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Manufacturers Must Become Partners to Their Customers

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Globalization and manufacturing efficiency has led to manufacturers struggling to make money on selling products alone. Nowadays it’s the add-ons and services that put the “butter on the bread”, so to speak. Many manufacturers are selling products without any margins at all just so that they can benefit from the positive cash flow of the after-sales business.

Traditionally, the manufacturers that provide machinery and products for businesses are actually only touching a small part of the customers’ value chain. They sell the product and the rest is up to the customer.

This is unfortunate because through-out the manufacturers’ whole history they have been collecting and developing expertise about their customers and their processes. This knowledge can be put to good use if the manufacturer has true expertise and is willing to take a leap and deepen the partnership that they have with their customers. There are many variations of partnerships that can be formed.

Four Levels of Partnership

Level 1
Selling the product and letting the customer decide and control how to use and maintain the machinery. From the customer’s point of view, they are making a one time investment that needs to be maintained for its lifecycle.

Level 2
The manufacturer sells the product and is, from the very beginning, the partner for maintaining the product.

Level 3
The manufacturer sells the product and then takes care of everything for the customer; completely outsourced upkeep will allow the customer to focus on its core operations.

Level 4
At this level you do not sell a product, only an outcome. The customer will pay for how much they use the product or machinery.

Rolls-Royce’s “power-by-the-hour” would be a hallmark example of a Level 4 partnership. They charge the airlines based on hourly flight time, which allows the customer to control costs and make more accurate business decisions.  Another Level 4 example: Alstom provides a train for Virgin Trains and charges Virgin based on the amount of mileage (in this case, however, the train is actually owner by another company, not Alstom).

This is a level where profitability is the highest and the level of partnership is the absolute deepest, as it is a full cooperation between the customer and manufacturer (seller of the product machinery).

A Good Finnish Example

Konecranes is one company that is deepening the relationship with its customers by collecting and analyzing data for customers. Their mission is not just to help customers lift things, but lift entire businesses. With the data they are collecting, an understanding of the customer’s operations arises, which allows the customers to make better decisions. In this way Konecranes is forming a stronger partnership with its customers.

The Manufacturer Must Become aPpartner to Its Customers

In one way it is wrong to say that manufacturers must become partners, as there is no “must do” anything in a specific way in business. It is, however, a must if they want to remain in a profitable business and ensure their competitive edge in the marketplace.

Taking the Next Step Towards Profitability

If a manufacturer is interested in increasing profit margins, the best way to go about it is to analyze and decide how to deepen the partnership with its clients to provide more value in the entire value chain. What is the current level of the manufacturers expertise and level of service and where does it need to be developed in order to help ensure that they can help their customers more?

Answering this questions and following through by taking action will be the beginning of a journey to becoming a partner for customers.

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Commercial Excellence – What Does It Take?

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Let’s start off by looking at where the business world is going…

External Environment
-Customers are more independent than ever. Depending on which studies you look at it varies, but generally 55-75% of the purchasing process is done before contacting sales.
-Customer have more options than ever before.
-More channels than ever.
-Purchasing has been centralized and bigger groups are making decisions.

Inside the Organization
-Larger teams working on selling.
-Working remotely, across borders and time zones.
-Pressure to reach better results with less resources.
-Increased team work between departments.

These changes in the external and internal business environments have led to the need for commercial excellence. Making good products and services doesn’t cut it any longer. Without great execution, you cannot remain competitive and profitable. To me, this is what commercial excellence is all about.

Twenty years ago phone and face to face meetings + traditional mail and post-it notes were valid tools, until the first CRM revolution. CRM’s were used for logging activities and gaining visibility into the sales pipeline. However, some are still struggling with this and its not the sales peoples fault.

Living In a Customer Revolution

Now we are living in the year 2016 and no one can deny that we are operating in a customer revolution. Many industries have been changed forever, and many are still experiencing rapid change.

For a company to remain at the forefront of this customer revolution and practice commercial excellence, all departments and functions have to play together as one organism that serves and sells to the customer in unison. Some may speak about this as “the customer experience”.

In many cases the involved departments include marketing, presales, inside sales, field sales, product or service delivery and the service organization. Unfortunately all too often they have their tools, processes and goals split apart from each other, which hinders them from reaching commercial excellence.

Many companies take the route of moving to a standard CRM, with accounts, activities and logging deals to see their entire sales situation. Unfortunately this sales part is only one part of the picture, as the sales people are only one part of the customers’ journey and relationship with the company.

I’ll go ahead and say it directly: A standard CRM for logging and planning the activities of sales people is not enough for reaching commercial excellence any longer! It will take the whole organization’s skills and know-how to acquire and maintain profitable customer relationships.

Without enabling the whole organization to live in sync and utilize one main customer centric platform, a company can no longer reach commercial excellence, and therefore new levels of profitability.

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Manuel’s Report: LiveWorx Europe 2015

LiveWorx-manuel

 

A summary of the two-day event in Stuttgart, Germany focused in PLC products and specifically in ThingWorx, an IoT platform that monitors data received from close-to-machine sensors:

On 17th and 18th of November, some 2500 people gathered in Stuttgart (Germany) to attend LiveWorx 2015 – an event organized by PTC to which, according to official sources, doubled last years’ attendance.

