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Unlocking Success: Customer-Centric Strategies for Process Manufacturers

Unlocking Success: Customer-Centric Strategies for Process Manufacturers


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Unlocking Success: Customer-Centric Strategies for Process Manufacturers

Mar 26, 2024

Aptean Staff Writer
Man and woman grocery shopping down refrigeration aisle.

If addressing declining customer demand is your top priority in the coming years, you’re not alone. Our recent Manufacturing Trends and Outlook Report for North America revealed that 51% of manufacturers are also worried about keeping up with the ever-evolving customer preferences, which they see as contributing to declining demand.

Establishing your customer-centric goals and strategy could help keep that competitive edge as you produce high-quality products while maintaining strict compliance standards. To support these initiatives, process manufacturers are undergoing a digital transformation journey.

This blog will explore the customer-centric strategies your process manufacturing business should consider to help you thrive in your market. We will also identify the top industry-specific solutions that can help you strengthen relationships with existing customers and acquire new customers.

Businesses Should Consider Leveraging Data to Respond to Rapidly Evolving Customer Preferences

Decision makers in your industry believe that gaining new customers and improving relationships with existing ones are the two objectives they need to prioritize for the next three years. This is an attempt to stimulate demand in an uncertain economic climate. To achieve this, process manufacturers need to leverage data to support customer-centric strategies to boost profitability, mitigate demand fluctuations and optimize production, including inventory management.

The Manufacturing Trends and Outlook Report revealed data insights will prove critical to helping process manufacturers understand and keep up with their customers to achieve growth in the coming years. Actionable insights also empower those currently using artificial intelligence (AI), helping them gain a deeper understanding of and start predicting customer behavior.

The report also revealed process manufacturers are investing in technologies that could help them generate data-driven insights. Below are the top software solutions you may consider to future-proof your business.

Process Manufacturing ERP - Foundation for Achieving Customer-Centric Strategies

Usually, the first step in a digital transformation journey is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. An ERP serves as the foundation for process manufacturers’ digital advancement. With an industry-specific ERP, purpose-built for process manufacturers, you can leverage real-time data to better understand customer demand and the evolving trends and preferences.

An ERP system lays the groundwork for achieving customer-centric strategies in several ways, whether you want to strengthen existing relationships or target new segments:

  • Understand customer preferences

  • Enhance sales and marketing efforts

  • Improve customer service

  • Streamline order fulfillment

  • Accelerate new product development

Moreover, an industry-specific ERP provides you with a single platform that integrates core business processes, allowing you to manage finance, inventory, procurement and production, including complex formulations and recipe management. This also provides your organization with a single source of truth.

Hammond Group Exceeded Customers’ Expectations With Process Manufacturing ERP

Hammond Group realized the need for a new business solution to reduce operational costs while still focusing on customers. Known for having an excellent customer care reputation, the chemical company decided to implement a process manufacturing ERP. After the implementation, Hammond Group now has all the information it need to provide customers with the service and technical support they deserve.

“Aptean Process Manufacturing ERP has brought the company closer to the customers.”—Gerry Kaoukis, IT director, Hammond Group.

Implementing process manufacturing-specific ERP is worth considering if your current system no longer meets your business goals and you’ve set customer-centric strategies that you want to achieve. As your operations grow, your processes may become more complex, but with you can seamlessly integrate additional software—expanding your tech stack—whether you want to gain more customers or better serve existing ones while elevating your overall business operations.

Business Intelligence (BI) - Facilitate Actionable Decision-Making Processes

By the end of 2024, 91% of the respondents of the Manufacturing Trends and Outlook Report plan to invest in business intelligence (BI) to help them better understand customers and explore new revenue streams. This robust software provides real-time analytics that can enhance your business strategy. BI generates data-driven reports from various platforms and channels, allowing your team to react quickly to customer behavior without guesswork. This can help you identify patterns of consumer preferences, quickly resolve customer issues or adjust product parameters when needed.

