The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted businesses across all industries, and manufacturing is no exception. A survey by the National Association of Manufacturers revealed that 78.3% of manufacturers anticipated a financial impact this year, even at the beginning of 2020. To survive it, manufacturers need to think of ways to streamline their businesses.
Here are five ways that integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software can help you during these challenging times:
1. Get a 360-Degree View of Your Company and Customers
Combined, ERP and CRM provide 360-degree insight into your company and customers. For example, you can learn what your customers purchased in the past, what they might be purchasing in the future and if you have enough inventory and supplies to accommodate the demand. You can better gauge your spending, referral sources, profitability and loyalty – all from a single system. Imagine how improving your ordering process, inventory management and sales quotes can help your business survive during critical times.
Connect CRM to your ERP and update simultaneously without the tedious process of double data entry or manual comparisons. This results in faster billing, improved returns processing, money saved and greater responsiveness to customer needs.
2. Strengthen Relationships and Create Customer Loyalty
One key to survival during the pandemic is to strengthen customer relationships. Loyal, satisfied customers will not only purchase again; they will also tell others about you. When disaster strikes, you can use your CRM to find all your customers located in affected areas and send emails to let them know you are here to support them. You can anticipate the products that might be needed and let them know. Customers that know you have their back are highly appreciative and loyal.
3. Find New Opportunities
At their heart, CRM systems collect information about your customers and prospects, including company name, contacts, locations, purchase history, product interest, timing of purchases, etc. All of this data is gold to your company. You can mine your CRM data and uncover buying habits and indicators of future needs. CRM software will help you discover new opportunities hidden in your customer data. ERP will help you plan your resources around the new opportunities.
4. Bolster the Supply Chain
Toilet paper wasn’t the only item that disappeared off shelves when the pandemic hit. Manufacturers around the world overbought materials to ensure they had enough. The panic buying quickly exhausted the supply chain.
In an AutomationWorld article, Michael Larner of ABI Research said, “To mitigate supply chain risks, manufacturers should not only not source components from a single supplier but also, as COVID-19 has highlighted, shouldn’t source from suppliers in a single location.”
Every new supplier you engage with increases the complexity of managing the supply chain. With CRM and ERP integration, you can store all supplier details and contacts in CRM and link it to your ERP inventory and supply chain management functionality to more seamlessly manage supplier relationships and purchasing.
5. Respond to Economic Changes
The pandemic has made it clearer than ever before that the economy is unpredictable. The winners are companies that are flexible and adaptable. A connected CRM and ERP system gives you a full view into customer behavior, operations and the supply chain, so you can be nimble and make changes as needed.
Acumatica Cloud ERP and CRM Integration
Acumatica Cloud ERP – Manufacturing Edition is built for manufacturers. It has the ability to integrate its manufacturing, inventory management, supply chain management and finance management with CRM to support all departments across your business. Acumatica’s Manufacturing Edition is powerful and comprehensive and includes make-to-stock, make-to-order, engineer-to-order, project-centric, job shop and batch functionality.
With Acumatica’s ERP system and CRM integration, sales can submit new orders in CRM and link it directly to purchasing in Acumatica’s ERP. You can then ensure raw materials are there for production, manage manufacturing operations and track financials all along the way.
Flexible business processes will help you plan in good times and bad, including supply and demand planning, production scheduling and more.
Because Acumatica lives in the Cloud, you and your staff can access critical business management functions anytime and anywhere to support operational continuity and business resilience.