Digitally integrating and aligning manufacturing operations with the rest of the enterprise has been an elusive goal for perhaps 20 years. It was a promise of ERP. Easy to say; hard to accomplish. Then we went through all the IT/OT stuff. Here’s another take–aligning sales and operations. Speaking from bitter experience, have faster and more accurate feedback from sales would have made our lives better in operations.

Salesforce just announced Manufacturing Cloud, a new industry-specific product for manufacturers. Manufacturing Cloud brings sales and operations teams together around a unified view of market and customer demands to more accurately forecast, plan, and drive predictable business performance. With Manufacturing Cloud, companies can now better meet commitments and run a more streamlined business while improving customer satisfaction. 

Here is the rationale from Salesforce: The manufacturing industry depends on predictability, as its capital-intensive businesses often have complex physical operations that cannot be quickly or inexpensively modified to meet changing customer demands. Unfortunately, operations teams aren’t always aligned with sales reps to ensure they have a single, real-time view of all aspects of their customer relationships.

Critical customer insights are siloed across spreadsheets and multiple ERP systems, which can negatively affect account performance and ultimately the ability to accurately predict demand. The resulting inventory stockouts, buildups and warehousing costs reduce operating margins and negatively impact revenue. In order for manufacturers to provide a seamless customer experience, they need a solution that helps them better understand customer needs while improving visibility across the entire value chain. 

“In the manufacturing industry, changing customer and market demands can have a devastating effect on the bottom line, so being able to understand what is happening on the ground is imperative for success,” said Cindy Bolt, SVP and GM, Salesforce Manufacturing. “Manufacturing Cloud bridges the gap between sales and operations teams while ensuring more predictive and transparent business, so they can build deeper and more trusted relationships with their customers.”

Introducing Manufacturing Cloud 
Manufacturing Cloud, the newest industry-specific product from Salesforce, delivers a new level of business visibility and collaboration between the sales and operations organizations of a manufacturing company. This allows them to have a better view of their customers through powerful new sales agreements and account-based forecasting solutions, providing visibility into their customer interactions while enabling them to generate more robust sales forecasts.

Salesforce has collaborated with major manufacturing and sales companies through the product pilot program, including Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. – Engines Division, Hitachi Chemical, CF Industries, Mipox, GELITA and more.

Manufacturing Cloud features include:

  • Sales Agreements allow manufacturers to unify their run-rate business with data housed in ERP and order management systems with the contract terms negotiated—including planned volumes and revenues—so both operations and account teams can have a 360-degree view of the customer. If any changes to the agreement are needed, they are immediately incorporated into the existing sales agreement, ensuring there is always a single source of truth. This allows account teams to manage the full sales agreement lifecycle and have visibility into committed and actual order volumes, the performance of the agreement against the forecast and other time-phased custom metrics. This also simplifies the renewal process, ensuring account teams continue to bring in revenue while increasing margins. 
  • Account-Based Forecasting provides manufacturers with a complete view of their current business alongside future opportunities. This allows sales, finance and operations teams to develop more accurate forecasts while breaking down internal silos. Account teams can also add updates on changing customer needs or market demands, allowing the team to collaborate and adjust forecasts in real-time, helping to make business transactions, profits and revenue margins more predictable. 

In addition to Manufacturing Cloud, Salesforce is also releasing new manufacturing-specific innovation across the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform to help manufacturers deliver greater transparency, streamline collaboration and grow their businesses.

  • Einstein Analytics for Manufacturing provides account managers with access to an intelligent experience with out-of-the-box KPIs into account health, demand insights, product penetration and sales agreement progress. By centralizing and analyzing key data sources, account managers can proactively engage clients that are at highest risk for churn. In addition, by identifying key trends within an account, account managers can proactively grow their relationship by recommending relevant upsell and cross sell opportunities. 
  • Community Cloud for Manufacturing will deliver a new pre-built template specific for manufacturers that extends sales agreements to channel partners, allowing them to easily collaborate together on leads and opportunities. 
  • MuleSoft Anypoint Platform unlocks data from any application, data source or device—whether that data is on-premise or in the cloud. By enabling organizations to connect Manufacturing Cloud with other systems, sales and operations leaders can automate the complete order-to-cash process, create a comprehensive forecast view and drive business process automation across all sales channels.

Partners Accelerate Expansion 
Salesforce has a comprehensive ecosystem of partners that will extend the power of Manufacturing Cloud. Key partners were instrumental in the development of Manufacturing Cloud, and will power digital transformation for customers in the manufacturing industry.

  • Accenture: As a pilot partner, Accenture’s global experience with industrials is providing new ways to apply Manufacturing Cloud to deliver transformational value through practical, connected, cloud-enabled solutions. 
  • Acumen Solutions: As a design and pilot partner for Manufacturing Cloud, Acumen Solutions collaborated with Salesforce to identify personas, use cases and requirements of customers in the manufacturing space to inform product development. 
  • Deloitte: Cloud4M, an ISV Managed Package, was built on Manufacturing Cloud by Deloitte Digital, Deloitte’s creative digital consultancy and a Manufacturing Cloud pilot partner. Cloud4M is a pre-configured, multi-cloud software solution designed to simplify decision making in B2B sales agreements and throughout the end-to-end customer engagement process, tailored for manufacturers and industrial product companies. 
  • Rootstock: Rootstock’s ERP system, built on the Salesforce Platform, feeds actuals from its ERP to Manufacturing Cloud to track compliance against sales agreements. Additionally, Rootstock’s planning engine consumes sales forecasts from Manufacturing Cloud to improve the quality of production, procurement and distribution plans.

Availability  

Manufacturing Cloud, Einstein Analytics for Manufacturing and Community Cloud for Manufacturing will be generally available in October, 2019. 

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