Manufacturers are adopting new technologies to create value, manage costs, and better serve customers. A digital transformation can help a business operate more efficiently. It can eliminate paper logs and manual processes, and can even provide data and insights into how to improve customer experience.

Historically, manufacturers have been slow to turn their attention to digital. But the manufacturing sector needs digital solutions to improve processes and operations in today’s world. 

The pandemic has been a significant catalyst for this rapidly changing landscape. Digital transformation in manufacturing is now essential, and organisations must adapt — or risk falling behind the competition.

In the Salesforce Trends in Manufacturing report, we surveyed 750 decision-makers in manufacturing around the globe to learn more about the long-lasting impact of the pandemic and how Trailblazing leaders are driving business agility in the sector.

The majority of manufacturers felt the ripple effects of the crisis, and for the most part, these changes will last. The disruption has forced manufacturers to rethink their operations and respond better to market change. Now more than ever, they must consider undergoing a digital transformation to become ‘Future-Ready’.


Are manufacturers ready for the future? 

Preparation for the decade ahead is crucial for manufacturers future-proofing their business.

In our Trends in Manufacturing report, we analysed two key groups of manufacturers: ‘Unprepared manufacturers’ who felt “somewhat unprepared” for the next ten years, and ‘Future-Ready manufacturers’ who felt “very prepared” for the decade ahead.

Future-Ready manufacturers are better equipped to rebound from the effects of the pandemic. Our report also determined that Future-Ready manufacturers are most likely to have adapted their business in light of COVID-19.

84% of Future-Ready manufacturers can react rapidly to market changes. What’s more, Future-Ready manufacturers are nearly three times as likely as Unprepared manufacturers to respond quickly to market changes, demonstrating adaptability and resilience in the face of change. One possible explanation is that Future-Ready manufacturers are better able to detect market changes and respond more quickly.

We spoke to three global Trailblazers at a Salesforce Live event to learn how they’re future-proofing their business. Find out how Henkel, Mars and El AI are using analytics for a digital-first future


Trends in Manufacturing

Salesforce Industry Insights surveyed 750 manufacturers worldwide. Download this report to discover more.


Why should manufacturers prioritise digital transformation? 

Digital transformation is critical for manufacturers. Digitised operations mean your business can respond quickly to changes in the market with new product applications. You can optimise overall inventory and reduce time to revenue from the launch date, too.

A manufacturing digital transformation can also lead to refined operations, improved demand planning, and optimised processes. There are many more benefits for transforming your business to digital, including:


Being Future-Ready

Future-readiness is essential for manufacturers to handle the demands of the next decade. Future-Ready manufacturers have a greater ability to sense a change in the market and adapt.

As revealed in our report, Future-Ready manufacturers are nearly three times more likely to react rapidly to market changes than Unprepared manufacturers. They reported more changes to their value chain as a result of the pandemic, indicating Future-Ready manufacturers are more adaptable to change.

Today, manufacturers must become Future-Ready to respond to the constantly evolving landscape and react to changes — fast.

A digital transformation can help your company adopt Future-Ready strategies and become more resilient.


Global scalability

Being connected is at the heart of every process in manufacturing, from supply chain to sales. Digital transformation in manufacturing can provide you with the tools to scale these processes as large as your business requires, whether in a single country or across the globe.


Increased agility in processes 

The time spent collaborating with internal teams and external partners can add up quickly. Establishing strong channel partner relationships and digitising sales and operations can make your business operations more agile.

A digital transformation can refine processes and support stronger partnerships in manufacturing — so your business can become more adaptable and resilient.

Download the full report to learn how your company can accelerate its digital transformation to scale your business, increase agility, and much more.


Simple ways to bring digital into your manufacturing business

In our Trends in Manufacturing report, almost two-thirds of Unprepared manufacturers expressed a desire to move sales and operations to the cloud, confirming a significant interest in digital transformation across manufacturers who are not yet Future-Ready.

However, some are not as far along as they would like. Happily, there are ways that your organisation can bring digital into your operations:


Getting in-depth data 

Data is crucial for a successful digital transformation. Using the right technology can help your business leverage in-depth data to:


  • Improve revenue and operational performance.

  • Track performance against revenue targets. 

  • Provide efficiency by customising data access for managers.

  • Improve business outcomes with precise recommendations.


Solutions like Salesforce Einstein Analytics can offer your team insights, predictions, visualisations, and more — all on a single platform.


Moving to the cloud 

Scalability, security, and collaboration capabilities associated with cloud applications have a strong appeal, especially for improving business efficiencies.

According to our research, Future-Ready manufacturers are over two times more likely to have shifted their sales and operations systems to the cloud.

The resilience of Future-Ready manufacturers could be attributed to their higher cloud usage than those who feel unprepared. By adopting new business models and migrating their service systems to the cloud, Future-Ready manufacturers are ahead of their peers.

There are many more benefits to moving to the cloud. For example, the Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud is an AI-powered CRM that helps increase the visibility of end-to-end operations and drive business growth with enhanced forecasting capabilities. Your company can ​​integrate the solution with a range of systems for greater data unification. It even increases alignment through better partner management and enhances collaboration to reduce latency.

There are other tools you can leverage to improve your processes. For example, business intelligence in the manufacturing industry helps organisations connect their systems and establish a data-driven approach to decision-making.

Find out more industry insights and top priorities in our Trends in Manufacturing report.


Trends in Manufacturing

Salesforce Industry Insights surveyed 750 manufacturers worldwide. Download this report to discover more.