Philips Lighting had an intriguing opportunity on its hands—selling a lighting system to a brand new office building. This wouldn’t be any ordinary lighting system, however. This one involved smart lighting similar to what Philips used at a 40,000 square foot office building in Amsterdam called The Edge. That lighting system features special sensors that can collect data on temperature, light levels, and more. It even allows employees to control temperature and lighting immediately around their desks. It’s cutting edge technology one manufacturer used to help sell their products as superior to the competition. Similar trends are having a major impact on sales within the manufacturing industry. Knowing what they are can help businesses adapt to these changes and take full advantage of them.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the trends that are having the biggest effect on sales, according to the Salesforce for Manufacturing: How to Grow Sales Faster in the Customer Era report. Those trends include the growth of the Internet of Things, the spread of 3D printing technology, major shifts in manufacturing business models, the adoption of CRM systems, and the rise of intelligent manufacturing.
Trend #1: The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is perhaps the most transformative change happening in the entire business world, including the manufacturing industry. According to Forbes, the IoT market is expected to reach a staggering $267 billion by the year 2020, and about 50% of spending on the IoT will in part be driven by manufacturing. By using the IoT within their products and equipment, manufacturers can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and generate more innovation, all of which can drive up sales. Using the IoT also allows for more aftermarket support, which helps manufacturers keep track of equipment and products. This can increase their customer base. By improving customer relationships and utilizing the advantages of connected devices, the IoT provides a big boost to sales for manufacturers.
Trend #2: 3D printing technology
Another rapidly evolving technology helping manufacturing sales is 3D printing. From a pure cost standpoint, 3D printing can end up less wasteful and expensive. Duncan-Parnell states that up to 70% of the material used in traditional CNC manufacturing winds up as scrap. This is something 3D printing avoids by only using the materials necessary to make the product, but the benefits go beyond that. The technology can help manufacturers test prototypes more quickly. It also means manufacturers can produce items whenever the demand calls for it instead of trying to anticipate what demand might be in the future. 3D printing can also lead to more local production of items, thus eliminating the need for large warehouses to store surplus goods. This developing technology will play a significant factor in manufacturing sales for many years to come.
Trend #3: Different business models
Manufacturing business models are also facing a significant shift. Traditionally, most manufacturers would employ B2B business models, but that thinking is transforming over time. Now, some manufacturers have opted for a model which allows for more sales directly to the consumer. Some of the advantages of this approach include more control over the manufacturing brand, more control over prices, higher profits, and faster time to market. More manufacturers are also adopting an equipment-as-a-service model. This is where consumers only pay for the equipment they use and for how long they need to use it. The use of varying business models means different avenues for gaining sales.
Trend #4: CRM systems
Manufacturing companies are also seeing improvement in sales thanks to the increased use of CRM systems. One manufacturer, GlobalFoundries, was facing challenges in delivering products in a timely manner, along with achieving its business goals. Only after migrating its CRM system to Sales Cloud Lightning from Salesforce did it have the technology to automate the order process and streamline distribution. Easier management of the sales process leads to better productivity and more accurate orders. As more manufacturers adopt CRM systems, they’ll see a positive impact on their sales numbers.
Trend #5: Intelligent manufacturing
Another trend affecting sales is the rise of intelligent manufacturing. This technology involves the use of artificial intelligence combined with other advanced processes, leading to higher product quality and more efficient use of resources. Intelligent manufacturing improves communication between people and the equipment they use. One result is the ability to produce customized products with the type of efficiency usually reserved for mass production. With an improvement in customer relations, sales predictably feel a more positive impact all thanks to intelligent manufacturing.
Time to prepare for the future
These trends will continue to have a significant effect on sales for manufacturers around the world. As more manufacturing companies use the Internet of Things, adopt 3D printing, explore different business models, utilize CRM systems, and experiment with intelligent manufacturing, they’ll see the overall impact this direction has on the sales process.
Knowing the trends will help all manufacturers prepare now for what the future holds for the manufacturing industry, but not everyone knows where to get started. At Simplus, we understand what holds manufacturers back from accommodating these trends in your sales processes, and we have countless customer examples on how we have helped.
Does this sound like the type of journey your organization would like to be on? Reach out to our team here at Simplus to discuss how we can make complex things simple.