Your manufacturing company demands precision, attention to detail, and the flawless merging of each process at exactly the right time and place. This requires a manufacturing company which, rather than reacting to change, anticipates what customers want and need, and stays proactive in meeting those desires. This isn’t as simple as just sending a few follow–up e–mails or checking in with distribution organizations to “get a feel” for the market. The future of manufacturing continues to focus on integrating Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, which enables manufacturers to analyze the customer data, predict shifts in the marketplace, and to respond to them before they happen.
“My company relies heavily on accurate communication with customers in order to stay afloat. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to invest in a CRM software package with SAS. Unfortunately, we had no idea what we were getting into. Instead of increasing our contact with customers, we faced huge bottlenecks with the SAS software, with the customer communication at virtually zero. We decided to switch to Prophet, and were impressed with how easy it was compared to the other solutions out there. I just open my e–mail and have all the production schedules, customer tracking, and analysis I needed, right there at my fingertips. Because of Prophet, we saw a sales increase of over 30% in the first 6 months. I would definitely recommend it to any small manufacturing company.” --Frank Mueller, CEO R&R Design
Since the manufacturing process has unique needs in relationship to projecting market trends, communicating with customers, and analyzing customer data in order to create new products, you should consider a specifically–designed CRM for manufacturing. Here, we’ll show you some of the reasons that manufacturing companies need a solution that keeps their distinctive customer service, supply–demand analysis, and production process integration needs in mind, and how Prophet manufacturing CRM software meets those goals.
Why do Manufacturing Companies have Different CRM Needs?
In the past, manufacturing companies have been in the business of responding to whatever a customer requires. That has changed to a more proactive formula of creating products that are in high demand. With the emergence of technology and computers guiding many departments, the effective synchronization of groups to support the continued sale of products must occur in order for the business to remain competitive.
“I really hadn’t been looking for a CRM. We were doing pretty well just dealing with our customers directly. Sure, we had had some problems filling orders or not having enough parts sometimes, but that’s pretty normal for the manufacturing business. When my boss came to me and asked me to research a CRM, I happened to pick Prophet just to get him off my back. I am so glad I did. In the last 3 months since we’ve adopted Prophet, we have not had a single production snag. Customers are giving us better feedback than we’ve ever gotten before, mainly because we are building and shipping product faster than ever before. We’ve seen an increase of sales over 20%, with better online rankings than anyone else in our market. If you’re in the manufacturing business, Prophet is a solution that you can trust.” --James D'Asta, Production Manager, Firefly Industrial Manufacturing
Traditional CRM software solutions just don’t meet the needs of the manufacturing industry. Specifically, good CRM software for manufacturing allows customers to interact directly with the production floor, cutting out the sales and customer service departments completely. Manufacturing CRM solutions also allow manufacturers to deal directly with distributors, allowing them to track consumer demand levels, manage shipping schedules, and create instant loss reports.
This isn’t a simple matter of having a CRM that tracks phone calls or checks off tasks as accomplished. Excellent CRM for manufacturing provides a cohesive solution that directly links production, packaging and shipping to the customer, creating a leaner organization that anticipates customer demand and meets it quickly and efficiently.
What Customer Relationship Functionalities are Specific to Manufacturing?
During a 2011 study from the International Journal’s Research Journal of Economics & Business Studies, almost 30% of manufacturing companies surveyed admitted to having a low customer service response. In the new, social world of production, manufacturing companies can’t afford to ignore the needs and overall service experience of their customers, since they will then have a negative spotlight placed on their products. Creating lasting customer relationships is the name of the game.
”We always knew that we were being left behind without a good CRM to help us manage our production process. In order to become a leaner organization, we eliminated a lot of sales and customer service staff, and replaced those jobs with a high–end CRM product from Sugar. Not only was it bulky and non–intuitive, it was really hard for us to train the production team on how to use it. We switched to SalesLogix and found that it was easier to use, but didn’t give us the customer interaction we really needed. Finally, we came to Prophet. It was such a relief that it was so easy to use, and it allowed us to accurately predict demand and to track our production process from start to finish. We’ve been using it for two years now, and we made over $1.3 million last year alone. Prophet has been one of the key factors for our 43% increase in sales over those two years. This is a miracle CRM solution that everyone should try.” Jennifer Harkin, Process Manager | Calloway Desks
The best manufacturing CRM software allows customers to be an integral part of the production process, instead of just an abstract link in the profit chain. This software allows manufacturers to create the smoothest process possible by setting up a signaling system that ensures that customers get the products they want when they need them.
Through a suite of “pull signals” offered by ProphetCRM manufacturing software, parts, goods, and processes are readied long before the customer decides to buy, which means the customer receives products in the most efficient way possible. These “pull signals” are designed to coordinate every segment of the purchasing, production, and delivery process so that labor and materials are used only when they are needed. This leads to the customer receiving the product exactly when necessary, with no time lost because of bottlenecks in the process. This inevitably leads to better service, better customer response, and more return business.
Still, all that good press is worthless without a way to quantify how customers felt about their experience and communicate what they will need in the future. That’s why specifically–designed manufacturing CRM software is a vital element of a manufacturing business plan. It allows the production floor to merge with the sales force, eliminating waste while gathering vital customer information through analytics, surveys , and supply and demand metrics.
How Can Prophet Help Manufacturing?
Prophet CRM is designed to meet all of the unique needs of a modern production company through its suite of web–based, integrated customer and data management solutions. Designed to work within your existing Microsoft Outlook program, Prophet organizes your contacts, providing you with additional fields for customer metrics, project history, and financial forecasting and analysis. For manufacturing purposes, this means that your production team is connected to each step of the process in a transparent way that enables them to make the most accurate forecasts about demand.
In addition, Prophet CRM software provides an unparalleled customer service solution. It puts customers directly in contact with the production floor and allows for seamless communication. Some of the tools Prophet offers include easy–to–understand purchasing analytics and a targeted e–mail marketing system that can be launched directly from Microsoft Outlook.
Prophet CRM for manufacturing also allows you to anticipate those “pull signals” that help you to accurately predict increased customer demand. Metrics like seasonality, events, promotions, and market–driven response are easy to track in Prophet, and allow you to automate the production process even further, ensuring that you are always prepared to meet the changing demands of the marketplace.
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“We decided to switch to Prophet, and were impressed with how easy it was compared to the other solutions out there. I just open my e–mail and have all the production schedules, customer tracking, and analysis I needed, right there at my fingertips. Because of Prophet, we saw a sales increase of over 30% in the first 6 months. I would definitely recommend it to any small manufacturing company.”