Manufacturing Industry Overview
The manufacturing industry accounts for approximately one quarter of the world’s economic activity. It is a common misconception that the UK manufacturing industry is weak, it is actually the 11th largest manufacturing nation in the world. In a report from themanufacturer.com it was stated that manufacturing makes up 11% of UK GVA and 54% of UK exports and directly employs 2.6 million people.
The entire supply chain ecosystem is undergoing massive transformations, and this includes manufacturing. The growth of the internet and digital/mobile technology has served as the main catalyst in changing customer expectations which is driving this transformation. Manufacturing companies were once known for being notoriously production orientated. However, Products don’t provide as much differentiation as they once did. It is possible to cut price for short periods of time, however, this does not create a sustainable competitive advantage. There is now a requirement for companies in this space to adapt to this shift in customer expectations, and invest resources in building an infrastructure that enables them to put the preferences of their customers at the heart of their business. The most effective way to achieve this, is to constantly innovate when it comes to their use of sales and communication channels. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the challenges faced by manufacturers, and illustrate how Microsoft Dynamics can address these issues.
Implications for Manufacturing
The manufacturing industry has always been competitive, however, never more so than it is now. There is huge pressure to gain new customers whilst retaining existing ones. This can sometimes seem like a bit of a juggling act for companies striving to provide the same high level of service that has always been required to compete in this market. There are several challenges facing the manufacturing industry in today’s turbulent environment. One of the main industry specific issues, is the fact that there are many different manufacturing processes, such as; Lean Manufacturing, Flexible Manufacturing, Agile Manufacturing, Rapid Manufacturing and Just in Time (JIT) processes. To carry out any of these processes effectively requires a very specific solution, which is tailored to very specific business needs.
Supply chains are now truly global which has resulted in a huge demand for low cost. However, as stated before, simply cutting costs is not a sustainable way to gain competitive advantage in a price sensitive industry where quality is king. Manufacturers need to think outside of the box in order to find ways to add value. Another requirement for all manufacturers is that whatever CRM solution they choose needs to be flexible in order to adapt to changing market conditions. They also need the ability to accurately monitor the supply chain which relies on accurate inventory and manufacturing data.
Manufacturing and Dynamics CRM
Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables organisations to zero in on the areas of their business that add significant value. Manufacturers that utilise Microsoft Dynamics CRM are able to manage the core aspects of their business, such as; equipment and asset management, project management and account management in the same place. Marketing automation enables organisations to communicate more effectively with their customers based on their position within the sales funnel and response to past communication. Dynamics CRM integrates with other Microsoft products including; Outlook and OneNote which empowers users to collaborate. The user interface is familiar and easy to use which maximizes user adoption. It is now extremely important to harvest has much information as possible regarding the most profitable customer, the most effective communication method for different groups of customers, and how different markets respond to marketing efforts. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows organisations to harvest and display this information to the people within the organisation in order to maximise productivity.
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