The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here with all its disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, internet of things, and 3D printing. The impact on all sectors, including the manufacturing industry, is huge. 

Manufacturers need to adapt to the dramatic changes in their competitive landscape. To support them, Salesforce has just announced the launch of Manufacturing Cloud, ​a new industry-specific product ​for manufacturers. 

It enables the alignment of sales and operations, enhances the sales forecasting process for both run rate and new business opportunities, and extends the planning process to partners.  Thanks to Manufacturing Cloud, manufacturers can now meet commitments more easily and run a more streamlined business, while also improving customer satisfaction.

 

What is the Manufacturing Cloud?

The Manufacturing Cloud is the newest solution specifically designed for manufacturers to unify account planning and forecasting for better transparency and collaboration across the organisation. It provides a unified view for a comprehensive picture of manufacturing operations through unique features that enable forecasting, planning, and data-driven decision-making.

The Manufacturing Cloud is not the first industry-specific cloud that Salesforce has delivered. The company is experienced in creating products dedicated to specific industries with much success. On top of that, the Manufacturing Cloud has been created with the support and insights of manufacturers, so it responds perfectly to their specific needs.

Cindy Bolt, SVP and GM of Salesforce Manufacturing, summarises the benefits of the product this way: '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'.



 

Challenges in the manufacturing industry

The manufacturing industry is in a state of flux, and manufacturers are confronted with competition from technologically savvy new players, such as Amazon and Alibaba. These companies are offering similar products and competing services, all focused on the same customer base, creating significant competition for existing manufacturers.

To address these challenges, manufacturers need to alter many aspects of their operation, including how they sell, how they compensate employees, how they run their day-to-day operation, what billing system they use, and more. They must also shift from a product-centric business to a customer-centric business, allowing the customer’s needs to inform their processes. 

Unfortunately, manufacturing businesses tend to have complex physical operations that aren’t easily modified to adjust to changing customer needs and demands. For example, scaling up to fulfil new orders can be expensive and time-consuming, especially without the ability to predict future demand. This concern ripples out into the sales and account management teams, who are on the frontline of managing customer expectations, demands, and complaints. 

 

How Manufacturing Cloud Works

 

Manufacturing Cloud is a promising solution to addressing the challenges manufacturers face. 

With intelligent forecasting, Manufacturing Cloud enables accurate future sales predictions, breaking down the silos between the front and back office to empower sales, manufacturing, and operations to align. 

Predictability is also an important consideration for stakeholders in the manufacturing ecosystem. Customers want assurances around pricing, availability, and delivery; distribution partners want optimised delivery channels; sales teams want pricing based on real-time volume assumptions, and operations teams want to produce and procure components based on the most accurate demand. 

Now, manufacturers have an unprecedented opportunity to derive real-time insights into customer, product, and pricing performance, and the ability to translate these insights into actions, transforming their business into a responsive and agile organisation. 

 

What can the Manufacturing Cloud do for your business?

According to the latest figures, Europe’s manufacturing sector is going through a big downturn that shows no sign of letting up. 

On top of that, manufacturers are tasked with navigating greater complexity than ever before. The manual systems of the past aren’t suitable for the new economy, and the leaders ahead of the curve are already using technology to capture, integrate, and analyse data across their organisations to drive business decisions.

 

 

 

By rethinking the way of working, establishing new connections with customers may be the best solution for manufacturers to survive this economic gloom. 

Want to learn more? Take a look at the benefits of the Manufacturing Cloud and watch a demo to see it in action!