On the final day of Dreamforce 2022, manufacturing leaders from Simplus, Salesforce, and Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) met with nearly 50 additional leaders in the industry for a “breakfast and bubbles” discussion on digital transformation. We were delighted to have the firsthand experiences of Robert Roe, VP, IT Enterprise, Commercial and Service Solutions at JCI, and Michael Janney, VP, Industries at Salesforce, take center stage and guide the conversation.
We walked away with some great new insights, takeaways on the future of digital transformation for manufacturers, and how JCI has succeeded with Salesforce so far. You can catch the highlights below!
Insights from the JCI journey
To kick off our Dreamforce manufacturing breakfast, JCI shared their Salesforce journey to date and how they leverage the platform. Optimizing their channel partner experience and streamlining multiple channel functionalities through a commercial portal to drive a more optimized experience has been top priority. With at least 63.5 percent of companies using channel partners to contribute to their revenue, manufacturers can’t afford to neglect the partner experience. JCI emphasized the importance of being able to view and manage price information, entitlements, product and shipment updates, as well as providing partners visibility into legacy orders in one central location. Equally important is ensuring integrations with third-party systems that allow for an even fuller understanding of customer needs, such as SMS messages about shipments and transportation or warranty management.
Digital transformation advice for other manufacturers
David Rivas, SVP North America Manufacturing at Simplus, shared the repeating Simplus approach for transformational projects, especially in manufacturing: crawl, walk, run. “It’s all about understanding where you are on your journey and then focusing your transformation on the next right initiative,” he said.
For example, some manufacturers will determine that focusing on quote-to-cash processes is the next right initiative because it’s a great starting point for streamlining operations and adopting digital tools. Or, for more mature organizations, the next right initiative may mean creating a portal to focus closely on partner experience and empower those channels.
Whatever the next right initiative may be for your organization, all discussion participants heartily agreed on the importance of having a “north star vision” to guide the transformation through every stage. This includes creating stakeholder alignment at all levels and a roadmap that spans months (if not years) to continually invest in the people side of change across all functions (sales, service, marketing, etc.).
How digital transformation really means data visibility for manufacturers
Digital transformation has so far pushed manufacturers to become more demand, customer, and service-driven in their operations. On the business side, this ultimately boils down to data sharing and interconnectedness. Leaders at the breakfast discussion shared some of the reasons this emphasis on data is the greatest impact for manufacturing leaders to adapt to:
- Data sharing creates an opportunity to glean more actionable insights and understand the customer more fully.
- Data visibility is the make/break difference between subpar customer experiences and valuable loyalty-building experiences.
- Advanced technologies are creating more data gathering opportunities, such as remote monitoring, proactive service, etc. that can raise the bottom line significantly.
Predictions for the industry
During our breakfast discussion, leaders connected over four shared predictions for manufacturing priorities in the face of digital disruption over the next several years, including digitally connected supply chains, extended reality with 3D factories and machine learning, customer-centricity, and sustainability.
Of particular focus was the pivot to greater customer-centricity in manufacturing. Leaders all agreed that manufacturing will have to pivot to be more customer demand-centric in a few short years if not already. This means pushing the traditional tiered manufacturing model out and instead creating a more flat model with access to all stakeholders in the value chain, from distributors and contractors to influencers and customers.
Thank you to JCI and Salesforce for joining us and sharing your insights. We look forward to continued innovation and driving toward more extraordinary partner and customer experiences on all channels together.