The conference was about all-things-PTC, a big company that has a wide range of products for creating and testing models – from heavy machinery to consumer goods or energy industry. Some time ago, PTC had the vision that the future of all those items that their customers are making should be interconnected, proactive and intelligent. In short, they envisioned what we now understand as Internet of Things (IoT). This future is coming to life now with ThingWorx, a platform that brings all PTC products under the same roof and allows devices modeled with PTC products (they call them “things”) to be connected with other systems and become a source of data.

LiveWorx

BiiT was there, in Stuttgart, to learn about new ways to bring more value to our customers by integrating ThingWorx platform with Salesforce and ServiceMax. Here we also strengthened our links with ServiceMax as a partner and gained valuable knowledge and connections that will help us bring this integration to life.

On the first day we attended a very interesting breakout session by Mark Minnucci, Systems Engineering Domain Leader at Schneider Electric, and Mark Holmer VP Global Customer Transformation for ServiceMax where we could experience first hand a series of demos integrating Salesforce/ServiceMax and ThingWorx. In those series of demos, data from Salesforce and ServiceMax (specifically Cases and Work Orders) was brought into a ThingWorx dashboard representing devices spread throughout the US. Cases were automatically generated by each of the devices in the field capturing data via sensors. Each device was connected wirelessly to ThingWorx platform and constantly capturing and monitoring data. By setting up thresholds in ThingWorx you could trigger events that create Salesforce Cases.  

Another interesting feature showcased was a dashboard element showing the Cross-sell Opportunities generated automatically by each of those devices. For example: in the scenario of a company selling and maintaining printer machines, this would mean that the printer (the “thing”) would automatically notify ThingWorx (and Salesforce via ThingWorx) of a low ink cartridge and also the closest place to the printer where to get a replacement (wow!). Another practical example would be a business of inspecting elevators: the elevator (again, “the thing”), would automatically send a notification of malfunctioning parts and suggest the closest field service person that could fix it. In short: a world of possibilities.

Many other exhibitors were showcasing success stories about PTC products, including ThingWorx. In general, the talks were 50/50 technical and business friendly with a strong emphasis on IoT and the security on IoT, but overall a very exciting atmosphere to network with people from different fields showing different solutions for the same thing: connecting devices to the internet, obtaining data from them AND making sense of that data.

It really was an exciting experience to be part of LiveWorx 2015 and see in person what type of solutions are being built today around a concept like Internet of Things (which has been around for a while and seems it is taking off now).

We, at BiiT, are excited about the world of possibilities that an IoT platform like ThingWorx could bring to our customers, and we are ready to implement together a solution that brings even more value to them.

Kindest regards,

Manuel González (BiiT, Software Engineer)

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Greetings From MaxLive Paris!

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Together with our BiitMax team we traveled to the wonderful city of Paris last week for the annual MaxLive event.

The event was all about meeting great people and hearing about how world-class service organizations are developing their field service operations.

Among many excellent keynotes a few highlights would definitely have to be Kevin Ashtons keynote on the topic of IoT (Internet of Things). Kevin Ashtons keynote was filled with his interesting story of how the term IoT was founded and how he sees what the future will bring. Picture of Kevin Ashton below.

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Another highlight was the ServiceMax Transformation teams cooking session! Each member of the transformation (Mark Homer, Patrice Eberline and David Hart) team had their own topics around building a business case, metrics etc.

Here you see Mark Homer explaining some things about ServiceMax’s knowledge and capability of helping businesses develop their service organization. The one in the picture is the maturity matrix.

Mark Home_Paris

Among other great keynotes was also ServiceMax CEO Dave Yarnold and his interviews of ServiceMax clients – Daves topic was “The New Service-Led Economy”.

Here are some more pictures of our highlights from Paris.

MaxLive15 highlights from Jan Ropponen

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We are recruiting SW-Developers

Software Developer – join us!

As a JAVA software developer, we expect you to be curious and interested in designing and implementing new applications and customized solutions for numerous types of customers. Depending on your background, you will be expected to contribute technical requirements and participate in the full application life cycle from technical design to development, testing, and deployment. You will be interacting actively with the customers thus passion for solving customer’s challenges with software, is your great advantage.

wanted

Candidate profile:
– Experience in software development and software architectures
– Background in cloud computing
– Experience with custom application development and systems integration
– Several years of experience with JAVA
– Other programming skills considered as an advantage
– Web-development skills in HTML, CSS, JSP/ ASP
– Strong technical design skills and an ability to deliver customer driven solutions
– Excellent communication skills in English and Finnish language, both written and verbal are required

We offer:
– Interesting and dynamic working environment
– Competitive salary package
– Coaching and training for excelling in this role
– Opportunity to gain experience and grow in the field
– Professional and technically strong team members
– Immediate start as soon as right candidate is found

Please contact: recruiting[a]biit.fi or Mr. Ikla Puustinen (mob. +358 50 330 8525)

 

 

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CRM FOR SALES DIRECTOR

biit-profiili

Q: What is the easiest way of supporting your strategy on daily basis / operations?
A: Put sales to work on targets / goals!

