Historically, the operations side of business has focused on efficiency. Operational systems, including ERP, were put in place to increase productivity and decrease costs. While productivity is clearly important, serving customer needs at the operational level can drive sales and increase margins.
Break down department silos
The first step in taking a customer-driven approach to operations is to break down departmental silos. A fully integrated ERP system allows data to be shared across departments for analysis at the customer level instead of the department level. Through cross department analysis, youâ€™ll gain a better understanding of customer preferences and cross-sell opportunities. Use the information to:
- Identify the customers who use the products/services from multiple departments,
- Identify customers who only use a small percentage of your products,
- Look for trends in cross-department product purchases.
Everyone is in sales
The operations personnel who deliver the companyâ€™s products and services typically make up 60-80% of the organizationâ€™s workforce. Every one of them should be looking for opportunities to better serve customers. From service technicians to product designers to delivery drivers, each employee should be listening to customer input and delivering that information back to the organization through the ERP system.
That customer interaction feedback can be gathered directly through ERP or through an integrated ERP/CRM system. Opportunities to better serve customers may come in the form of:
- Services, like scheduled maintenance, that would keep machinery running better on the customerâ€™s shop floor,
- Lower minimum orders to allow customers to reduce inventory,
- Packaged services designed for specific customer groups.
ERP connects your business to your customer
A fully integrated ERP system will help your operational employees add more value to your customers and the company. Through analysis of the information gathered from customers and employees, you can recognize trends faster and respond to changing markets quickly.
Letâ€™s talk about how your operations can drive sales and margins.