March 19, 2024
Technology Solution Delivery

Mastering Manufacturing Sales Forecasting: Kenway Consulting Unveils the Power of Salesforce OmniStudio

In the dynamic world of global supply chains, accurate forecasting isn’t just a strategy—it’s a necessity. However, building accurate consensus forecasts can be cumbersome and challenging. Acquiring the holistic data needed to properly forecast typically involves multiple systems, individuals, and workflows, many of which are manual. Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud can help to consolidate much of this into a single platform with its suite of native forecasting tools. Yet, its real value lies in an often overlooked and underutilized feature which is a gamechanger for your forecasting needs: OmniStudio. Using Salesforce OmniStudio and industry/forecasting best practices, Kenway Consulting can help streamline your forecasting and optimize your demand-supply join-up. 

The Importance of Accurate Forecasting

Accurate forecasting is the foundation of effective supply chain management, driving efficiency, cost reduction, and strategic decision-making throughout the entire organization. Companies that prioritize and invest in accurate forecasting are better positioned to navigate market dynamics and achieve long-term success. 

The consequences of inaccurate forecasting are far-reaching, impacting both the bottom line and customer satisfaction:

  • Excess Inventory: Overestimating demand can lead to excess inventory, tying up capital and increasing holding costs. Unnecessary storage space and the need for promotional strategies to sell excess inventory at a discount impact profit margin. If your products have shelf-lives, this is even more painful. 
  • Stockouts and Lost Sales: On the flip side, underestimating demand can result in stockouts, where products are unavailable when and where customers are ready to purchase. This not only leads to lost sales but also contributes to customer dissatisfaction. Losing customers due to stockouts can have long-term consequences for a company’s reputation and market share.
  • Suboptimal Distribution: Accurate forecasts provide a basis for risk assessment and mitigation. Without reliable forecasts, manufacturers may struggle to identify potential disruptions, market fluctuations, or external factors impacting demand. This lack of foresight can lead to suboptimal distribution strategies, affecting the overall efficiency of the supply chain.
  • Operational Inefficiencies: A supply chain that operates based on inaccurate forecasts is inherently inefficient. Misallocation of resources, production delays, and challenges in meeting customer demand can erode the overall competitiveness and agility of a manufacturing operation over time.

    Accurate forecasting isn’t just a beneficial aspect of supply chain management; it’s a critical driver of organizational success. By investing in precise forecasting methods, businesses can optimize their operations, minimize costs, and enhance customer satisfaction. Ultimately, accurate forecasting empowers businesses to adapt to market dynamics, mitigate risks, and maintain a competitive edge in the manufacturing industry.

    Overcoming Data Integration Challenges to Optimize Forecasting

    Forecasting, if done correctly, relies on numerous data points, often coming from disparate systems. Your CRM may contain information on your accounts, opportunities (deals), pipeline, and latest activity. Your ERP houses historical sales, statistical forecast models, and forward-looking supply. Further complicating this, sales forecasts are often built on a platform external to both.

    While a full integration of systems can enhance the accuracy of forecasting, it can be costly and challenging to maintain. Organizations run into significant challenges upholding a single source of truth. Alternatively, navigating various systems and data sources comes with its own set of challenges:

    • Manual Forecasting: Sales teams and analysts may need to manually extract, transform, and load data between systems. This manual effort is time-consuming, prone to errors, and can impede the overall efficiency of the forecasting process. Inconsistencies in data between multiple systems can occur, leading to discrepancies in customer information, sales figures, and historical data. 
    • Delayed Flow of Information: The lack of real-time data synchronization between systems can lead to delays in accessing the latest information. This delay can impact the timeliness of decision-making and response to market changes.
    • Limited Visibility: Lack of visibility into the entire customer lifecycle and sales process is a common challenge. Sales reps and management may struggle to gain a comprehensive view of customer interactions, leading to suboptimal forecasting.
    • Data Silos: Separate systems can create data silos, where critical information is stored in isolated databases. This can hinder collaboration, data sharing, and a comprehensive understanding of the customer journey.

        Why Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud? 

        Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud (MC) positions itself as a hybrid CRM/ERP. In addition to offering Salesforce’s user-friendly core capabilities, MC also brings forecasting capabilities such as Advanced Account Forecasting and Sales Agreement Management. Forecast calculations can be tailored to meet requirements from different business units and forecast periods can be easily adjusted leading to an insight-drive. 

        For many organizations, especially small and medium sized businesses (SMB), this is an intriguing combination. It’s lightweight enough to be managed with minimal internal resources yet robust enough to replace tech-heavy ERP’s. However, in the instance where more robust capabilities are needed, such as advanced forecast models or detailed supply network planning, Manufacturing cloud has an additional capability which helps organizations that require both CRM’s and ERP’s. Salesforce OmniStudio, which is included in the Manufacturing Cloud license, is a collection of powerful digital engagement tools used to create apps, custom components, and guided experiences.

        Imagine you use Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud for its CRM capabilities and a separate system for forecasting. Sales reps are often blind to the level of detail that an ERP/forecasting module can deliver. But with OmniStudio, you can easily connect systems and expose valuable data points to the people who are closest to your customers: Sales Reps. In the context of forecast enablement, here’s some powerful examples of what you can do with OmniStudio in Manufacturing Cloud:

        Allow for real-time data write-backs to other systems directly from Manufacturing cloud:

        • Allow Sales Reps to create a forecast uplift directly from Salesforce and write back to your ERP

        Dynamically display messages in Salesforce based on external data:

        • Create a notification for sales reps when a SKU is out of stock
        • Display real-time inventory count for SKU’s that are being discontinued
        • Support compliance and regulatory requirements by alerting sales reps when products can be sold in specific regions 

        Surface data points from external systems in Manufacturing Cloud:

        • Surface statistical forecast to sales reps
        • Surface historical product sales (1 year prior, 3 years prior, etc)
        • For new product launches, display historical sales of product launches of similar products
        • Surface historical sales of similar product promotions to improve the accuracy of pending promotion uplifts

        Best of all, this can all be done with clicks, not code, eliminating costly integrations and preventing technical debt. It’s also worth noting that OmniStudio is also available at no cost for Health Cloud, Financial Services Cloud, and CPQ +. If you are using any of these platforms as an input to your Sales Forecasting, OmniStudio can still be leveraged in the above fashion, despite not having some of the forecasting tools native to Manufacturing Cloud.

        Unlocking Success: Embracing Cloud Solutions in Manufacturing with OmniStudio

        96% of small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the manufacturing industry claimed to have moved a part of their operations to the cloud in the past year. In response to the growing need to adapt quickly with the changing market trends, businesses are adopting the tools and technology that will help their teams stay future-ready. Salesforce’s Manufacturing Cloud, coupled with the power of OmniStudio, equips your team with the tools needed to navigate the complexities of forecasting, demand planning and customer engagements. 

        Embrace innovation, accuracy, and efficiency in your manufacturing business with Kenway Consulting, as we lead the charge in transforming the manufacturing landscape. Contact us to get started.

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