Improved customer focus is key to maintaining the momentum of UK manufacturing recovery

By Glen White
Manufacturing firms must take a more customer-centric view of their businesses as the UK manufacturing sector begins to recover from a period of slow gr...

Manufacturing firms must take a more customer-centric view of their businesses as the UK manufacturing sector begins to recover from a period of slow growth, according to Advanced ConsultCRM, a provider of business applications and services.

Activity in the sector reached a four-month high in November 2014 after solid domestic demand offset weaker orders from overseas markets, a survey has indicated. The Markit / CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI, an industry leading survey which analyses output, orders, employment and prices, grew to 53.5 in November 2014 from 53.3 in October 2014. This indicates continued growth in the sector.

Simon Fowler, Managing Director of Advanced Business Solutions comments, “Although the rate of expansion is a positive development, it remains below the levels seen at the start of 2014. These remain challenging times for UK manufacturing firms, with many still needing to prioritise resources into successfully growing their sales pipelines.

"CRM technology can assist manufacturers to more effectively manage their entire sales process from initial enquiry through to product delivery, and providing a consistent view of every customer. This is key to providing high quality aftersales support, improving customer retention levels and securing all-important repeat business."

Leading CRM solutions, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM include integrated reporting tools that provide powerful business intelligence analysis. This enables management teams to identify customer buying patterns and predict their future needs to generate more profitable opportunities. CRM helps manufacturers collate and analyse customer feedback about products and services and use this information to develop successful marketing strategies.

In addition, integration between CRM and a company’s website provides e-commerce functionality which automates many time-consuming manual activities including sales order processing and order fulfilment.

CRM solutions can also be integrated with accounts, ERP and document management systems in order to consolidate sales and product information. This enables operational, financial, service and sales teams to improve collaboration by using a single source of customer information, even when they are geographically dispersed.

“Although there is a growing awareness of CRM’s business benefits, there are still many companies which need to invest in this platform if they are to increases sales and maintain their competitive edge. CRM is a vital tool that brings together sales, marketing and customer services in order to help manufacturers identify and generate new revenue streams, ” Fowler concludes.

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