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Building windmills: Leveling up your manufacturing service model

Dec 18, 2020 | Admin, Latest News, Manufacturing, Sales Cloud, Salesforce Billing, Salesforce CPQ, Service Cloud

An old Chinese proverb states that “when the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” Simplus’ team of industry experts is here to help our manufacturing partners build windmills. 

Whether you started 2020 with the best-laid plans for transformation and growth, there’s a good chance those plans changed. None of us expected a gray rhino event—a global pandemic that would disrupt supply chains, hinder growth, and have most of the globe scrambling for remote work strategies. According to a recent survey report by Copperberg, up to 65 percent of manufacturers polled now want to invest in remote diagnostics in the next 12 months. Where service was previously viewed as a “necessity,” not an offering to drive revenue and profits, our current landscape has changed that perspective. Designing new service business models is the biggest challenge now facing a quarter of Copperberg manufacturing respondents.

Manufacturers must reimagine products and services to remain profitable and future-proof their business. How do you get there? Where do you start? To understand how to best level up, let’s first identify the types of service models we see in manufacturing today.




Planned Service 

Nearly half of manufacturers today describe their service model as planned. They have a focus on equipment reliability and maintenance. However, by only focusing on equipment reliability and maintenance, manufacturers miss out on opportunities to address additional customer needs. These manufacturers could realize a competitive advantage if they looked to include predictive qualities to their service model—think forecasting customer needs through accurate data.

Reactive Service

Just over a quarter of manufacturers today implement a reactive approach to service. If you find yourself prescribing to the break/fix it philosophy, this is your service strategy. Unfortunately, employing reactive service in manufacturing likely means you aren’t integrating new technology into your daily operations. Again, manufacturers that rely on reactive service leave money on the table where additional service insights from a fully integrated CRM could provide service reps with historical data to provide customers with proactive or predictive service.

Proactive Service

Another quarter of manufacturers are actively offering proactive service. These manufacturers have integrated their systems for a more complete customer view. The focus here is on equipment availability (versus reliability), as well as potential failure detection. Proactive service models are definitely more sophisticated than their aforementioned counterparts, and manufacturers that offer proactive service can deliver customer needs faster while minimizing costs. 

Predictive Service

Our fourth and final service model is the holy grail of servitization for manufacturers. If you have achieved predictive service, it means you can focus on equipment productivity, full automation, and predictive analytics, and your customers benefit from faster service delivery, reduced costs, and potentially even faster time to market. Another big benefit to you is shifting service from a cost center to a revenue center. With access to a complete view of your customer from anywhere at any time, you add the ability to upsell or cross-sell during the service experience.


In reading the descriptions above, my guess is you immediately identified your current service model. And, if you are in the six percent of manufacturers that offer predictive service, our kudos go out to you! However, if you, like 94 percent of other manufacturers, find yourself reading from a playbook for planned, reactive, or proactive service, let’s dig into what it takes to get to the next service level and easy steps you can take to get started.



The time to provide next-level service is here, and the first step in going from a planned or reactive service model to something that can provide you greater insights is your CRM platform. Do you have the infrastructure in place today to accurately report and track the success of your (planned) newfangled service model? Salesforce has industry-specific tools that can help you lay the groundwork to realize quick wins out of the gate.


Manufacturing Cloud

Build the right CRM foundation for your business with Manufacturing Cloud by Salesforce. Manufacturing Cloud is a packaged solution that embodies the most common manufacturing-specific customizations to optimize revenue recognition related to your service business and beyond. As you look to scale your service operations, providing subscription-based, usage-based models, and more, you’ll want to make sure your tech stack (and integrations) support accurate tracking, reporting, and visibility across business units to show your success.

Revenue Cloud

If you are moving towards service as a revenue center, generating quotes and invoices is critical. While manufacturers have traditionally utilized their ERPs for this, those systems often lack the ability to quote and invoice both physical and service-based or subscription-based SKUs side by side—a functionality that has quickly become a necessity. With Revenue Cloud by Salesforce, manufacturers can streamline the entire quote to cash process. The platform integrates seamlessly with ERPs, allowing the manufacturers to further optimize their operations.  

Service Cloud

So you’re ready to expand your service offerings beyond a focus on equipment and maintenance. Manufacturers can leverage Service Cloud to catapult themselves to a proactive or predictive service model. Service Cloud users report 48 percent faster case resolution, 47 percent increase in service agent productivity, and a 31 percent increase in customer satisfaction. How are they doing this? Service Cloud features and benefits span case management, your field reps’ “workspace,” and service process automation.  


Case Management

— Use omnichannel routing to automatically match cases to the agent with the best skill set to solve them.

— Track customers’ assets, orders, support history, and more in one place for a complete view of their activity.

— Log notes instantly when customers call. Plus, manage calls from within the console without touching the phone.


Field Rep Workspace

— Get a 360-degree view of each customer by connecting data across departments and back-end systems into one space for your agents.

— Put productivity tools like macros, keyboard shortcuts, and ready-to-use templates at your agents’ fingertips.

— Use knowledge management to drive quick case resolution with recommended articles and optimized article search.

— Ability to quote in the field based on available time to promise (ATP) and what reps have with them at the time of service – this is converting your service center to a revenue center!


Service Process Automation

— Route optimization means your service agents spend less time on the road and more time assisting customers.

— Orchestrate workflows, create and update records, log calls, send emails, and more

— Recommend actions and guide agents through processes with dynamic and adaptive screens.

— Make it easy for your service agents to pick up where the customer left off and resolve the request at any point in the support process.


As you continue to review and assess your service model today, know that Simplus and Salesforce are here for you as trusted partners and resources. We have extensive industry knowledge from working with manufacturers across the globe to deliver proactive and predictive service. Our efforts are continuously supporting expanded service models and customer expectations of what service looks like in the new normal of masks and remote work. Contact us today to discuss your transformation!



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