Each automotive part has a story that starts when a manufacturer considers how to design and build it at a profitable margin. A number of factors must be taken into consideration. Plant capacities, availability of part components and materials, alternate designs, multiple suppliers, and tooling are just some of the factors that influence pricing and product delivery. The sheer volume of information, supporting documentation, analysis spreadsheets, and team collaboration on a single part is overwhelming. Multiply this by 100’s of parts and you get a sense of why an automotive business process platform like Dynamics CRM is so desperately needed. Absent such a platform, automotive part manufactures face several bottlenecks that throttle productivity, limit the sharing of critical information, and bury information essential to successful production; all necessary to concluding each part story with a profitable and sustainable ending.
Manufacturing parts for the automotive industry on a global playing field is a challenging business. Competitive pressures, changing costs, and volatile demand make it challenging to balance profitability while meeting product delivery commitments. Despite these seemingly insurmountable challenges, automotive part manufacturers can succeed and flourish with the support of technology that drives efficiencies across key business processes. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the perfect platform to enable cross-department collaboration, manage “in-flight” volatility, improve operational planning, and deliver insightful dashboards to guide key executive decisions.
With Microsoft’s cloud offering of Office365 (email, calendars, productivity), SharePoint (document management and collaboration), and CRM Online (business information and process automation) automotive part manufacturers have a single, seamlessly integrated platform to manage, collaborate, and automate key sales and operational workloads. Manufacturers can focus on better execution of standardized processes around bids and opportunities, engineering design, cost and production planning, while tying it all into program and project management. From there, manufacturers can connect sales and production forecasts to historical data yielding business intelligence and predictive analytic capabilities to improve visibility into business performance. All on a single, affordable automotive part manufacturer solution platform.
Recently Microsoft announced the addition of Project Service Automation to the Dynamics CRM platform. From a Program Management standpoint, this capability allows Manufacturers to establish standard project templates that can be used to guide and track activities across a wide range of processes; from sales to design to tooling. The breadth of this capability runs from simple tracking of program milestones to estimating resource needs and tracking actual consumption. Moreover, it provides a means to tangibly address and manage process quality.
Just as technology is a major driver in transforming automotive parts and systems, technology will be a major driver in transforming automotive part manufacturing business processes and collaboration. Companies that adopt and leverage platforms like Dynamics CRM will be more competitive, more agile and adaptable to market change, and more profitable. Moving forward, automotive part manufacturers will be asked to do more in shorter timeframes, integrate more deeply with suppliers and customers, and deliver in an increasingly demand-driven environment. None of this to say that every automotive manufacturer’s story will have a fairy tale ending. But investment and implementation in Dynamics CRM as a critical business solution can make that story the difference between excellence and mediocrity.
If you need help writing your automotive parts manufacturing story, I would love to hear from you. Or if you are already developing plans to address these business needs, please share what you are looking for in a solution. There are far more business processes than I have touched on in this post and there is far more depth than I have explored. Let me know what you think. Feel free to e-mail me or comment to this post.