Digitization in Manufacturing: Managing the Change



Manufacturers who embrace digitization are leading the industry into the future, increasing innovation and efficiency across the board. These companies are creating tremendous new opportunities with tools that ensure that sales, marketing, operations, service, and partner networks are all accessing powerful, shared data and insights, to collaborate on a new level.

However, empowering your people with new ways of working starts with inspiring them to embrace those new ways of working. So it’s important to understand the three key focal points for successful change management: people, process, and technology. In this article, we’ll be talking about each of these, and where Salesforce can help.


The goal of digitization is to create a better customer experience. But that starts with your employee experience; empowering your people with easy-to-use tools to help them work smarter ensures they’ll deliver more reliably and more efficiently for your customers.

That said, no matter how easy your tools are to use, training will still be required, and that is perhaps the most common stumbling block in the adoption process. Training can be a boring, unrewarding experience, so it is imperative that you provide robust training opportunities that hold employee interest – from workshops to gamified online learning systems – and that not only capture the attention of employees, but illustrate what’s in it for them.

Involving employees early in the journey can be beneficial; creating “super users” and champions across all departments can drive their peers towards adoption and acceptance of new processes. And when building scrum teams and administering user testing, be sure to involve cross-functional stakeholders from varied geographies, who can deliver more comprehensively informed insights and feedback.

How can Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud help?

Salesforce provides workshops, help centers, and engaging, easy-to-use online resources like Trailhead, a training platform that rewards employees as they progress along their learning tracks.


While many adoption plans share common elements, it is crucial that you tailor your plan to your company’s unique structure and culture. Within that context, you’ll want to define your methods, obstacles, and measures.

As you set out to define your methods, think about the size of your company, the agility of your company, the average technical savvy of your team, and other key factors. A global organization may want to begin with a small pilot program as a proof of concept to build confidence and momentum. A smaller company may roll out the new digital vision across the company, supported by workshops run by champions of the change effort. And every company will want to involve IT early on in setting the approach for integrations and deployment.

Of course, no matter the methods you choose, you’ll need to anticipate and address obstacles. We’ve already talked about the potential challenges around training, but there are many other common issues, from entrenched leadership to legacy processes. Keep in mind, the remedy for most of these issues will start with buy-in. If your leadership is fully committed to change, your change effort will weather most any storm.

Finally, how will you know if you’ve succeeded? What measures will you rely on? Increased revenue, decreased costs, and an improved customer experience are all possible indicators of how well your teams have embraced the potential of their new tools. But your measures should be specific to your business and, again, be validated by your business leaders.

How can Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud help?
While many challenges will be clear from the get-go, others will present themselves as the process begins. So every adoption plan requires a method for assessing and responding to these emergent challenges. Manufacturing Cloud has several capabilities that can help.

You can create a Chatter group for your end users to capture ideas, feedback, and questions, then post links to training documents, FAQs, and other helpful resources. You can also measure adoption metrics (for example, logins, opportunities created, movement of leads through the funnel) and illustrate them on an easy-to-read dashboard for leadership review. And the Case object functionality in Manufacturing Cloud can easily help you capture internal enhancement requests.


Your vision for digitization should avoid unnecessary complexity, but be equipped to grow with your business.

At first, you should think mostly about what’s needed immediately: an MVP to accelerate deployment and soften the learning curve as you onboard users. But your users’ needs and preferences will change over time, as they work to meet the changing needs and preferences of your customers. And your technology will need to keep up. Otherwise, adoption will turn to attrition as users take matters into their own hands, solving new problems with workarounds. In short, your technology needs to be as nimble as your business.

Finally, ideally, you’ll be able to implement dashboards equipped with data to support the original business case, and engage active executive users to steer incremental adjustments and evolutions of the system toward the long-term vision.

How can Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud help?
Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud is designed from the ground up with endless optionality and expandability. It delivers simple, click-based configuration out of the box, and evolves as your organization adapts and your needs change. From manual data uploads to full system integration, and from basic reporting to AI-enabled analytics, Salesforce can meet your needs wherever they begin and keep up with wherever they’re going.


The three areas we’ve explored here give you the framework for successfully managing your digitization journey. But remember, as you set out on that journey, our expert account teams are here to help. So if you have questions, or need support, get in touch here.

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