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Manufacturing organisations are often behind the curve when it comes to implementing Customer Engagement (CE) technologies, as it’s now being called… and you can’t blame them for that! They’ve had their heads down and been focused for years - implementing essential, complex, high investment Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) business improvement 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. Areas such as Sales Force Automation, Customer Service, Field Service, and Marketing.

All of these areas now constitute what is now known as 'Customer Engagement' (CE), and the beauty is, you can start small, at low cost, low risk and grow into it from there. Nice!

Another bonus is that Return on Investment (ROI) is easier to measure and it doesn’t even matter what ERP you have!


So, perhaps now is a good time for you to take a moment to catch up on this, find out where all this is going and consider the options available for your organisation.

What have other manufacturers been doing?

1. Rolls Royce

Rolls Royce (RR) is a well-known luxury car manufacturer and it also has a very successful business in aircraft engine manufacturing. With more than 10,000 engines powering more than 50,000 flights around the world each month, RR has been offering customers an ongoing maintenance service for over 2 decades. RR is a well-documented case study of a manufacturer using Microsoft technologies to innovate and improve, with many Videos and studies available in the public domain. In this short piece we are highlighting its use in a Field Service scenario.


Today’s manufacturing business model is changing and leading firms are moving toward selling a bundle of goods, services, support and knowledge services instead of just selling products. This is the digital transformation we know as ‘servitization’. It offers the promise of better customer outcomes, improved operational efficiency and, of course, new profitable revenue lines for manufacturers.

By combining the power of the Internet of Things (IoT), Azure Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Connected Field Service, Microsoft is enabling companies like Rolls Royce, to leverage the potential of predictive maintenance in order to drive better business outcomes for their customers and themselves.

The benefits of connected Field Service for Rolls Royce (RR)

Watch the 12 minute video here. 

In this video example, RR demonstrates how components join up to alert them to a potentially faulty fuel pump earlier than its next scheduled service interval. Also how they track the locations where the engine will be in over time so a suitable service window can be identified and the right Field Service engineer can be seamlessly scheduled and despatched with all the necessary parts to do the job, without causing any delays to the customer’s flight programme.

2. Orangebox

Orangebox is a UK market leader in the research, development, manufacturing, installation, and service of workplace seating and other furniture.

Their challenge

Orangebox relied on multiple systems to manage its customers, retain knowledge and provide management information. Due to these disparate systems not being fully integrated, it has not always been possible to store the details of an end-to-end customer journey in one place.

Introducing connected Field Service

Adding Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service with already delivered phases for customer service, sales, and marketing put in place the last piece to create an accurate and up to date single customer view.

Underpinning the solution is a tight integration between Orangebox’s order entry and Material Requirements Planning (MRP) solution with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service’s flexibility provided by out-of-the-box features enables the resource planning teams to straw-plan, match skills to jobs, publish and update schedules for field service engineers who utilise the Field Service app for a more intuitive and effective mobile experience.

Relevant information is readily available within the Field Service solution to support downstream activities, including:
  • Work order integration mapping order activity with Microsoft Dynamics 365, both as an initial insert and for amendments to the order
  • Journey and manifest data replacing the existing process of data export of delivery and consignment information
  • Providing visibility of delivery progress using GPS & ETA data
  • Robust integration solution catering for thousands of data lines, continually updated through an order’s lifecycle
  • Seamless synchronisation between Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service and the Mobile Client used by field operatives
  • An Indication of stock levels at the site
  • Job completion signature capture
  • Issue flagging with video/photographic evidence collection
  • Near real-time automated communication to head office on job progress
  • SharePoint integration for instant access to job-specific project plans, floor plans, and instructions

The solution’s functionality to match, schedule, and plan transport in relation to product requirements enables Orangebox to meet all site limitations, optimise loads and enhance routes. As a result, this facilitates improvements to overall efficiency, whilst also supporting track and trace processes through scanning.

Read the full case study on Orangebox here

3. Greg Rowe

Greg Rowe Limited is a designer and manufacturer of award-winning kitchen taps. Its 4-in-1 kitchen tap which dispenses not only hot and cold flows of water, filtered 100ºC boiling water, and filtered drinking water was the first mechanical 4-in-1 kitchen tap.

Keeping up with rapid growth

The company manufactures its taps for a number of household brands, as well as for its own QETTLE brand. After securing a supply and servicing agreement with a multi-national company, Greg Rowe expanded rapidly and their e-commerce business started to grow rapidly, collecting more and more customers each month which developed a need for increased customer relationship management (CRM) and customer service.

Their fragmented legacy systems made this a labour intensive and therefore a costly and inefficient process.

The solution: Streamlining business processes

Greg Rowe decided that Microsoft Dynamics CRM was the right solution to their challenges and chose to work with a Partner with proven expertise in the manufacturing sector.

They rapidly developed their CRM platform to enable the automation of manual tasks and continued to make great strides. This success 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.

Having seen the Microsoft Roadmap, Todd Rowe said, ‘We are now at the forefront of everything that Microsoft is doing – in the cloud, with analytics, etc. – which supports our huge growth plans’.

Management of customers is much more automated; there is 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.

‘It has finally given us full control, from the CRM level through to the recording of information into transactions at ERP level, joining up the whole circle’, said Greg Rowe.

Read the full case study on Greg Rowe here

Why not try a small Proof of Concept (POC) in an area of your business where the benefit has potentially high return for you?

If you need help, please get in touch with us here.

There's more to customer engagement...

These three case studies might have whet your appetite and you're feeling motivated 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. 

We've got just the thing to get you started - our ultimate guide to improving customer service and experience. Click the button below to read about the importance of service quality in creating the ideal customer experience, tips on how to improve customer service and more.

Check out our all-in-one resource

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