Salesforce, after a record 2nd quarter of $4.0 Billion (up 22% from last year), announced a series of new vertical templates. In this blog, we are going to take a very high-level look into the new Manufacturing Cloud.
The idea behind Manufacturing Cloud is to more closely align Sales and Operations, so that sales forecasts and the manufacturing demand planners are in synch. In that way, the manufacturing team can more accurately predict demand, which will reduce out-of-stock / overstock problems – both of which have significant cost and margin impacts. From a sales perspective, better visibility and demand planning allows them to build a stronger, more trusted, relationship with their clients.
The goal is not to replace the manufacturer’s ERP suite but to augment it in Salesforce. This obviously will require tight integration and, as I have blogged about before, MuleSoft, Salesforce’s ETL platform acquisition from a little more than a year ago, is a part of the vision for integration.
The two biggest build outs in the Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud platform are sales agreements and account-based forecasting. Then there is some build out of the Einstein analytics engine for reporting and Communities to better connect with channel partners.
- Sales agreements allow manufacturers to tie sales data with data housed in ERP and order management systems to the specific contract terms negotiated—including planned volumes and revenues—so both operations and account teams can have a 360-degree view of the customer. Account teams can then manage the full sales agreement lifecycle with visibility into committed vs. actual order volumes, the performance of the agreement against the forecast and other time-dependent metrics. And because of this improved real-time view, it should make renewals easier.
- Account-based forecasting provides manufacturers with a better way to look at current business vs. future opportunities. This allows sales, finance and operations teams to develop more accurate forecasts. Teams can better collaborate on customer updates or changes in the marketplace. Again, the overall goal is to push the smooth flow of real time forecasts into production planning.
- Einstein analytics for manufacturing adds some prebuilt KPIs and visualizations into account health (ask about our TopLine Health Checks), demand insights, product penetration and sales agreement progress. Bringing all this data together should help account teams spot trends and be more proactive, which should improve customer retention. Trend visibility can also help account teams with smarter up/cross-sell opportunities.
- Community Cloud for Manufacturing adds some prebuilt templates so, for example, channel partners can see sales agreement status for their customers and have easy and intelligent input for the account team.
- MuleSoft Anypoint Platform (see previous blog) allows organizations to connect Manufacturing Cloud with other systems, so that sales and operations teams and management can automate integrations and manage the complete order-to-cash process.
This is another valuable option in the Salesforce push into the manufacturing sector. Most of this functionality could be done by customizing the core Salesforce tool, but if you are looking for a very flexible, pre-built system that gives a much faster time-to-delivery, Manufacturing Cloud is worth checking out.
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