Typically, BI is a standard module in a process manufacturing-specific ERP, allowing you to access essential information for making informed decisions, monitoring performance, identifying trends, showing key performance indicators (KPIs) and configuring reports based on your needs.

Aside from BI, you can integrate these other top software solutions into your ERP to leverage real-time data to help you strengthen brand loyalty and diversify your target market.

Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) - Ensure Reliable Production to Help Get Products to Customers on Time

You need to keep production capacity at a reliable, maximum level to ensure you can deliver customer orders on time. Investing in EAM is a priority for at least 35% of the manufacturers surveyed in our recent report.

With this software, you can keep equipment in top condition and increase operational reliability and efficiency, allowing you to ensure you meet production and delivery schedules consistently.

Expanding businesses like yours may consider EAM if your existing paper-based or manual processes can no longer meet your growing demands, especially if the equipment frequently fails or your maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) costs are too high.

EAM has automation features you need for work orders, parts procurement and asset maintenance schedules, including health and safety initiatives—giving you all the essential details of your fixed assets.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) - Provide Quality Products to Consumers

If your goal is to increase customer satisfaction, you need software that helps automate quality assurance checks. This ensures your customers receive products adhering to the high standards you’ve set. To achieve this, you need a solution that can help you maximize the efficiency and productivity of available machinery and personnel. That’s why 33% of surveyed manufacturers plan to invest in OEE software.

OEE is both a measurement and a software. As a key metric, you’ll be able to get insights of operational performance against planned production time. By aligning actual data with your schedule, you can gauge the current efficiency of equipment, identify recurring issues and devise optimization strategies for your processes.

As software, OEE is designed to capture the necessary data in all machinery and automatically compute the scores to help you determine areas for improvement whether to enhance performance of your equipment or processes. This also helps you immediately identify the areas where quality losses are taking place to avoid scrap and eliminate waste. Additionally, through increased visibility, an OEE solution can help you achieve production and quality assurance to deliver valuable products to your customers.

Because an advanced OEE solution is also integrated seamlessly into your equipment, you can leverage real-time information, allowing you to address problems before they occur or make informed decisions on the go.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) - Meet Customer Needs Better

Finding the right mix of specifications that will maximize your products’ appeal to better meet customer needs could be a challenge if you don’t have the right solution that helps you leverage real-time data.

As a manufacturer, you may know PLM as a practice that refers to managing products, processes and their related data from ideation to retirement. As software, PLM provides a unified database that enhances collaboration for all team members involved in updating or refining existing products and new product development (NPD). That’s why 32% of manufacturers are planning to invest in PLM solutions in 2024.

PLM software allows you to streamline the complex development process of product lines with excellent efficiency. This gives you the competitive edge you need in launching your latest products in the market, so you can meet your customers’ needs and gain new customers before your competitors do.

For a process manufacturing business like yours, robust PLM software offers highly specialized tools so you can be as efficient and agile as possible in demonstrating your brand’s ability to better meet customer needs and successfully launch new products.

Achieve Your Customer-Centric Goals With Aptean’s Process Manufacturing Suite of Solutions

Embracing digital transformation by implementing purpose-built process manufacturing software solutions can provide real-time data insights and help achieve your customer-centric goals.

To future-proof your business, partnering with a reputable solutions vendor is essential.

At Aptean, we offer robust, industry-specific software and we understand your unique business needs. Because our team of process manufacturing experts have decades of collective experience in your industry, we can give you invaluable insights to help you determine what modern technology you need to support your customer goals and propel growth.

Ready to achieve your customer-centric goals? Explore our blogs to learn more about how Aptean’s suite of purpose-built solutions like ERP, TMS, EAM, OEE and PLM, can help you achieve your business goals in the coming years.

Ready to start transforming your business?

We’ve got the specialized ERP solutions you need to conquer your industry challenges.

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