Building the Case for Manufacturers to Invest in Digital Strategy

Building the Case for Manufacturers to Invest in Digital Strategy

The manufacturing industry in recent times has had a heavy focus on Lean continuous improvement and cost savings. Businesses measure the journey of continuous improvement through the lens of KPI’s, looking for a year-over-year improvement and execution to goals. In the process of developing these goals, care has to be taken to make sure the user experience doesn’t decline. Lead times, on-time delivery, and quality metrics all have to improve to maintain existing business and to earn an increased share of wallet. So it is critical in the strategy development to make sure and connect all functional goals.

Manufacturing is lagging in digital adoption; many industries in the B2C sector already have transformed to remain competitive with end-users whereas manufacturing has yet to completely connect digital transformation to a credible return on investment. Further, businesses are struggling to build business cases for the investment, multiplied by the effects of a volatile market place. There is a lot of opinion on how best to react to the pandemic and volatility in the marketplace. Simply put, you have two choices: a) predict and reduce costs to protect liquidity or b) invest in rapid improvements by investing in the digitalization of your business and look for areas to grow. Easy to say, but hard to achieve; harder yet when you cannot understand your opportunities because of a lack of real-time data.

Imagine meetings with real-time data refreshed in or just before the team meeting. Data that is common to all and is developed at the same time with no additional meeting preparation required. Each function can walk you through their dashboard showing performance metrics that tie into the strategic plan and commonly agreed-upon goals. Better yet, actions to issues can be resolved before they become unsolvable, greatly increasing your chances of success.

Where digital adoption has been integrated is typically machine controls, with data to enhance machine capacity and material flows to product lines. All internally focused and adopted to drive increased efficiency and bottom line. The secondary advantage might be customer OTD and consistency of quality but it is certainly not customer-centric focused. Small to mid-size businesses typically run on multiple siloed systems of information, and they are hurting the businesses they serve. There exists comfort around a process that is known and reluctance to change internally is real.

For change to be impactful it has to have relevance, support, value, and adoption. Simply buying licenses for software and expecting it to function has a very low chance of success. Having digital data and harnessing the power of it relies on having one version of central data and collaborating with all disciplines around it, helping increase a pivot from a lean-to a customer-centric approach.

Salesforce is the world’s largest CRM and can connect to various sources of data. In selecting a CRM you must look at its connectivity and its ability to scale as you grow. Secondly, having an implementation strategy, understanding priorities, and putting a maturity roadmap in place will help understand the investment and return on investment that can be achieved. Making sure you are working with the right partner with industry experience can accelerate the process and make sure you not only build the right solution and business case but also execute and realize the value and return of investment.

Being a better supplier will help with a reduction in customer attrition, contract renewals, timing of new product/ technology, and contract management. Managing your core business cross-functionally around central data will assist sales forecasting accuracy, right-sizing inventory, operational execution, and supply chain management.

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