7 min read

Manufacturing Challenges Solved with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM

Manufacturing Challenges Solved with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM
Manufacturing Challenges Solved with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM

Manufacturing companies face a multitude of challenges, especially in keeping up with the technology and the demands of an ever-changing workforce and customers.

A manufacturer needs to know what to make and when to make it or suffer from missed promise dates and chaos on the factory floor.

They need to react quickly to customer change orders to keep work flowing and critical parts available when production needs them.

TrellisPoint has helped several customers in the manufacturing industry with scenarios similar to the one we’re about to explore.

To protect their identity, we will refer to them as XYZ Manufacturing.

XYZ is a typical manufacturer that’s been struggling despite growth and success into the early 2000s. In recent years their departments have been operating in chaos, plagued by a lack of alignment, poor communication, and the absence of real-time data.  

Many manufacturing customers, referred to here as XYZ Manufacturing, have benefited from experiences similar to the scenario we're about to explore. XYZ Manufacturing serves as an illustrative example of a typical manufacturer that faced challenges despite initial growth and success in the early 2000s. In recent years, the organization has grappled with operational chaos, marked by a lack of alignment, poor communication, and the absence of real-time data.

TrellisPoint has helped several customers in the manufacturing industry that experienced similar scenarios similar to the one we’re about to explore. To protect their identity, we will refer to them as XYZ Manufacturing. XYZ Manufacturing is a prime example of this. XYZ is a typical manufacturer that’s been struggling despite growth and success into the early 2000s. In recent years their departments have been operating in chaos, plagued by a lack of alignment, poor communication, and the absence of real-time data.

These challenges have been crushing productivity, leading to low sales, subpar customer service, and frustrated employees.

XYZ’s COO, George, has heard about similar companies moving to cloud-based operations and the improved communication, data analytics, and customer service they’ve seen, as well as increased productivity, sales, and overall employee satisfaction.

In a report by McKinsey, George read that 89% of digital automation users have reported higher job satisfaction. That led to more research, and when he discovered that the company’s Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM subscription already had the features needed for achieving the improvements described above, he had to learn more.

Keep reading to learn how Dynamics 365 CRM is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry by solving critical problems and turning companies like XYZ Manufacturing into success stories.


How Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM solves the most challenging problems for manufacturers


Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM is a hero in the manufacturing world. A cloud-based platform, D365 enables organizations and their teams to stay informed, organized, productive, and efficient. Let’s look at some challenges common to manufacturing organizations, along with the improvements Dynamics 365 CRM enabled at XYZ Manufacturing.


Lack of Visibility and Real-time Data Accessible to All:

 The initial challenge George needed to tackle was the lack of visibility and real-time data accessible to everyone, from anywhere. Departments were disorganized and operating in silos, causing confusion and inefficiency, and employees were frustrated because they lacked the data needed to make informed decisions.

Dynamics 365’s solution is simple and effective - real-time cloud integration and analytics pull in data from multiple sources, providing stakeholders access to up-to-the-minute information no matter where they are. In addition, the user-friendly dashboards improve visibility across the organization and enhance better decision-making.

New reality: XYZ' Manufacturing's employees now have quick access to accurate data that they previously lacked. They’re now better informed and more confident in their decisions–a novel change that George had been trying to accomplish. This single improvement has increased productivity, and the employees are now more efficient and happier in their jobs.


Inaccurate Forecasting and Poor Lead Tracking

An all-too-familiar challenge at XYZ Manufacturing, inaccurate forecasting and poor lead tracking was causing inefficiencies and missed opportunities.

Dynamics 365 includes built-in predictive analytics that leverage machine learning and historical data to improve forecasting accuracy. This facilitates better-informed decisions and optimizes production, reduces lead times, and improves supply chain management.

New reality: George’s team can now leverage critical insights about their operations for a more agile and responsive approach to market changes, which has ultimately increased sales and customer satisfaction.


Lack of Customer Analytics

Understanding customer needs and providing exceptional customer service is paramount for manufacturing companies. This was an area particularly challenging for XYZ Manufacturing–they needed a way to gain insights into their customer base.

Dynamics 365 came through with flying colors. The platform provides an indispensable 360-degree view of customers, enabling personalized interactions, improved customer service, a better understanding of customer needs, and increased sales.

New reality: XYZ Manufacturing now provides its customers with a tailored experience, which has increased satisfaction, and generated repeat business and long-term partnerships.


Low Productivity and Collaboration for Remote Workers

According to a 2022 study from Liberty Street Economics, 28% of manufacturers reported that since expanding remote work arrangements during the pandemic, worker productivity had slipped, while only 12% noted improvement. This was another area of concern for George.

Although remote work has become a permanent reality in many industries, it doesn’t have to compromise worker productivity. The challenge is to ensure that remote employees have the same access to data and tools as their in-office counterparts.

