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In the manufacturing space, a long-standing belief is that access to the latest technology is what will differentiate your business from competitors. While this holds some truth, technological advancement isn’t the only thing that can keep your business competitive. You must also maximise customer engagement and offer the best customer experience (CX).

With CX being flagged as a “top priority” in 2019, it’s clear more and more manufacturers are realising this. Here are three examples of manufacturers who are focusing on customer engagement to improve their overall CX.

  1. Rolls Royce uses the latest tech to drive better outcomes for their customers
  2. Orangebox focuses on creating a single source of data truth
  3. Greg Rowe streamlines business processes

1. Rolls Royce uses the latest tech to drive better outcomes for their customers

Rolls Royce isn’t just a well-known luxury car manufacturer - they also manufacture aircraft engines and have been offering customers an ongoing maintenance service for over 20 years.

Now, airlines are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency and save costs (as are many other businesses). But in particular for the airline industry, they focus on ways to improve the efficiency of maintenance activities (the longer an aircraft spends on the ground, the more money it costs airlines) and optimise fuel consumption.

As a leading provider of aviation engine services, Rolls Royce knew they needed to analyse this market data and adapt their services to meet their customers’ growing needs. Enter Microsoft Azure.

Thanks to this intuitive platform, Rolls Royce combined the power of the Internet of Things (IoT), Azure Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Connected Field Service. Now they have the power to use the potential of predictive maintenance and drive better business outcomes for their customers and themselves.

Read the Rolls Royce story in more depth here.

2. Orangebox focuses on creating a single source of data truth

Orangebox is a UK-based market leader in the research, development, manufacturing, installation and service of workplace seating and other furniture. The manufacturer was struggling with losses in productivity and efficiency due to their disparate systems.

As these systems weren’t integrated, it wasn’t always possible to store the details of an end-to-end customer journey in one place. So data ended up being siloed.

The solution? The implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service. Combining this platform with the already delivered phases for customer service, sales and marketing put in place the last piece to create an accurate, real-time, centralised view of the customer.

This supports downstream activities, such as:

  • Visibility of delivery progress using GPS and ETA data
  • An indication of stock levels at the site
  • Job completion signature capture
  • Ability to flag issues with video/photographic evidence collection
  • Almost real-time automated communication to head office on job progress
  • SharePoint integration for instant access to job-specific project plans, floor plans, and instructions

All thanks to a tight integration between Orangebox’s order entry and Material Requirements Planning (MRP) solution with Microsoft Dynamics 365. If you’re a manufacturer who provides field service, it’s important to invest in the right solution to meet your needs. More on that here.

Read about Orangebox’s journey to data centralisation via the button below.

Read the full case study on Orangebox here

3. Greg Rowe streamlines business processes

Greg Rowe Limited is a designer and manufacturer of award-winning kitchen taps (including its 4-in-1 kitchen tap, capable of dispensing boiling hot and cold flows of filtered water). After securing a supply and servicing agreement with a multi-national company, Greg Rowe expanded rapidly. That included their e-commerce business, which gathered more and more customers each month.

Eventually, that meant there was a need for better customer relationship management (CRM) and customer service. Their current legacy systems were fragmented, making data management a labour intensive and, therefore, a costly and inefficient process.

Greg Rowe chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM as the solution to overcome these challenges. Their next decision? To work with an implementation partner who had proven expertise in the manufacturing sector.

Dynamics 365 CRM unlocked the following benefits:

  • Management of customers is much more automated; there’s minimal human intervention in the processing of e-commerce orders
  • Access to real-time information has enabled more proactive and informed customer service, boosting customer satisfaction and retention

These successes gave them the breathing space needed to shift their focus and upgrade their ERP system to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP in the cloud. And with a CRM-ERP integration, Greg Rowe finally gained full control and complete visibility across the board.

Read the full case study on Greg Rowe here

Customer engagement should now be a manufacturer’s top priority

Manufacturing organisations are often behind the curve when it comes to implementing customer engagement (CE) technologies, as it’s now being called… and it’s understandable. Your focus has long been on ERP implementation projects.

That said, most manufacturers are now in pretty good shape ERP-wise and so can afford to raise their gaze and consider other areas of the business for improvements - like sales force automation, customer service and field service.

The beauty with CE is, you can start small, at low cost, low risk and grow into it from there. Another bonus is that ROI is easier to measure and it doesn’t even matter what ERP you have!

Brilliant!

There's more to customer engagement...

These three case studies might have whetted your appetite and motivated you to boost your customer engagement. There are several considerations to keep in mind, such as the areas of your business to focus on and the technology you can adopt.

But most importantly, every decision you make should revolve around your customers. What are they expecting? How can your new CE technology (for example) help you better meet those needs? 

Discover what the 21st century customer is expecting when it comes to customer service and experience in our visual graphic. We've analysed and compiled the latest industry statistics into one visual resource. Download it below.

What's the impact of a CRM tool on your customers?

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Your CRM system centralises your customer data so finding what you need to personalise customer engagements can be fast and easy. Your ERP system centralises your back-office data so again, finding what you need can be fast and easy. Integrate these two systems and you can centralise the data from both of these systems.
Having been involved with ERP over a number of years from a customer perspective, I’ve seen how the right ERP solution can help transform the way a business performs and brings all the relevant data and processes together under ‘one roof’. 
In a recent report we released in association with the Retail Gazette, over 110 organisations from their UK readership were surveyed. It was found the retail industry had seen the equivalent of five years of change over the 12-month period of this pandemic.
How well do you think your business knows its customers? Did you know the answer to that may well stem from your ERP-CRM integration? After all, your ERP system will help you manage your back-office activities while your CRM focuses on your front-office. So, an integration will allow you to access the right data at the right time.
An ERP and CRM system may both centralise data, eliminate siloes and boost the efficiency and profitability of a business. But they’re not the same thing. The biggest difference is an ERP system can manage back-office tasks to help you reduce overheads and improve process and cost efficiency. It is the official and legal transactional system of record for your business while a CRM system, which manages front-office tasks to help you boost sales volume, is not transactional in the same way.
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