrie 4.0 is the German vision for the future of manufacturing that is beginning to resonate with manufacturers around the world. It’s one where smart factories use information and communications technologies to digitize their processes in order to improve quality, lower costs, and increase efficiency. Whether it’s Lean Manufacturing, Agile Manufacturing or Industrie 4.0, all of these initiatives at its core relate to the manufacturers need to adapt quickly. Constant change demands agility and adaptability and now best in class manufacturers are turning to “Inquire-to-Order” or “Quote-to-Order” solutions born in the cloud to improve their operational sales efficiency and customer experience across channels.

Here are 3 reasons why manufacturers are turning the Cloud into their competitive advantage:

Increase Sales Productivity and Reduce Operational Costs

2014-12-Life-of-Pix-free-stock-photos-building-work-site-leeroyThe proliferation of channels and the complexity of product configurations have made sales reps increasingly less productive. Most sales reps have to navigate multiple screens to solve a customer’s problem and search across multiple sources to issue a quote because of siloed systems that support these channels including multiple knowledge bases. With born in the cloud technology, companies can simplify the order capture and fulfilment of complex products: create bundles, options, accessories and sub-assemblies and manage pricing hierarchies and tiers across multiple partners and regions. Sales and channel reps can quote anytime, anywhere, from any device. Automated workflows convert quotes into orders and contracts- reducing costly mistake and saving valuable time. Globally coordinated product and pricing ensure that the right quote information is given.

Create a Cost-Effective Consistent Experience Across Channels via e-Commerce

Customers get different answers and a different quality
of service depending on whe987_minther they call, email or go to your website. Business process like issuing a refund, closing an account, processing a return etc. can be frustrating and leads to fragmented customer and channel experiences.

The cloud helps companies to more effectively drive revenue by improving multi-channel performance. Whether it’s through E-commerce, mobile, social, or tele-sales, partners are connected natively to CRM cloud data that is connected to order, contracts, and revenue management.

Improved Customer Experiences Leads to Increased Customer Satisfaction


86% of customers say they will stop doing business with a vendor after 1 bad experience. In today’s globally competitive marketplace, providing outstanding service and a superior customer experience is becoming necessary to retain customers and acquire new ones.

The cloud helps improve customer retention and partner loyalty: Customers and Partners can easily understand and track contractual obligations, products and prices, submit third part sales with visibility to all necessary, real-time data and information on each opportunity. The cloud provides a modern platform that companies can use to collaboratively solve or escalate any issues and will provide customers with the best service possible.


In this report, Forrester Research provides its analysis of changing buyer behaviors and B2B demands and reasons why B2B sellers struggle with the wrong people, process, and technology. You’ll also learn how leading companies have found the right mix of tools and technology to provide a seamless omnichannel buying experience.
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