At Zero2Ten, we are constantly looking for ways to help Manufacturing Organizations improve the way that they market, sell and service their customers. We have written a number of blog posts on the topic and over the past 6 months we have come out with some additional ways to help these organizations supported by both the release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and the release of the Zero2Ten CRM for Manufacturing Solution that address common business processes that Manufacturing customers do every day.
In this blog post, I am going to focus on one key area that we see many manufacturers want to address and improve upon which is the process of getting more accurate forecasts back to their Manufacturing Operations of what customers are really going to buy versus the "Plan".
Improve Sales Forecast Tracking
We have taken the work we have done with a number of Manufacturing Customers on Sales Forecasting and have included it in our Solution. Overall, these customers are looking to improve the process of tracking their Forecasts for their products with current customers by Product, Region, Sales Rep and Time Period. In some situations, they also wanted to align these forecasts back to a Customer Program or even a major Contract that they had already won. What was critical in each situation was to get more real time and accurate forecasts back to the Manufacturing Operations to do better demand planning.
While many customers track this information differently, there are 3 common components to the process:
- Budget – This is the typically done annually and is the "Plan" for the year. Often times this Budget is put together by the Sales Management Team and is the summary of what the organization believes they will sell for the year broken down by product, region, rep, customer etc.
- Forecast – This is typically managed by the Sales Team and is consistently updated throughout the year to take into account new market or customer information.
Orders – This is of course the actual orders or deals that have come in for the year or time period.
In our CRM for Manufacturing Solution we have addressed a couple of key requirements that come up most often around this process:
Provide a way to easily create initial Budgets and Forecasts while combining Order information. Whether you want to take last year's information, push it out to excel, update it for the upcoming year and easily bring it back into CRM.
Analyze Budget vs Forecast vs Orders. Where are we doing well? Where are we behind? Visualize where the gaps are whether by product, customer or region. You can start at the highest view of the forecast and drill down or pivot by a number of variables to spot the gaps before they become issues.
Make it more convenient for the sales team to be able to update the forecast while they are on the road so that it is more reliable and real time. Allow the team to make updates directly from their Mobile Device.
Want to learn more about how manufacturing trends will impact your business? Download the Top Trends in Manufacturing and Their Impact on Current Business Models Guide.