This blog is part of a three-part series on how cloud ERP enables manufacturers to achieve operational excellence. In the series, we also cover how cloud ERP helps manufacturers improve cash flow by providing accounting visibility and drive companywide value through adoption and digitization.
These topics and more are covered in our Achieve Manufacturing Excellence with Cloud ERP: A Practical Guide for Small and Midsize Manufacturers.
Customer experience is the watchword showing up everywhere in business communications and in the board room. It has its own hashtag and abbreviation #CX. Most importantly, customer experience is showing up in C-suite titles and roles: Chief Customer Officer, Chief Client Officer, Chief Customer Experience Officer or Executive Vice President for Member Experience, according to the Harvard Business Review. Analysts are joining in:
- A Walker study reported that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the end of 2020.
- Gartner calls customer experience the new battlefield, with 80 percent of companies expecting to compete mostly or completely based on customer experience by 2020.
Source: PwC Report, Experience is Everything: Get it Right
Chief Customer Experience Officers are tasked with countering the miscommunication, poor employee engagement, and problematic company culture that can doom customer experience.
The most successful customer experience leaders are attuned to the satisfaction levels of their customers. They know that it requires far fewer resources to sell to an existing customer than it does to track down new business and build a relationship from the ground up. Where quality and on-time delivery were once competitive advantages, today they are simply table stakes to enter the global economy. Customer experience is now the key differentiator in a competitive market.
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
– Warren Buffett
Business leaders are familiar with the concept of customer service. But in the age of smart phones and the always on e-commerce marketplace, customer service (a reactive model when help is requested) has been replaced with the more encompassing name customer experience. It’s the end-to-end, recurring lifecycle of a customer’s experiences with your product, your personnel, even with your production processes.
As manufacturing and distribution businesses adjust to customer expectations for product personalization, rapid response times, e-commerce and mobile applications, visibility into real-time processes is essential.
In the digital age, data, whether it’s delivered by artificial intelligence (AI) or a human being, is the key to a positive customer experience.
For example, a customer might contact you with a revised deadline or a rush job. Can you turn it around in time? Customers might need to change the quantity or the kitting of your product on the fly. How do you respond?
With cloud ERP you have easy access to the exact information you need to give an accurate and rapid reply, knowing the material you have on hand, machine availability, impact on downstream scheduling, and so on. Accessible, accurate, real-time data has turned the plant floor into a touchpoint for extraordinary customer service.
How to Create the Best Customer Experiences with Cloud ERP
The shop floor has become the focus for enterprises hoping to extend extraordinary customer service. That’s why manufacturers and distributors need ERP to monitor and control the shop floor if they are to meet or exceed customer expectations in an increasingly competitive global market. Shop floor execution solutions built into end-to-end manufacturing cloud ERP connect production operations with business processes. They reduce costs, increase margins, and, importantly, satisfy customers with the timely delivery of quality products.
How does ERP promote top-notch customer experiences?
Scheduling: ERP streamlines how capacity is utilized and reduces production downtime. It prioritizes, tracks, reports on and manages real-time shop floor activities, including: calculating work in progress, ensuring that machines are up and running efficiently, tracking actual inventory levels, and more.
Resource management: Because it standardizes the production process, manufacturing ERP delivers optimal resource management with enhanced visibility into shop floor operations. It lowers cycle times, offers a 360-degree view of the entire supply chain, and delivers real-time status updates of machines and resources.
Product Trace and Track: ERP improves the output of finished goods by tracking raw materials and production consumption. It delivers quality by supplying product genealogy to meet industry standards and compliance requirements. Industry-specific ERP creates an automatic document trail of every change made within the system, saving time and money during compliance audits.
Read more about how ERP with shop floor execution software supports happy customers.
Haven Manufacturing of Brunswick, Georgia is a full-service design and manufacturing company that specializes in the production of machinery and equipment for the metal tube processing industry. With its make-to-order and make-to-stock processes, the company understands how vital operational visibility and streamlined processes are to its financial health and superior customer experiences.
The company implemented OptiProERP to gain process visibility and better reporting options for decision making and forecasting, and to streamline its operations. With its end-to-end manufacturing ERP in place, Haven is achieving efficiencies in sales, engineering, purchasing, production and shipping processes ─ all of which result in customer satisfaction and retention.
We picked OptiProERP over the other solutions because it meets our needs for our make-to-order, engineer-to-order and make-to-stock operations. It’s the complete answer we’ve been looking for.
– President, Steve Thiry, Haven Manufacturing
Questions to Ask in Your ERP Selection Search
Looking for the right product to improve overall customer experience?
Ready to automate processes and gain efficiencies and transparency?
Do you know which questions you should ask when reviewing ERP options?
Read our comprehensive guide, Achieve Manufacturing Excellence with Cloud ERP: A Guide for Small and Midsize Manufacturers