When it comes to manufacturing businesses, ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning systems are a popular and common way to manage operations through a centralised system. They are used to improve the efficiency of a business, combining business process reviews and optimisation led by technology that can enable slicker forecasting through the use of reporting, alerts, and workflows to control the flow of information and data.
It is important to remember that effective ERP software solutions will incorporate a CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, system to allow you to further develop your business and customer base.
Integrated ERPs give you a range of tools to control every department in your business from one place. An in-built CRM system is a key part of any lean manufacturing process, and with the ideology that aims to maximise production and minimise waste, leads to lower costs of operation and better production quality. With the added benefit of having the details of customer interactions logged from the past, present and any future requirements helps you to forward plan and deliver greater levels of efficiency.
What is a CRM system?
CRM systems are designed to assist with account management activities as well as the processing of leads and the development of sales. They allow for the analysis of recorded interactions between your customers and the business.
If you are looking for a manufacturing focused ERP software to improve your business, an integrated CRM solution is a must, as it can support the execution of multiple functions. This includes the ability to improve or plan new product development of the products and services your offer, all based on the data it logs over time. And of course, there is the added benefit that all of your teams can access the records and remain up-to-date and aware of all of the most important customer relationships.
What are the long-term benefits of an integrated CRM?
With the manufacturing industry sectors so vast and wide ranging in what they do, there is a multitude of benefits that can be gained from integrating CRM with your wider production and business management software. Sectors that have the most to gain, but ERP is not limited to, include the industrial, process, furniture and food manufacturing streams, but how do they benefit from integrated ERP and CRM systems and why?
Enhanced quote and order management
With the integration of an ERP with CRM, a business can provide quotations to customers that are based on information logged in the CRM, enabling the user to access current and historical customer data, including shipping obligations, scheduling, material costs and more, to provide precise assessments of job length and scope.
By integrating your CRM in ERP production software, you can greatly reduce costs for your business. Integrated systems save costs as they remove the need to create links when trying to integrate numerous types of software, which will each come with their own cost base when using different providers for each and can end up becoming very costly to manage. On top of this, there will be even more costs when you need to train your teams or new starters. With an integrated system provider, your business can save as its one cost for one system.
Improved customer data analysis
ERP software solutions help you run the back end of, and manage, your business and its operations, from invoicing, purchasing and finance, to assembly, shipping and delivery, whilst CRM software solutions allow you to track the front-of-house departments such as those focused on marketing, sales and customer support. By integrating the two sides, production planning can be optimised through greater analysis of customer activity, which can be used to improve future orders and services.
What are the advantages of multiple departments having access to real-time CRM data via an integrated solution?
There are numerous advantages to enabling multi-departmental access to an integrated ERP with in-built CRM solution, some of these include:
- Your sales team having access to customer complaints, queries and purchase history so they can use this data to improve and tailor their sales techniques and customer interactions
- Inventory management can forecast future orders based on historic customer ordering patterns
- All departments are able to run real-time reports based on customer data, enabling higher levels of transparency across the business
In short, it is important for your manufacturing business to stay up-to-date and to avoid using a disjointed approach to monitoring your business, if your current CRM that does not communicate with other areas of the business then this could signal the risk of areas that require improvements being concealed.
An ERP with an integrated or preferably in-built CRM module, alongside a range of modules designed to help run your business, saves you time, energy and money, therefore helping your business become more efficient and effective.
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