Integrating ERP, CRM, and legacy systems lead to greater manufacturing innovation, setting the foundation to move beyond business models that don’t stay in step with customers’ fast-changing needs. Bringing contextual intelligence into manufacturing that centers on customers’ unique, fast-changing requirements is a must-have to keep growing sales profitably. Integration strategies need to focus on enabling real-time connectivity between ERP, CRM, SCM, pricing and legacy systems. By making integration a priority in 2017, manufacturers can provide customers what they want most, and that’s accurate, fast responses to their questions and perfect orders delivered.
Integration Powers Manufacturing Innovation
Enabling a faster pace of innovation in manufacturing starts by using systems and process integration as a growth catalyst to profitably grow.There is a myriad of ways integration will transform manufacturing in 2017, and the top 10 ways are presented below:
- Real-time visibility across selling, pricing, product, manufacturing and service improves the speed of customer response and makes planning easier. By integrating legacy SAP ERP systems with CRM, pricing, product catalog, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and service, telling customers in real-time the status of their orders is possible. Having real-time data on manufacturing operations provides planners with the visibility they need to optimize production schedules, including fine-tuning Material Requirements Planning (MRP). By orchestrating these areas of manufacturing more efficiently, customer satisfaction increases, the potential of upselling and cross-sell improves and less order fulfillment errors turn into higher profits.
- Making analytics the fuel manufacturing needs to move faster, attaining time-to-market goals and exceeding customer expectations. One of the quickest ways manufacturers are going to use integration to fuel greater growth in 2017 is by using analytics to measure operations from the customer’s perspective first. From quality management to order fulfillment and meeting delivery dates, every manufacturer has the baseline data they need to begin a customer-driven analytics strategy today. Integration is the catalyst that is making this happen.
- Improving new product success rates by integrating CRM, pricing, product catalog, service, and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems is enabling manufacturers to create new product lines that drive new business models. For consumer electronics and high-tech products manufacturers serving B2C (business to consumer) and Business to Business (B2B), speed and time-to-market are a core part of their business models. Capitalizing on the speed of customers’ changing requirements is more important to stay ins type with than competitors, however. To do this, manufacturers capturing feedback from service and PLM systems and then putting it into context using CRM systems can innovate faster than competitors who track each other instead of customers.
- Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) will continue to be one of the most effective strategies manufacturers can use for accelerating sales in 2017, made possible by the real-time integration between ERP, CRM, pricing and manufacturing systems. Winning new customers and closing deals often comes down to being faster than competitors at delivering accurate, complete quotes and proposals. By integrating CRM, ERP, and pricing systems manufacturers can trim days and in some cases weeks and months off of how long it takes to produce a quote or proposal. CPQ will continue to accelerate in 2017, gaining momentum as more manufacturers move beyond their manually-based methods of quoting and opt for more integrated approaches to excelling at this vital selling activity.
- Industry 4.0’s many advantages including creating smart factories are dependent on the real-time integration of traditional IT and manufacturing systems increasing production speed and quality. Engraining greater contextual intelligence into every phase of manufacturing increases shop-floor visibility. It also makes planning more efficient and customer-driven. The key to revitalizing existing production centers and getting them started on the journey to becoming smart factories depends on the real-time integration of IT and manufacturing systems.
- Personalizing pricing strategies by customer persona and segment using real-time integration between CRM, pricing, accounting and finance systems to optimize profitability. Manufacturers doing this today also have propensity models that define which customers are most and least likely to accept up-sell and cross-sell offers. For many manufacturers, this level of pricing precision is possible today with greater systems integration. By having pricing strategies defined by persona and segment, measuring just how much speed and time-to-market matters to each is possible by measuring sales rates of new products and services.
- IT system security companywide improves with tighter real-time integration as long-standing legacy systems are updated to enable greater connectivity with newer systems. When manufacturers choose to pursue a more focused, urgent strategy of systems integration to improve manufacturing performance, system security often improves companywide. It’s because longstanding legacy systems, often the most vulnerable to unauthorized use, get re-evaluated at the operating system and integration levels. The result is company-wide IT security improves when real-time integration is attained. For manufacturers where 70% or more of their materials and costs are from outside their owned production centers, this is more important in 2017 than ever before.
- Sensor data generated from the Internet of Things (IoT) combined with advanced analytics is transforming manufacturing today and will accelerate in 2017. Manufacturers with globally-based operations are piloting and using IoT strategies in daily operations today. A few are working with semiconductor manufacturers to design to their specific requirements at the chip level. Having real-time integration in place between ERP, CRM, pricing and services systems provides the scalable, secure foundation to build advanced analytics and IoT platforms that can scale over the long-term.
- Market leaders in manufacturing are designing in real-time integration to their connected products, enabling new sources of revenue. General Electric’s approach to monitoring jet engines in flight and providing real-time data to aircraft manufacturers including Boeing and airlines globally is an example of how integration is enabling entirely new business models. A global aerospace manufacturer who requested anonymity is working with integrated circuit developers Broadcom, Intel, and Qualcomm to create chipsets that can provide sensor-based data on an entire jet’s health in real-time anywhere in the world, anytime.
- Greater visibility and speed are coming to supply chains, enabling manufacturers the ability to take an accepted quote and turn it into build instructions in real-time. Automating the steps of taking a quote and turning it into a bill of materials, scheduling the best possible work teams, and orchestrating parts and materials all is becoming automated from quote approval. From a customer’s perspective, all they see is the approved quote and activity starting immediately to provide the products they ordered. By having this level fo real-time supply chain integration, speed becomes the new normal and customer expectations are met and often exceeded.