The UK manufacturing sector faces a host of challenges, ranging from COVID-19 and the resulting economic downturn, to the emergence of overseas low-cost competitors and an increased emphasis on creating a sustainable supply chain.
These ever-changing market demands are driving firms to look for new ways to innovate and build resilience through the introduction of new technology and working practices.
With smart factories becoming increasingly common, digital transformation has now reached the manufacturing front office and commercial team, with a growing number turning to customer relationship management (CRM) in the search for greater revenue through more effective sales and marketing, cost reduction through greater operational efficiency, and improved collaboration throughout the business.
The latest insights on how manufacturers can use CRM to build resilience in an ever-changing, ever more competitive world read our new whitepaper
Digital transformation is now a major driver for change within manufacturing and the current crisis has accelerated the need to change, particularly around teams needing better ways to collaborate and share customer information, especially when working remotely.
Supply lines have been disrupted and manufacturers are looking for ways to manage the risk within their supply chains more effectively. Remote working for front office staff has also promoted the need for shared digital sources of information. Shift working on production floors has presented significant organisational challenges and technology is providing solutions to all.
Above all else, a growing number of manufacturers are recognising the competitive advantage they can gain from a deeper understanding of their customers, understanding sales history and being able to view their customer’s research behaviour online provides the ideal platform for cross-selling products or services.
As a result, manufacturers today are placing a greater focus on the relationships they have with both customers and suppliers and the more mature are already making the shift from being production to customer centric.
Manufacturers need to balance their production needs with their ability to manage and measure customer experience.
CRM is a critical enabler of this evolution, and depending on whether you use it stand-alone, with a regular data feed or a full integration with ERP it can deliver deep insights from both sales and production data which can help you to identify trends, learn more about your customer priorities and inform future product and service offerings.
CRM provides three key optimisation benefits to manufacturers:
- Improves the return on investment in sales and marketing
- Enhances customer experience and enabling servitisation
- Streamlines business operations, integrates with existing accounting software and ERP to provide business insights from data
There is a lot which manufactures can gain from a CRM implementation, but there are many considerations and questions to ask as you decide which solution would be the best fit.
With markets, and indeed the world, set to be ever more unpredictable in the months and years ahead CRM will provide the information and clarity to help you to attract and retain customers, and then to deliver to them more profitably.
For a more in-depth look at how manufacturers can use CRM to build resilience in an ever-changing, ever more competitive world read our new whitepaper.
*All images courtesy of Shutterstock