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Salesforce launches ‘Manufacturing Cloud’ to help align sales with operations

Salesforce has launched a new service called “Manufacturing Cloud”, which the company says enables companies to align their sales activities with their manufacturing operations.

Salesforce is one of the world’s leading customer relations management platforms, and the company says its new industry offering allows manufacturers to strategically plan to meet customer commitments and better react to market changes.

Salesforce has collaborated with major manufacturing and sales companies through the product pilot program, including Kawasaki Motors, Hitachi Chemical, CF Industries, Mipox, Gelita and more.

Cindy Bolt, SVP and GM, Salesforce manufacturing, says: “In the manufacturing industry, changing customer and market demands can have a devastating effect on the bottom line, so being able to understand what is happening on the ground is imperative for success.

“Manufacturing Cloud bridges the gap between sales and operations teams while ensuring more predictive and transparent business, so they can build deeper and more trusted relationships with their customers.”

Salesforce says the manufacturing industry depends on predictability, as its capital-intensive businesses often have complex physical operations that cannot be quickly or inexpensively modified to meet changing customer demands.

Unfortunately, operations teams aren’t always aligned with sales reps to ensure they have a single, real-time view of all aspects of their customer relationships.

Critical customer insights are siloed across spreadsheets and multiple ERP systems, which can negatively affect service level agreements, account performance and ultimately the ability to accurately predict demand.

The resulting inventory stockouts, buildups and warehousing costs reduce operating margins and negatively impact revenue.

In order for manufacturers to provide a seamless customer experience, they need a solution that helps them better understand customer needs while improving visibility across the entire value chain.

Salesforce has partnered with a number of companies who helped develop, and can extend, its Manufacturing Cloud. They include Accenture, Acumen Solutions, Deloitte, and Rootstock, a provider of an enterprise resource planning platform.

Reid Paquin, research director for IDC manufacturing insights, says: “At its core, the problem sales and operations planning had tried to solve and continues to try to solve is a lack of coordination between business functions.

“Manufacturers tend to operate in silos, resulting in less-than-optimal achievement of KPIs and stresses the business’ ability to achieve its revenue and profit target.

“Digital transformation dictates that planning decisions be made with a 360-view using near-real-time information on demand and consumption.”

Andy Schoka, managing director of manufacturing at Acumen Solutions, says: “Our customers have a clear desire to align sales forecasts with their core sales and operations planning demand and production planning functions.

“We can’t wait to see Manufacturing Cloud give manufacturers a huge boost in tackling these challenges.”