To keep customer requirements at the core of their operations, manufacturing companies rely on Manufacturing ERP to achieve the agility, speed, and quality needed to absorb supply chain shocks and rapid changes in markets.
Central to a manufacturer’s success is the agility to keep pace with how quickly customers’ forecasts, new product needs, and preferred buying methods are changing. An integrated manufacturing ERP system excels at capturing those insights and knowledge and ensures that manufacturing operations and business strategies reflect customers’ changing needs.
Customers define and direct how business strategies evolve
Getting customer relationships right starts by concentrating on the fundamentals of solid manufacturing supported by an integrated manufacturing ERP system. Staying on top of customer insights using an integrated manufacturing ERP system can turn insights into strategies that pay.
Here are a few examples of how manufacturers are making the most of customer feedback and insights to create new business strategies that help drive growth – providing revenue stability when costs continue to climb for raw materials and other supplies:
- Respect your customers’ time and automate order status, available-to-promise, and capable-to-promise with an online ordering system – Don’t make customers call for order status, provide them an automated, 24/7 secured web portal to access order status and shipping information. The world’s leading electronic contract manufacturer, Flextronics International, offers order status apps where customers can see available-to-promise and capable-to-promise on their phones. For Flextronics, every minute they can save for a customer is another potential order. Getting into that mindset requires a robust platform, which is why an integrated manufacturing ERP system that includes real-time production and process monitoring is so important.
- Digitally capture all customer feedback on product quality and use it immediately to improve – Customer complaints provide the most valuable feedback on how a manufacturer can improve. It’s too valuable to be left as a manual process and too urgent for curating and analyzing later. Having customer complaint systems, Return Material Authorizations (RMA), refunds issued, and in-field repairs all using the same database as Quality Management, Accounting & Finance, MES, and ERP helps identify root causes of product shortcomings. An integrated manufacturing ERP system delivers those insights and helps manufacturers know where they most need to improve.
- Reduce inventory costs by automating scheduling based on constant customer contact – Except for payroll, inventory can be one of the highest costs for manufacturers today. It’s been especially challenging to manage inventory costs given how disrupted supply chains are, with many products on allocation. Using an automated scheduling system as part of a manufacturing ERP platform to stay on top of orders in the pipeline and the daily customer requirements is key to controlling inventory costs.
- Choosing to expand customized project-based products into new product lines – One manufacturer in the Midwestern U.S. who makes fire truck apparatus including pumps and valves was seeing a growing interest in a customized new valve configuration. So the manufacturer turned the custom configuration into a new product by combining their product configurator, quoting, pricing, production scheduling, and MES systems within an integrated ERP system. It’s now one of the company’s best-selling valves because fire departments worldwide need the new value for the latest fire engine configurations.
Customer expectations need to become a manufacturer’s reality if they are going to survive and grow. A good way to stay coordinated with them is to automate every process that will save them time while removing roadblocks to gain feedback. An integrated manufacturing ERP platform provides the applications, tools, and proven technology to evolve business strategies necessary to keep in sync with dynamic customer demands.