Digitization of the manufacturing industry: Your basis for an optimal start

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Create the optimal digitization basis now! And do it without blowing your budget. Find out exactly how in our article. Read now!

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Short and sweet

Industry 4.0 and digitization – two topics that companies in the manufacturing industry cannot avoid these days. But does it always have to be a year-long digitization project that goes beyond the budget? We say: No! An optimal basis that is implemented correctly and quickly and then expanded is the right way to go. We show you what this basis should contain. 

The base

No company has been able to escape digitization and Industry 4.0 in recent years. The fundamental question is: What can the basis of digitization in the manufacturing industry look like, and what tangible benefits can it bring? This and much more is what we would like to share with you in this article. The present of the industry is digital and will become much more digital in the future. Manufacturing companies are facing major challenges. Because digital business models and digital working are more important than ever for a sustainable business orientation. 

A wide variety of issues collide here: increasing productivity pressure meets the need to ensure digital sustainability, and this in turn meets outdated structures, complex IT landscapes and a lack of skills in these areas that do not contribute to long-term sustainable problem-solving. 

However, digitization in the manufacturing industry does not just mean getting an ERP system. This misconception is simply wrong! ERP systems are focused on the company itself and its internal business processes. Whereas CRM systems focus on the management of external contacts and information: i.e. on digitization in sales, service, marketing and much more. 

What do you need besides an ERP system?

The CRM system: definition & benefits 

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) first describes the totality of all measures used to shape relationships with existing and potential customers. A CRM system is a software program for the central management of customer data and the essential tool for implementing a successful CRM strategy. It can be connected to all systems of the company, e.g. to the ERP system, and thus serves as a uniform data source. Such ERP integration unifies all processes, prevents silo thinking and gives you the opportunity to fully exploit the potential of both systems. 

The goal of digitization by means of a CRM system is to link all departments and processes with each other in order to increase productivity and efficiency. The right basis is the be-all and end-all here. Once this is solid and stable, it can be expanded at will. There is no need for a long-term project with millions of euros in budget behind it. 

But what do you get out of it? To keep it short - the benefits of CRM systems are endless, but the most important advantage for you is: Optimized sales and service processes for increased productivity and quality bring more revenue in the long term. For your customers, it is clearly the increased satisfaction and loyalty to your company due to these optimized processes. 

Companies often ask themselves whether they should rely on on-premise or cloud CRM systems. We would like to make a clear case for the cloud solution here - and not just any cloud solution! 

Salesforce – the No. 1 CRM system  

As the world's leading CRM solution, Salesforce is shifting its focus away from a pure CRM system to a holistic cloud software provider. The Salesforce product can be understood as an ecosystem of software applications that offers a solution for almost all problems within a company. At its core, Salesforce is a CRM system, whereby the name Salesforce is used here for the entirety of the software applications offered, such as Sales, Service or Marketing Cloud. 

Salesforce is for truly any industry and any size company, and it's the right solution for you to venture into the cloud and complete enterprise digitization.

Why digitization is so important in the manufacturing industry

But now let's take another step back. Ask yourself why digitization is so important, especially in manufacturing? Everything has worked well up to now – so why change anything now? This question is justified, but it can be answered quite simply and quickly. 

The industrial value chain has been in a state of flux for several years now, with everything from customer behavior to market access changing. In the process, the cloud is opening the way to an industrial future whose success depends on accelerated growth, networked products and services, and cost efficiency. Silo thinking, lengthy processes and cumbersome communication channels between departments are currently still preventing many manufacturing companies from gaining momentum. 

But the industry is in a state of upheaval. Industry 4.0 is more than just an oft-heard trendy word because the fourth industrial revolution is already turning product and production landscapes upside down. Customers expect a seamless customer experience, smooth service, and state-of-the-art, personalized products and services. And this by means of process optimization, by linking the value chain, seamless internal cooperation/collaboration and with simply the best CRM system. 

We are now focusing on digitizing the sales and service departments. Because this is where we see the greatest potential for the manufacturing industry to become (even) more digital. With the Salesforce CRM system as a basis, the foundation has been laid – time to scale up, bring your sales and service departments up to speed, and thus get right to the front in the long term! 

Digitization in sales 

Step number one for your digitalization in sales is to bring your customer database into the CRM system. This data migration forms the basis of any digital sales process. Companies often assume that digital sales only consists of a digital customer database. But this is wrong: what is meant is the digitization of the entire sales process - of which the customer database is by all means the most important part. But that's not the end of the story. In the next step, you build your further work and further processes on that database. The simple motto here is: no data, no process. 

