Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a game-changer for many small to midsized manufacturers, including job and machine shops. Some of these companies are also aware of the compelling business benefits of customer relationship management software. However, what most don't realize is the potential of one integrated ERP-CRM system is far greater than a simple equation of one plus one. When these two applications are put together, the visibility you have on your customers greatly exceeds what you would get if you used two separate programs, even those that are top of the line.
JobBOSS is cloud-based ERP software that contains fully native CRM capabilities. You can drill down into any customer data point that can affect operations. That can help with matters from making sure an order ships on time to improving overall operational efficiency. With the customer information you have on hand, you can determine matters such as order history, records for delivery, job profitability and payment terms. These factors can help you make the right decision with any customer. Having real-time insight is a great way to increase customer satisfaction overall. By tying together CRM functions to ERP software, a manufacturer of any size can focus on customers and compete effectively in the modern economy.
Defining customer satisfaction
Of course, what does customer service mean to a job shop or machining business? It's certainly different from more consumer-facing industries such as retail. Recently, JobBOSS went into great detail on this subject, asking questions on customer satisfaction that are unique and specific to manufacturers working in a business-to-business setting. Here is the list to ask yourself:
1. Do you know everything you should about your customers?
- A great way to improve customer service is to know what your customers do, want and how they act.
- Talking to them often is a good sign of a strong relationship, and builds your company's reputation.
2. Do you cheer when customers make last-minute design changes?
- Clients can be finicky in the design stage and may demand alterations, even in the midst of production.
- With effective CRM, it's easier to inform suppliers and employees of adjustments to the production process.
3. Do you keep your team and suppliers in the loop within seconds?
- Along with the ability to inform stakeholders about changes, they should have the ability to implement those changes immediately.
- You should not have to track down everyone for something as simple as a change in the thickness of a given part.
4. Do your quotes typically match actual production costs?
- With any alteration in an order comes changes in pricing.
- An accurate estimate based on historical data from leads times in setup, production cycle, inventory and subcontractors can make a difference in both profitability and satisfying customers.
5. Are you able to keep the shop on schedule and keep customers informed when it's not?
- The customers must be the first to know if there are any changes to the production schedule that could affect their orders.
- If not, great pains are required for smoothing out relations with them.
If you can answer yes to all these questions, you're well on your way to maximizing customer satisfaction through the combined use of CRM and ERP. Otherwise, it may be time to consider a new software solution such as JobBOSS.