 

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Challenge:

  • How to translate sales strategy into action?
  • How to split company strategy into actual targets?
  • How to allocate the goals between existing customers and new sales?
  • How to take care of account management on everyday basis?
  • How to implement customer oriented communication?
  • How to carry out internal collaboration?

Solution:

  • Split sales targets into concrete account / segment based goals
  • Split goals into parallel account strategies / campaigns
  • Generate opportunities based on potential strategies
  • Create “path of tasks” how to proceed towards desired results
  • Bring it to the platform – model your way of working on Salesforce platform

Result:

  • Strategy has been translated into single tasks for each salesman
  • Following the progress brings visibility to sales pipeline
  • Every customer / potential customer feels as being the only customer
  • Run your sales engine in real-time – anytime, anywhere, with any device

 

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BiiT TECH BITS IV: EXCEL DATA EDITING

biit-profiili

Here’s a little productivity suggestion that might come handy to those who need to manage large lists of data in Salesforce

While Salesforce is excellent tool to manage and link your data between your business objects it may sometimes get tedious and cumbersome to create and update larger data sets or related lists. These are the requirements where Excel type of approach still excels, so what we did for a test was to bring the excel type of data editing to Salesforce with this fresh open source library called Handsontable http://handsontable.com. It supports a lot of excel functionality straight from browser with for example input value autocomplete, datepicker, simple Excel formula support etc. enhancements.

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Our sample picture (above) is from Opportunity Products related list, you can edit and save details just as in Excel. How would you use this?

Please comment below or contact us if this seems like something that would help your work.

 

 

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BiiT TECH BITS IV: EXCEL KIND OF DATA EDITING

biit-profiili

Here’s a little productivity suggestion that might come handy to those who need to manage large lists of data in Salesforce

While Salesforce is excellent tool to manage and link your data between your business objects it may sometimes get tedious and cumbersome to create and update larger data sets or related lists. These are the requirements where Excel type of approach still excels, so what we did for a test was to bring the excel type of data editing to Salesforce with this fresh open source library called Handsontable http://handsontable.com. It supports a lot of excel functionality straight from browser with for example input value autocomplete, datepicker, simple Excel formula support etc. enhancements.

sf-excel

Our sample picture (above) is from Opportunity Products related list, you can edit and save details just as in Excel. How would you use this?

Please comment below or contact us if this seems like something that would help your work.

 

 

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BiiT TECH BITS III: PARDOT AND SALESFORCE

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Slowly but rocking, we are coming back from summer vacations. Here at BiiT we have full batteries and we are ready to share with you some Salesforce knowledge.

This time I want to talk about a tool very easy to setup and yet very powerful: Pardot

Pardot Salesforce

Pardot is one of the strongest players in the marketing automation arena. It is a service that facilitates the creation and tracking of online marketing campaigns. The common point of all Pardot features will become clear once you try it: it is easy to use. It’s kind of plug & play system so just go ahead and give it a try!

And what are the benefits of integrating marketing automation tool & Salesforce CRM? It is a great way to glue marketing and sales functions together and monitor the whole sales funnel from the first contact to signing the contract. More qualified leads means more sales means more money!

Pardot sales pipeline

Pardot is natively supported by Salesforce and can be integrated with any Salesforce Professional Edition and above. To do so, you just need to follow the Pardot User Guide for Salesforce.com.

Nothing else, just remind you that we at BiiT will be glad to help you succeed with Salesforce and Pardot.

 

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SALESFORCE ORDERS OBJECT

Orders is a new Salesforce Object

Utility & Use

Order is to track the delivering preparation of service or product after contract signature and opportunity closing. It is the link between Sales and Support.

Orders Creation

You can create a new order from the tab Orders (new records), or directly from the related account or the related contract (associated list Order in these objects).
You can add products to Order records. The amount of different product is the total amount of the order record.

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Orders Life Cycle

As soon as order is created, is in status “draft” by default.

When the service is ready to be provided or the product is ready to be delivered, the order completed and the new status becomes “activated”.

“Draft” and “activated” are the two only default values. But it is possible to add other values and add steps in this process. For example, we can add a “review” step, or ask the submission for approval to activate an order. You can clone an order, with or without its products.

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Configuration of Your Orders Object

Enable Orders

You need to go in setup -> App Setup -> Customize -> Orders -> Settings

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…and enable orders. Here you can enable negative quantity and reductions orders.

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You allow Orders access to a user in the profile change or with a permission set.

Custom Orders

You can custom Order process to your current process, and add steps and status.

As other Objects, you can add new fields and validation rules to have a good data quality. Workflows are available for this new object, too.

If you have different Order processes you can create several record types (for example one for products and one for services).

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Several reports about Orders objects are standard. If it is not enough for your analyzing, you can create new report types concerning this object.

This object is available from professional edition and higher.

 

How configure Orders in Salesforce?

 

 

 

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