Companies that manufacture coated or laminated films and adhesives work in an industry that’s very familiar with customization.
No two clients have the same needs. In fact, a single client, say, an advertising agency, might have a need for films that can be printed with an advertising message and used as a bus or train wrap or for billboard advertising.
On the other hand, the healthcare industry needs adhesives that won’t pose a health risk when applied to skin but will remain in place as long as required.
Each application requires different materials and no job is ever quite the same.
Customization and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Customization is a hallmark of Industry 4.0, where manufacturers today are often required to implement specific methodologies into their process manufacturing to meet the changing requirements of their customers.
What successfully drives this customizing capability is often Information Technology. The ability to gather, track and analyze data is a powerful competitive advantage.
However, for FLEXcon, even though customization was “standard practice” on the shop floor, their business practices were built on a system that had grown inflexible over time and unable to provide management with the means to see data, let alone analyze it effectively.
Hardware Limitations Lead to Business Limitations
Gerent’s discovery process with FLEXcon unearthed some highly limiting and potentially damaging (to the business) aspects of its back room operations.
The company’s mainframe system suffered from very low user adoption and prevented the company from implementing new technologies because of its limited capabilities.
A significant limitation was the ability to access even the simplest forms of data; the company was effectively left in the dark due to a lack of analysis and insights which ultimately negatively impacted customer satisfaction.
There was no coherent sales process so the company relied on repeat business from existing customers as it had no real way to seek out new business.
Not surprisingly, FLEXcon's divisions were completely siloed from one another, making it impossible to have a full, 360 degree view of the customer. Nor was there any mobile capability that permitted service teams to work with maximum efficiency in the field.
Perhaps most crucial for FLEXcon, they did not have the means to organize and track product catalogs and list pricing, a severe limitation for an organization that did so much custom work.
Putting Technology to Work
However, working with Gerent, the company drew up a strategy to eliminate its roadblocks.
Three Salesforce products were fine-tuned for the company’s purposes:
- Sales Cloud to manage accounts, client contacts and opportunities while driving competitive intelligence
- Service Cloud for full client case management
- CPQ (Configure Price Quote) software to organize the firm’s products by SKUs, standardize pricing, track pricing exceptions and allow for an approval process for pricing changes
The technology also gave FLEXcon the means to better organize and manage products through Salesforce’s PM Toolkit Plus.
New Strengths Through Data
The company also now had access to standardized reports and dashboards with the means to gather, track and analyze the data that had been slipping through the cracks. Suddenly, management teams had the ability to gain insights and visibility into their business through the intelligence that the new system was gathering and formatting.
Finally, Gerent’s team of software architects and engineers was able to integrate this powerful new technology platform into the company’s old mainframe, eliminating the need for the client to purchase new hardware.
The company had successfully brought its business operations up to the speed of its production capabilities, with both able to customize on the fly and sync with each other in real time.