Closing the books sounds deceptively simple, but it often gets far more complicated as any seasoned sales professional knows. In manufacturing, especially, various business models, deal types, and client relationships can make closing the books an all-out ordeal for multiple departments. Manufacturers are being pushed to become more meaningful and customer-centric. This brings with it the need to provide multiple options and methods to meet customers where they are, whether direct or indirect sales, made-to-order or made-to-assemble deals, or even manufacturing-as-a-service contracts. Naturally, the subtle differences between all these ways of selling can make reporting final numbers difficult for everyone involved.
But finalizing your manufacturing business’ financial statements shouldn’t be such a time-consuming production. In fact, not only is optimizing the close process a relief for your own good night’s rest, but it’s also critical for providing true sales stability for the company at large.
In this article, we’d like to dive in and take a look at exactly why an optimized close process is key for healthy selling and future growth in the manufacturing industry specifically, including changing data expectations, the ability to remove silos, and customer affordability.
Changing expectations due to the wealth and speed of data
One of the most apparent but critical reasons why a streamlined close process is essential is, well, people expect it. People expect actionable insights faster. The data era is upon us in full, and manufacturers are not exempt from the demands of customers and executives alike to use today’s speed and sheer quantity of data to provide answers faster. If decisions can be made based on closed books quicker, then they ought to be. Because if you’re not doing so, your competition is. Manufacturers who don’t leverage dynamic, fast data insights and instead rely on manual reporting are, studies estimate, only using at best 40 percent of their production capacity. And many manufacturing CFOs already understand the critical imperative at play here, as we’ve seen several industry leaders work on reducing the lag time between receiving data and performing a clear next step decision.
Ability to connect previously siloed departments
Another reason to make an optimized close process priority number one is the newfound ability you’ll have to collaborate across departments better. When the close process is lengthy, staggered, and tedious, it’s often because of data silos lingering in various business departments. However, a push to optimize will send a clear message that these data silos need to go and instead be replaced by a centralized, collaborative hub—something that can support a speedy, efficient close process. Other added benefits include improved data accuracy (in real-time), fewer data risks, paperless processes, and more control over the data environment. With optimizations happening across the board to systems and processes, ultimately supporting ongoing growth and closer collaboration between every front and back-office department, your sales function should experience greater stability than ever before.
Demand for more customer affordability
Finally, if there is one point manufacturers compete over the most, it’s more likely than not price. So whatever you can do to offer competitive price points for your customers, the better. Optimizing the close process means you’re cutting down on operational costs, which means you have more room to offer a competitive price point and win over more customers—critical to sales stability. Lowering operational expenses shouldn’t be the core motivation behind optimizing your close process, but it is a fortunate additional benefit to consider.
Optimizing the time to close is always top of mind for any industry’s leaders, but it’s made doubly complicated for manufacturers embracing multiple business models or types of deals across a wide network of partners, customers, and distributors. In order to keep this web of intricate sales details stable for your manufacturing organization’s bottom line, you’ll need to enlist the help of technology platforms that enable closer sales tracking and real-time collaboration between departments. Simplus is standing at the ready to get you started on such a path. Reach out today.