I have always been a solutions guy at heart. From my early days in software development, to roles as diverse as IT Director, Sales Manager, and Operations Manager, I have seen systems as a solution that enables business transformation and excellence in process execution. My first experience with Dynamics CRM was as an end user in utilizing the 4.0 platform to support a small sales team in selling software and services to the transportation industry. Despite some implementation difficulties, I could see then that the platform had tremendous power and the potential as a solution to support and drive better sales processes.
Several years passed and I joined a Dynamics ISV as a senior project manager and was assigned to a CRM 2011 project. The project team had built a large xRM selling solution for a complex manufacturer around the ISV’s value-add CRM CPQ (Configure-Price-Quote) solution. I was impressed at the platform’s ability to support the complexity of both the solution and product sales. But I was equally intrigued by the application of CRM to manufacturing business processes. I think at some emotional level it took me back to early days of my career, where I found manufacturing plants and equipment fascinating. Nothing like flying metal bits and the smell of oil to leave a deep impression.
Later in Pre-Sales roles, I have had the opportunity to focus on manufacturing in the Dynamics space and build numerous solutions and demos for a variety of manufacturing companies. As my knowledge around customer-facing manufacturing processes grew, I began to see the application of CRM capabilities to drive business value to customers. And as the CRM platform evolved and grew in its capabilities, it was easy to see the potential for manufacturing companies to benefit from both out-of-the-box capabilities and business extensions of the platform to support their unique challenges and complexities. All this fueled my interest in understanding how Dynamics CRM helps transform manufacturing processes that are directly or indirectly connected to supporting customers, external sales agents, or internal company resources.
Which takes us to this blog. My intent is to provide thoughtful consideration to topics around the use of the Dynamics CRM platform to support manufacturing companies. I recently searched the web and found that there was not a lot of information addressing topics around this subject. Given the growth of CRM and the fact that manufacturing companies are now looking to improve front office processes much like they have used lean processes to drive operational efficiencies, it seems both relevant and timely to create such a blog. So I hope you find the content interesting and I look forward to hearing from some of you who happen upon these posts.