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Compete for customers by connecting CPQ to manufacturing process

By Debra Edlund-Lopez, ISV Channel Manager, FPX on August 15, 2017

Filed under Discrete Manufacturing

By now, most manufacturers understand that B2B buyer preferences have evolved with the ubiquity of B2C giants like Amazon, Netflix, Uber, and countless others. Previously, large manufacturers may have been able to avoid riding the trends that swept through the B2C world, but today, the user and customer experience (UX/CX) – not just product offering – drives buyer and user interest and loyalty.

To connect with buyers, manufacturers must distinguish themselves by delivering customer value (an undeniably elusive metric to quantify or qualify) in the form of an experience as opposed to strictly focusing on offering the best price. Enter modern configure-price-quote (CPQ) applications, which connect disparate internal systems and harmonize diverse data sets within a single solution. By creating a “master commercial definition” of the enterprise, manufacturers have a framework for consistency throughout every aspect of the manufacturing process, thereby reducing errors, improving flexibility, maximizing efficiency, and creating an improved experience for all users across all channels.

Data is the key to unlocking customer potential

A major component to solving the customer value equation is the ability of businesses to tap into the full potential of their big data. For manufacturers, this means capturing, managing, and distributing a complex ecosystem of customer data, product and pricing catalogs, business rules, logic, and innumerable other variables across all channels and touchpoints, such as direct sales, partners, vendors, and resellers, as well as ecommerce platforms.

This is a major undertaking for even small to medium-sized businesses – not to mention sophisticated global enterprises. Luckily, businesses have some incredibly powerful tools at their disposal. Today’s technologies allow manufacturers ranging from SMBs to enterprise organizations to harness the power of their data and deliver the personalized experiences that attract and retain buyers.

Of course, enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise asset management (EAM), and supply chain management (SCM) systems all have roles to play across various sections of the business, in sync with CPQ applications.

You’ve got the data; now how do you use it?

It’s not enough to introduce a powerful CPQ application or other resources and assume they will do the work. There needs to be a strategy focused around leveraging the power of these tools to develop a customer-centric culture across the company that relies on actionable data to shape product offerings, optimize pricing, create consistency across channels and better understand what your customers truly value from their engagements with your business.

The following cover three important criteria for connecting data, gathering insight, and taking meaningful action:

  • Connectivity is the key: Many manufacturing companies are structured around their products or business functions. Likewise, their essential resources like enterprise resource planning, enterprise asset management, and supply chain management are siloed and disconnected from one another. Without a clear, consistent, and comprehensive picture of the company’s data, there’s little opportunity to enhance the manufacturing process, products, pricing, or any other factors that contribute to the overall experience. The importance of bridging gaps across the entire organization can’t be stressed enough. With the right CPQ application, manufacturers ensure that sales, finance, solution engineers, suppliers, and others across the built-to-order or engineer-to-order process have up-to-date information and visibility.
  • Gather valuable insight: Gathering data from across the enterprise into a single source is just one part of the process. To have any meaningful impact, manufacturers must clean and rationalize their data to glean meaningful insights, including process inefficiencies, customer behaviors, demand forecasting, pricing optimization, and post-engagement opportunities. With data insights, manufacturers can develop strategies for improving efficiency and performance from end to end.
  • Take action on what is learned: With better access to information and the ability to draw meaningful insight, the next logical step is to take action on those insights. In the manufacturing industry, this could mean identifying opportunities to enhance operator productivity and efficiency; using data to bring greater visibility and control to supervisors on the shop floor; introducing new tools and resources that can automate the manufacturing process, such as product replenishment; and implementing processes for planning, execution, reporting, compliance, and follow-up to ensure improved quality and experience. For manufacturers, this customer value often comes in the form of providing customization and personalization, as customers are willing to pay a premium to get what they want how, when, and where they want it.

FPX unlocks the B2B omnichannel experience with its enterprise CPQ built on Microsoft Azure

Screen and mobile view

FPX CPQ enables Microsoft Azure customers to optimize buying and selling experiences across sales, partner, and ecommerce channels, resulting in increased revenue, higher profit margins, and enhanced loyalty and engagement.

As a mature Software-as-a-Service application built to run natively on Azure, FPX CPQ gives Azure customers the power to handle any level of complexity, the agility to advance commerce strategies, and the simplicity to seamlessly extend and enhance the capabilities of direct and indirect sales.

Azure provides the infrastructure and delivers built-in load balancing for FPX CPQ cloud services, creating highly available applications. With Azure, Locally Redundant Storage (LRS) provides durable and high-availability storage and a sense of assurance for business continuity.

With this infrastructure in place, manufacturers are able to deploy anywhere and grow their business across borders and through resellers. FPX CPQ gives manufacturers a competitive advantage thanks to a best-in-class, omnichannel CPQ solution with secure and scalable cloud performance.

Focus on KPIs to measure the success of your digital transformation

Successful digital transformation starts with transitioning away from outdated technologies and processes that encourage reactive responses to changes in the market or within the organization. Manufacturers must then leverage the power and agility of today’s digital resources to proactively manage complex processes across the entire supply chain.

With the improved functionality, scalability, and personalized experience that comes with leveraging these resources, leading companies should focus on the following four key performance indicators (KPIs) to further evaluate their digital transformation strategies:

  1. Customer acquisition: On average, companies that leverage CPQ are able to acquire new clients 5x faster.
  2. Sales growth: Many organizations experience an average of 28 percent revenue growth.
  3. Order accuracy: On average, companies see $1.25 million in reclaimed sales concession dollars.
  4. Process efficiency: Businesses frequently see 96 percent improvement in quote turnaround time.

Learn more about FPX CPQ, purpose-built for Microsoft Azure, on the FPX CPQ page on Azure Marketplace, or at www.fpx.com.

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