Generation after generation, the manufacturing industry has evolved and spread across the world. As the industry has grown, tools and technologies have been created specifically for manufacturers, helping them improve processes and workflows.
According to McKinsey & Company, “The US manufacturing sector needs an injection of productivity, and companies cannot capture the demand opportunities described above unless they step up their game. New technologies will play a large role in determining whether they can compete.” In the same article, it was reported the McKinsey Global Institute found that the United States could increase annual manufacturing value up to 20% ($530 billion) over current trends by 2025. In order to be part of the group that increases value, manufacturers will need to look beyond traditional production activities and solutions.
When thinking of manufacturing and technologies, you might first think of touch interfaces or new simulation tools. And one wouldn’t be wrong in thinking these solutions could help a manufacturing company grow. But what about geolocation?
While geolocation may not be the first solution that comes to mind when a manufacturers’ director of operations or head of sales is looking for a new avenue to increase business, the inability to see beyond the “normal types of solutions” just might be the factor that holds them back.
First, let’s take a step back to look at a manufacturing company as a whole. While manufacturers focus a lot on their production line, as they should, geolocation tools can help the rest of the team working to make their company successful. While certain teams are tasked with designing and producing a product, there are multiple team working to find and keep customers.
Management & Operations
We’ll first take a look at a manufacturer’s management and operations team. Before their field sales team sets out to meet with current and prospective customers they need to build out their territories. Then, on a regular basis, it’s vital these territories are analyzed and redistributed based on the changing needs and goals of the team and the company.
Through the use of heat maps and/or thematic maps, geolocation solutions empower sales leaders with actionable insights to make better decisions. They can then coach their reps on where they should be spending time and where to best focus their efforts.
On the operations side, once a team’s territories have been assigned, distributing incoming leads becomes a much simpler, automated process thanks to the data already available in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system combined with the power of a geolocation.
Next let’s take a look at the field sales team. Now that they know what their territories are and where they need to focus their attention, we can now offer additional functionality like optimized routing. Your field sales team is, as the name implies, constantly out in the field and any time savings between meetings will ultimately impact your top and bottom line.
You want your sales team to be able to make as many visits as possible in the least amount of time possible. Therefore, you need a solution that can create optimized routes for your reps based on the data in CRM and make those routes available on their mobile device for increased efficiency.
Then, if a meeting cancels or ends sooner than planned, your sales rep can use their geolocation solution to see if there are any customers or prospects nearby to fill in the gap.
While your field sales team is out doing a great job with face-to-face meetings, your marketing team is working hard to bring in new leads as well as nurture your current customers. Which makes them ideal candidates for a geolocation tool!
Your marketing team has probably, on more than one occasion, needed to send a targeted email campaign. Whether it was promoting an event, announcing a product or introducing a sales rep.
With a geolocation solution, the creation of targeted campaigns can be reduced to just a few clicks on a map. By pulling contacts based on specific data sets, your marketing team can add the selected contacts directly to a campaign. Once the contacts are in the desired campaign an email can be schedule to send! No need to pull multiple reports and try to manually narrow down by state/city/ZIP.
Field Service Technicians can be a vital part of a manufacturer’s success. Regardless of how well a product is manufactured, regular maintenance will probably be needed and, therefore, you want to make sure your service technicians are working as efficiently as possible.
Like your sales team, you want your service technicians to be able to build optimized routes so they can visit as many customers as possible. Also like your sales team, you want to be able to include the amount of time each visit is going to take in this route. Ensuring every effort is made to prevent technicians from overcommitting to your customers and potentially having to cancel appointments because they tried to schedule more than they could actually visit.
As manufacturers continue to grow and the competition becomes more fierce, the solutions they choose to help improve their business processes and workflows can be the determining factor of who will gain the most market share.
To learn more about how geolocation can help boost your business, click below to read our blog post, How to Boost Your Business with Location Data: Manufacturing.