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Halftime check-in: The trends for manufacturing in 2024 so far

Jun 3, 2024 | Admin, Latest News, Manufacturing

The American manufacturing sector faced notable regression in April, with prices paid nearing a two-year high, industry players grappling with unprecedented challenges, and an overall volatile landscape to sustain growth and profitability looming large.

For manufacturers stuck in such a challenging industry landscape and riddled with existential crises regarding talent, sustainability, and supply chain health, finding a way to distinguish operations and sales for sustained success is paramount. 

As we at Simplus continue discovering more enterprise technology innovations in 2024, the key trends we identified at the start of the year remain just as prevalent, everything from sales management with CPQ and rebates to production forecasting. Let’s explore these developments and how they have driven change and innovation in manufacturing processes so far this year.

 

CPQ remains the ideal solution for complex industrial sales agreements

In an increasingly competitive market, manufacturers are turning to Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solutions to streamline their sales processes and enhance customer experiences. CPQ software allows companies to configure complex products, accurately price them, and generate quotes quickly and efficiently. This technology not only simplifies the sales process but also ensures accuracy and consistency, reducing the risk of errors and increasing customer satisfaction.

One of the primary reasons for the adoption of CPQ in the manufacturing sector is its ability to handle the intricacies of industrial sales. Unlike off-the-shelf products, industrial equipment often requires customization to meet the specific needs of customers. CPQ enables sales teams to configure products according to customer requirements, ensuring that every quote aligns perfectly with the customer’s needs and specifications.

Moreover, Salesforce Revenue Cloud+CPQ—our bread and butter revops tool of choice—integrates seamlessly with other enterprise systems, such as the larger Customer 360 CRM from Salesforce and ERP platforms, providing a holistic view of the sales pipeline and facilitating better decision-making. By automating manual tasks and providing real-time insights, Salesforce CPQ empowers sales teams to focus on building relationships and closing deals, driving revenue growth for manufacturing companies.

 

Rebate management is still a popular vehicle to drive partner sales

In the complex ecosystem of manufacturing, partnerships with distributors and resellers play a crucial role in expanding market reach and driving sales. Rebate management has emerged as a powerful tool for incentivizing partner sales and fostering stronger relationships within the supply chain.

Manufacturers often offer rebates to channel partners based on various criteria, such as sales volume, market share, or product mix. However, managing these rebate programs manually can be time-consuming and error-prone. Rebate management software automates the process, enabling manufacturers to define, track, and settle rebates accurately and efficiently.

By offering transparent and timely rebate programs, manufacturers can motivate partners to promote their products actively and achieve sales targets. Rebates serve as a financial incentive for partners to prioritize the manufacturer’s products over competitors’, ultimately driving revenue growth for both parties.

Furthermore, effective rebate management strengthens the bond between manufacturers and their channel partners. By establishing clear guidelines and providing timely payouts, manufacturers build trust and credibility, fostering long-term partnerships based on mutual success and collaboration. Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud includes robust functionality to support not only complex sales with CPQ but also rebate programming. 

 

Forecasting demand is pushing production lines to be more transparent

In the dynamic landscape of manufacturing, accurate forecasting is essential for optimizing production processes, managing inventory levels, and meeting customer demand. Production line visibility has emerged as a critical factor in achieving these objectives, allowing manufacturers to monitor and analyze production data in real time.

Real-time visibility into production lines enables manufacturers to identify bottlenecks, optimize workflows, and allocate resources more effectively. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as cycle times, downtime, and yield rates, manufacturers can proactively address issues and improve overall operational efficiency. 

Moreover, production line visibility facilitates better demand forecasting, enabling manufacturers to anticipate market trends and adjust production levels accordingly. By integrating production data with sales and inventory data, manufacturers gain a comprehensive understanding of supply and demand dynamics, allowing them to make informed decisions and respond quickly to changing market conditions.

Manufacturing is undergoing significant transformation in 2024, driven by the adoption of CPQ solutions for sales management, the use of rebate management to drive partner sales, and the emphasis on production line visibility for better forecasting. By embracing these trends and leveraging technology to enhance processes and capabilities, manufacturers can navigate the evolving landscape and thrive in an increasingly competitive market.

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