Leverage CRM For Manufacturing: 3 Tips
As a manufacturing business, you may think that you don’t need CRM; whether you’re currently getting by on just an ERP system or (heaven forbid) mere Excel sheets. After all, CRM is for sales companies, and your focus needs to be on the quality of your product, right? However, there is a major flaw with this kind of thinking. After all, you make the best kind of product you can to keep your customers happy, and returning. Customer satisfaction should be one of the main priorities of your business model—and using CRM can help you improve upon it, and your manufacturing processes, tenfold. Still so the fence on the utility of CRM for manufacturing businesses?
Many manufacturing business approach customer service as a simple afterthought, sometimes at great detriment to their business. Your customer is your lifeblood after all, and your market strategy needs to reflect this. What’s more, the customer can be the greatest source of advice you need to strategically plan your production. To do this, you must leverage CRM for manufacturing processes within your business to truly take a hold of every aspect of your company, from the shop-floor to the sales floor. Here’s 3 more reasons why a CRM system could be vital to your manufacturing success.
Link Production With Customers
Properly integrated CRM should allow your customers a comprehensive and detailed insight onto your shop floor; a look into everything that goes into the product or service they are buying from you that can be facilitated by your skilled sales reps. Your team can trace the origin and life cycle of all the products being made on your shop floor and then utilize the CRM to communicate this data to your clients. For the modern, origin-conscious customer this kind of connectivity can be crucial for customer satisfaction and loyalty rates.
When you integrate your ERP with CRM for manufacturing processes, the true power of both pieces of software truly emerges. Potential and current customers can track when your products pass through certain stages of the manufacturing or shipping process so they can know exactly what’s happening when it comes to their order, and your sales people can communicate proposed production and shipment dates more accurately than ever.
Create a Sales-Focused Process
By storing and organizing all of your sales data in a single system, you can wield your CRM for manufacturing to become a lean enterprise; ruthlessly cutting waste in all aspects of your business, including production, storage and shipment. For example: a pull-scheduling system allows you to build your production and inventory in time with demand, pulling resources through the production process as they are needed rather than stockpiling them for rough predictions of demand.
The way to plan for demand and establish pull scheduling throughout your facility? A sophisticated and well-implemented CRM system. The software can compile reports on historical order and demand data for specific customers or the entire company; so that you can assign production lines and work hours for the times you need it the most, and prevent an overstock in your inventory when demand is lowered. Because CRM as a software is inherently focused on sales, demand and customer relationships you can refocus your shop floor operations with this crucial data in mind. This is when using CRM for manufacturing reveals it’s true value; providing a complete picture of your operations to potential and current clients and getting a total view of their activities in return.
Become an Interconnected Enterprise
Customer service portals allow your clients to interact directly with your shop floor team, and sales reps can facilitate relationships between production and customer-facing interactions, making your business stronger as a whole. Once you have organized and streamlined your processes to focus on the client and clear communication with them, customers will naturally be more satisfied with your services, and you can keep them returning. Your CRM allows you to store key contact information, sales data and purchase history so that you can run your manufacturing processes with a confident knowledge of demand and scheduling.
Furthermore, by implementing CRM and then integrating it with your enterprise management system, you can truly take hold of your business and it’s processes, and then leverage CRM for manufacturing greatness. The future of the manufacturer is that of the interconnected enterprise, and a business who doesn’t seek to implement a CRM and then integrate it with their ERP system risks falling behind.
Although CRM software might get its reputation as a tool primarily for sales teams or commercial companies, manufacturers can also take advantage of the system’s connective functionality and ability for stellar customer service to grow their business to new heights.
Installing and integrating front-facing software like CRM with your production and back-offices will give both business managers and stakeholders a 360-degree insight into your customers, the products they want, and how they are buying them—in real time. If that kind of information doesn’t seem valuable to you, I don’t know what will!
For advice on implementing or integrating CRM for manufacturing in your own business, or help deciding which CRM vendor would work best for you, talk to an expert at Datix today. We have over 18 years of experience in helping businesses implement enterprise software effectively and with great results.