Salesforce says it has launched a new “manufacturing cloud” proposition, muscling in on a still largely greenfield sector that is hotly contested territory among the public cloud hyperscalers, which are looking to convince heavily distributed (and siloed) manufacturing operations that pulling data into a single place will drive efficiencies.
Salesforce says the “industry-specific product” is built on its widely used customer relationship management (CRM) software, and comes with the ability to plug into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions and Order Management Systems (OMS) from a range of other vendors, using pre-configured APIs from subsidiary Mulesoft.
The offering, in short, acts as kind of software layer that surfaces data from other system (OMS, ERP and others) across manufacturing companies’ existing stacks. The rollout represents arguably the most tightly integrated product release of Salesforce and API integration specialist Mulesoft, which it bought for $6.5 billion in 2018.
Key Salesforce manufacturing cloud features, developed after beta testing with companies including Harley Davidson and Hitachi Chemical, include the ability to connect run-rate business data from sales agreements, with data housed in ERP and order management systems, the company said in a release today.
By connecting agreed terms (like planned volumes and revenues) sales data with operations data, both sides get a “360-degree view of the customer” Salesforce said, adding that it is pushing the software out to the market via a range of partnerships, including with Accenture, Acumen, Deloitte and Rootstock.
“At its core, the problem sales and operations planning had tried to solve and continues to try to solve is a lack of coordination between business functions. Manufacturers tend to operate in silos, resulting in less-than-optimal achievement of KPIs and stresses the business’ ability to achieve its revenue and profit target,” noted Reid Paquin, Research Director for IDC Manufacturing Insights .
He added: “Digital transformation dictates that planning decisions be made with a 360-view using near-real-time information on demand and consumption”.
Siloed spreadsheets and ERP systems are often behind poor data management that results in inventory stockouts, buildups and warehousing costs that “reduce operating margins and negatively impact revenue” the company added.