resilient customer relationships

How to build resilient customer relationships in manufacturing

Recently Simplus VP, Manufacturing Center of Excellence, Tom Lovell, had the privilege to join OwnBackup, as well as Mauser Packaging Solutions to discuss the ripple effects of COVID-19 on the manufacturing industry and how manufacturers can protect their investments and build resilient customer relationships today. The team focused on the importance of business continuity in providing a strong foundation for building and delivering the coveted frictionless customer experience. In this blog post, you’ll learn why customer experience is at the forefront of digital transformation in manufacturing, how to build resilient customer relationships, as well as the role data protection and redundancies play in the overall experience you provide customers internally and externally.

 

Changing customer experience expectations

Although we still can’t say we are in a post-COVID world, we’ve seen several trends accelerate for the manufacturing industry coming out of 2020. You can read more about these digital-first trends in our recent blog post, Digital-first trends put into context for leading manufacturers. Ultimately, each of these trends—from data harmonization and connected information flows to eCommerce—points back to the ultimate ripple effect (really a tidal wave) that the global pandemic has had on customer expectations, not just in manufacturing, but across all industries — the expectation of a frictionless customer experience. 

Customers now expect an Amazon-like experience in all facets of life. To deliver that experience you’ll need to have the right foundation in place. Tom Lovell outlines four steps to get started on your path to an optimized customer experience:

 

1. Choose a single platform  

If you want to deliver a seamless experience for your customers, that starts on the backend. Customers do not see fragmented or siloed or disparate business units within a company – they see the experience they want to have – and it is one integrated experience. To deliver this experience you have to ensure your systems and processes are integrated, as well as your data. 

 

2. Minimize revenue leakage 

When we talk about choosing a single platform it’s to build a foundation for success first internally where your employees have a complete view of operations. This leads to our second point—have you insulated your organization from revenue leakage? This isn’t just a question of margin leakage but also of lost time and effort by your teams supporting any initiative. Delivering a frictionless experience to your customers means you must be set up for connectivity, know how to leverage your dynamic data, be proactive v. reactive and have redundancies in place. The focus here is resiliency across the organization: Have you addressed supply chain failures? Have you looked into nearshoring or establishing multiple vendors for products? One additional way you can minimize revenue leakage is by doubling down on your CRM to ensure each business group—marketing, sales, service—has visibility into what is going on with products, shipments, delays and can quickly and efficiently communicate those to customers as needed. 

 

3. Create long-term paths for flexible work

According to a new study by Gartner, Future of Work Trends Post COVID-19, “nearly half of all employees will continue to work remote at least some of the time.” How does this change business as usual for manufacturers? It means the days of calling in the deal desk have changed. Employees and customers want organizations to understand the experience they expect—and that isn’t an experience that includes waiting days to get an answer on supply chain delays. Providing your internal employees with a route to flexible work (i.e., access to systems, technology, real-time information, etc.) will enable them to better serve your customers and provide turnaround answers to questions. 

 

4. Focus on organization resiliency

Providing organizational resiliency is really the underpinning of each of these steps, from a single platform view to minimizing revenue leakage, as well as enabling flexible work. Resiliency can apply to many things, but ultimately the manufacturers that can build resilient customer relationships are the manufacturers that will find themselves leading the market. A cornerstone to building resilient relationships is having resiliency for your shop floor, technology, support systems—and OwnBackup gives customers the peace of mind of knowing that they can restore your data in minutes.

 

Mauser Packaging Solutions shares its path to resiliency

Formed in 2018 by packaging industry leaders BWAY, MAUSER Group, National Container Group (NCG), and Industrial Container Services (ICS), Mauser Packaging Solutions is a global leader in solutions and services across the packaging lifecycle, providing large and small metal, plastic, fiber and hybrid packaging worldwide to companies in industries from food, beverage, personal care and pharmaceuticals to chemicals, petrochemicals, agrochemicals, and paints. Mauser Packaging Solutions has 180 facilities globally—20 countries across five continents. 

In a fireside chat with Nancy Jacobs, Sr. Salesforce Business Analyst at Mauser Packaging Solutions, we gained insights into what the last year has been like for the organization, and what decisions they made to reinforce the resiliency of their business. Tom Lovell also shared additional insights on resiliency and how Salesforce is adapting to meet changing customer expectations. Let’s take a look:

 

Insights from Nancy Jacobs:

How was Mauser Packaging Solutions impacted by the global pandemic?

As with other manufacturers, Mauser Packaging Solutions saw logistics impacted globally, which was further compounded by the increased demand for resin. From an IT perspective, it was figuring out how to support a remote workforce. This proved difficult for procuring equipment, items we take for granted like webcams ending up selling out online. For our Salesforce team, we had to respond quickly to sales, customer service, complaint management needs. We had to be able to track shipping delays, as well as discern how many of our shipping delivery/logistics issues were related to COVID-19.

 

Why did Mauser Packaging Solutions find it important to have a backup and recovery plan in place?

Last October the CIO of Mauser Packaging Solutions reached out to Nancy and wanted to know if they had a disaster recovery plan in place for Salesforce. Yes, the team could recover their data, but Nancy wasn’t sure she was comfortable with what it looked like. She asked herself these questions:

— Who would I need to execute the plan? Do I have the skillset internally? If not how long will it take to train?

— How long would the recovery take?

— Would our data be restored 100%?

— What would our downtime be?

Nancy took her analysis to the executive team and they decided to invest in OwnBackup to ensure a quick and complete recovery process. 

 

How does OwnBackup protect your Salesforce investment?

With OwnBackup, Mauser Packaging Solutions can restore their Salesforce data in minutes. Nancy, as well as other team members, are able to restore it without being developers. 

 

Do you have any advice for other manufacturers looking to back up their systems and processes?

Stay fresh with your recovery plan. You’ll want to be familiar with your downtime, process, know who is responsible for what, and have practice runs in place to restore those systems and processes. 

 

Insights from Tom Lovell:

Can manufacturers take a phased approach to resiliency? 

There are typically two key paths. First, there are POCs for organizations that haven’t fully realized their budget. Here you can test with a small group of customers to prove it out. However, POCs really aren’t representative of the whole business, so if you do this it has to be with that understanding. Second, if you do have budget, you still need to do analysis and design to determine based on your organization’s maturity how you should approach designing and delivering that ideal customer experience. There isn’t one magic bullet, it comes down to understanding your organization and your appetite for change. 

 

What do we see from Salesforce as they adapt to changing customer expectations? 

There’s been a move to more industry focus. We see this with the launches of industry-specific solutions like Health Cloud, Financial Services Cloud, and, most recently, Manufacturing Cloud. Their attention to detail extends to the recent acquisition of Vlocity to further build out their hyper-focus on industries. Companies partnering with Salesforce are benefiting from their expansive knowledge of best practices by industry that can be applied both to that industry, as well as others, giving them access to the best of all worlds. 

 

Simplus is committed to helping our clients achieve resilient internal and external relationships. Our commitment is echoed across the organization through our Manufacturing CoE that touches all aspects of the customer journey from pre-sales, sales, delivery, and more. Reach out to us today to connect with our manufacturing experts on your journey to delivering a frictionless customer experience. 

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