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What is Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud?

July 20, 2021By

In 2019, Salesforce launched Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud, in order to meet the need for a holistic business engagement layer for manufacturing and other supply chain-aligned organizations. Historically, CRM solutions, including Salesforce, had key gaps in functionality that left manufacturers to build custom solutions on top of their CRM, or be reliant on disconnected data and processes to manage their business.

With Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud, Salesforce has stepped up to bring an industry-aligned platform, built upon the existing leading CRM platform, to align to some of the key needs for manufacturing organizations. The solution launched with a few of the most foundational features, has since added new functionality, and will continue to be a platform that will increasingly meet the most important and impactful needs of manufacturers.

Manufacturing Cloud features

Manufacturing Cloud builds upon the core features of Salesforce Sales and Service Cloud, so any existing (and yet to be launched) features of the core CRM Clouds are part of the Manufacturing Cloud solution. Manufacturing Cloud extends these capabilities in specific key areas:

Sales agreements

Salesforce introduced the concept of “Sales Agreements” into Manufacturing Cloud in order to support the need for companies to track and manage “run-rate” business, that is often at the core of manufacturing organizations revenue and operations. In a run-rate business model, customers or partners have provided some level of commitment to purchase a certain amount of product over a given time period. The formality of these agreements may vary, but in most scenarios, the key is for manufacturers to be able to establish a baseline expectation for future orders for which they can measure and monitor the actuals over the life of the agreement.

With Sales Agreements in Manufacturing Cloud, organizations can:

  • Manage agreement lifecycle, including collaboration with customers on quantities and pricing for new agreements, modifications for existing agreements, and renewal and expansion for the next agreement period.
  • Measure key agreement metrics, including planned and actual quantities, product price and margins, as well as custom metrics that can be created to meet specific needs.
  • Convert closed-won opportunities for new business into sales agreements, or generate agreements independent of new business pipeline.

Account-based forecasting

With run-rate business, forecasting should include existing planned business over time for a given account, as well as the opportunities for new business for that same account. Other factors, such as historical order trends, as well as real-time market and customer insights should also be factored into the forecast for a given account.

With Account-based forecasting in Manufacturing Cloud, organizations can:

  • Capture a sales forecast with predicted volumes and revenue streams across new and run-rate business.
  • Collaborate across sales, finance, and operations to develop and fine-tune commercial forecasts (existing sales and new business pipeline) that can serve as the ‘source of truth’ for downstream supply chain and production planning.
  • Leverage data to create forecast suggestions, reducing the time sales or account managers have to spend building and managing forecasts.
  • Disaggregate forecasts to SKU levels to support operations without burdening commercial teams.

Manufacturing analytics

Of course, any CRM is only as good as the actionable insights that can be derived from it. With Manufacturing Cloud, Salesforce has extended Tableau CRM capabilities in order to help manufacturers to gain insights into key performance areas such as:

  • Product performance - Understand how each product (or product family) is performing in terms of actual revenue or unit quantity as well as the performance against forecast/plan.
  • Account health - Help monitor revenue realization against forecast/plan for each account.
  • Sales agreement insights - view how existing Sales Agreements are performing, including monthly actual revenue and a cumulative planned vs. actual revenue for a given agreement.

Rebate Management

The newest feature of Manufacturing Cloud, launched in March of this year, is Rebate Management. With Rebate Management, Salesforce has introduced a solution to meet the needs of organizations that need to plan, execute, and target financial payout incentives for their channel partners. With Rebate Management, organizations can build incentive programs within Salesforce that can then be shared with channel partners, including up-to-date performance for each program. By building upon Manufacturing Cloud, where much of the necessary data to validate eligibility and attainment of incentive programs already resides, Rebate management allows organizations to streamline the often effort-intensive task of managing these programs.

Manufacturing warehouse
Manufacturing warehouse

Not just for manufacturers

When a product is given a name, this name is intended to generate interest and demand with the primary target audience(s). However, this also can cause other potential users to discount it as a solution for their business. In the instance of Manufacturing Cloud, other organizations such as distributors, high tech, retail, etc. can all benefit from the features found within Manufacturing Cloud. If your business has a ‘run-rate’ component, requires you to forecast your existing book of business, or manage and calculate rebates, then it is worth taking a deeper look and see how Manufacturing Cloud can support your needs.

Begin your journey with Manufacturing Cloud

Our Manufacturing industry experts are continuously developing best practices for leveraging the Manufacturing platform on Salesforce to meet all common and unique customer needs. If you’re looking to understand how your organization could benefit from Manufacturing Cloud, get in touch with one of our experts.