This is because CRM solutions serve not only as contact management, but also as overall sales support. Well over half of German companies also see their CRM system as a customer-oriented corporate strategy. This change in thinking must also take place at your company. 

Now it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty! What do you need in digital sales? 

#1 Our sales template offers you the possibility to present the entire sales process clearly and holistically. The cost-effective package, which can be installed in just two weeks, offers you the optimal basis for a digital sales process. Read now everything you need to know about the module Sales process want to know

#2 You also need a segmentation function: Your sales department must be able to immediately recognize whether an order belongs to a specific sales territory and/or to a specific customer group. A 360-degree documentation of all offers, products and conditions is essential for this. This also increases the speed of your employees. Efficient order management thus ensures greater productivity and ultimately increases customer satisfaction. 

#3 Another important building block for your digital sales is visit reports. From now on, your sales representatives only need one thing for appointments: their mobile device with the Salesforce visit report! We explain in detail how the module Visit report works and how it can help your sales force. Read now!

#4 Leveraging Data - This is often easier than you might imagine. Reports and dashboards represent the analytical side of the Salesforce CRM system. They are used to transform business requirements into visual representations such as charts, tables, scatter plots, gauges, metrics, funnel plots, etc. With just a few clicks, you can create them and share them in real time with other employees or customers - complete transparency! 

#5 Integrations: Pretty much anything is possible here! With email integration, you continue to use your familiar email application. No one has to change their work habits, so productivity isn't affected by changeovers - whether you want to integrate Outlook, Gmail, or the like. With computer telephony integration, or CTI for short, in Salesforce, you can make your employees' workflows much more efficient and flexible, even if your contacts change and you have a large number of customers to serve. Microsoft Teams integration is also possible. Teams cannot replace Salesforce, however, as it is a chat-based workspace in Office 365 that allows users to collaborate on documents, hold voice and video conferences, and view chat transcripts. This is therefore not a CRM system! Integration makes sense because it allows Salesforce records to be shared in Teams channels and chat conversations, eliminating the need to switch between applications. 

So far, so good. Now you can learn how manufacturing companies can achieve greater customer proximity and satisfaction through digitization and automation in service. 

Digitization in service

Digitized service holds incredible opportunities and new ways to increase sales, especially in the area of manufacturing. Complaint processes, for example, are often highly complex, communication is unnecessarily long - the right tool for automation is missing. 

Shorten with the right tools now Your service response time, design your customer service uncompromisingly digital and seamlessly pull your strategy through to the field. The opportunities and benefits are almost endless! You can now find out which building blocks make up a digital service for the manufacturing industry and an excerpt of what you can map with Salesforce for the service department. 

This is the starting signal for your new customer service! 

#1 Digitize your entire Service process and thus lay the foundation for many other sub-processes. All inquiries are first entered into a system via the desired channels. Depending on the know-how and expertise of the employees, the inquiries are then distributed and, if necessary, automatically forwarded to the field service. This is how efficient Case Management!

#2 A small part of the service process is the Warranty process. Get a complete overview of all warranty requests, repairs and complaints. The conditions of warranty or service cases are automatically checked by the system, reducing the workload of your employees and allowing you to track all processes transparently.

#3 Have you already familiarized yourself with the term Multi- or omni-channel dealt with? If not, you should. After all, service requests from customers don't always reach your employees through the same channels. With Salesforce, you have all service requests bundled in one system. Automatic assignments and forwarding if necessary to field service are just some of the ways you can take your service to the next level and increase customer satisfaction. 

#4 Imagine your Field Service would be equipped with tablets, so that the steps and materials consumed, which are necessary for the Execution of the service activity were required, merge in one report let. Read about how exactly the Salesfive Service Report can make that possible.

#5 Now we come to the Complaint process. Through effective and well-structured complaints management, you can ensure the satisfaction of your customers, even if they decide against your products. This promotes customer loyalty in the long term and has an impact on your company's market position. More about the Complaint process.

Where to start?

If you are now asking yourself the question "Where to start?", then we can reassure you. Because we are specialists in this field. We have made it our business to accompany you on your way to becoming a digital manufacturing company, and we are your partner every step of the way until you reach your goal. Mith the help of the Salesforce modules, we keep the implementation effort as low as possible.

Find out what other Salesforce modules are out there that could benefit your business here, or let us arrange a first meeting and we will show you what is possible. 

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Your contact for all inquiries relating to digitization

Florian Gehring

Managing Director & Co-Founder