The old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” no longer applies to the manufacturing sector. In the case of good business, obsolete technologies are as bad as broken ones.
While you may ask yourself, “If my products haven’t changed, why should I change my method of management and marketing?” It’s a fair question, but here the answer is simple: Traditional means of management and marketing are quickly becoming obsolete due to a shift in customer behavior.
The Modern Market
Buyers are far more savvy and sophisticated than those of the pre-internet era. Due to the ubiquitousness of online reviews, forums, websites, and video tutorials—all of which are just a mouse click away—potential customers are able to research just about anything from anywhere.
A Manufacturing Mentality Guided By a Misnomer
If you’re attached to your legacy system, then it’s time to cut the cord, as they’re soon to fall short of their intended purpose. New technologies don’t complicate business, they simplify it. If you have a company that you’re hoping to grow, it’s imperative that you have two easily-integrated systems set in place: A Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) and an Enterprise Resourcing Planning System (ERP).
CRM vs. ERP
CRMs (think “front-office activities”) are systems that are used primarily to collect, link, and manage information and/or interaction between customers and sales. By utilizing this technology, your company can better understand buyers, improve customer service, and ultimately increase profits.
ERPs (think “back-office activities”) are systems that organize information into one central, sharable source that is comprised of multiple modules. This software automates and manages specific aspects of business, including, but not limited to: development, human resources, finances, manufacturing processes, marketing, and product planning. Each module focuses on a specific element of your business.
The Advantage of Keeping Your CRM and ERP Integrated
Huge strides have been made with ERP software which enable manufacturers to incorporate CRM into ERP solutions. When your company merges these systems, valuable information can be gathered, analyzed, and incorporated into your business decisions and goals. Tools, priorities, and processes can be shared between departments. By making the same information accessible throughout the entire company, you will be able to improve customer experience, enhance operational efficiency, gain deeper insight into your business, and recognize new potential revenue streams.
When information is not or cannot be shared between CRMs and ERPs, a “silo” occurs. Silos are common when outdated management systems are unable to operate in combination with other systems, especially between departments within a company (i.e., from a sales department’s CRM to human resources’ ERP). When this communication breakdown occurs, it reduces operational efficiency, employee morale, and customer loyalty.
How to Spot the Right Systems
When looking for the right CRM and ERP, ask your local vender if the systems have:
- Mobile and/or Cloud access for remote working
- Responsive and flexible software to accommodate a wide variety of customers, products, and administrative processes.
- Predictive features capable of automatically analyzing key data
- Security features to maintain and secure customer and company data
On April 13th, 8:00 AM-12:00 PM, at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, we’re discussing the best technology practices and products for regional manufacturing companies at the IT for Industry Forum 2017. Over 20 technology solution providers and support organizations will be present for this targeted tradeshow.
Attendance is FREE for regional industries!