Since Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based platform, as long as remote workers have an internet connection, they have the same access to data and tools as onsite teams. Additionally, the seamless integration with other Microsoft applications like OneDrive, Teams, and SharePoint makes collaboration and communication as seamless with colleagues across the world as with someone in the next cubicle.

New Reality: George has seen a dramatic increase in visibility, collaboration, and productivity for everyone, regardless of their location.

Another challenge eliminated.


Poor Customer and Team Communications

As we detailed above, internal collaboration is fluid with Dynamics 365, but George also needed to improve customer outreach and communications. Dynamics 365 Integration with Microsoft Teams and Outlook improves customer outreach and troubleshooting.

New Reality: Enhanced, seamless customer communication has improved the company’s customer service and overall satisfaction, as shown by higher net promotor scores (NPS) and survey results.


Lagging and Inaccurate Production Schedules

Production schedules were another source of stress for everyone at XYZ Manufacturing. The constantly changing demand for products made creating and maintaining accurate production schedules near impossible. Team and customer frustrations from order delays ensued, and they were losing customers - and revenue - because of it.

Advanced production planning and scheduling capabilities are built into Dynamics 365. In addition to real-time data, its predictive analytics allow for schedule adjustments as needed, with prompt updates to customers, to proactively keep them informed and more confident in your company’s transparency and service.

New Reality: Production schedules are now on track, with reduced lead times and higher on-time delivery rates, not to mention less-stressed employees and happier customers.


Inventory Management Challenges

Shortages and overstocks are the gremlins of the manufacturing world. They sneak in when least expected and wreak havoc, causing internal tension and poor customer experience due to late arrivals.

Powerful inventory management features are built into Dynamics 365 for real-time inventory visibility and demand-based forecasting, and automated alerts facilitate proactive inventory management.

New reality: The gremlins have left the premises at XYZ Manufacturing. Optimal inventory levels and reduced shortages and overstocks are now the norm, resulting in smoother operations and employees who can focus on more proactive activities and big-picture planning.


The Bottom Line

George is thrilled with the newfound success at his company. In just six months they’ve achieved:

  • More clarity and confidence in their workforce
  • Shorter lead times and better supply chain management
  • Heightened productivity
  • Stabilized inventory levels with fewer shortages and overstocks
  • Soaring sales and happier customers!

As you can see, with Dynamics 365 CRM, it is possible for manufacturing companies to access real-time, detailed, and valuable insights into operations, order processing, inventory management, warehousing, distribution, and more.

If your company is battling any of the above challenges, TrellisPoint can help. We’ll show you how to up-level your business with Dynamics 365 CRM. Reach out to us today!


About the author:

TrellisPoint helps businesses grow with our expert optimization of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform suite.

Our customers understand there is no substitute for 20+ years of deep experience transforming and personalizing departments like Sales, Marketing, Project Operations, and Customer Service - all backed by cutting-edge decision-making analytics.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 For Manufacturing FAQ

How does Dynamics 365 CRM specifically address the customization needs of manufacturing companies with unique production processes?

Dynamics 365 CRM offers a range of features that can be customized to meet the unique needs of manufacturing companies:

  • Unifying Operations: Dynamics 365 helps manufacturers unify operations, improve processes, and engage with customers. It bridges the gap between CRM and ERP systems to produce rich analytics, embedded intelligence, and easy-to-use applications.

  • Real-Time Monitoring and Automation: Dynamics 365 allows manufacturers to monitor CRM automation by processing and gleaning data in real-time. You can view the performance, usage, and machine lifecycle information anytime, anywhere.

  • Custom-Built Dynamics 365 CRM: Dynamics 365 CRM can be custom-built to fit the specific needs and workflows of your manufacturing company. This includes developing custom workflows and automation processes tailored to your specific manufacturing operations, ensuring seamless production tracking and quality control.

  • Robust Project Management: Dynamics 365 offers robust project management capabilities, providing visibility into operations and improving productivity.

  • Real-Time Insights: With real-time product, customer, and performance data, manufacturers have more freedom to improve their operations and react to changes faster.

  • Integration with Microsoft Tools: You can integrate many Microsoft tools with Dynamics CRM. For example, the Microsoft App Launcher provides you access to the entire Microsoft 365 suite of products.Remember, every manufacturing company has its own needs and workflows. Consequently, a good CRM can be customized to fit your current processes. If you need a custom-built Dynamics 365 Manufacturing CRM, there are services available to build it for you.

Can Dynamics 365 CRM integrate with existing legacy systems commonly used in the manufacturing industry, and if so, how is this achieved?

Yes, Dynamics 365 CRM can integrate with existing legacy systems commonly used in the manufacturing industry. This integration can be achieved in two main ways: integration and migration.

  • Integration: This approach ensures that the legacy systems work with new elements of the infrastructure, in this case, Dynamics 365. It is a wise compromise solution if the legacy system handles particular situations, and the company wishes to keep it, at least for the time being. Essential information, such as information about Contacts and Accounts, can be in sync by going ahead with an integration project. This kind of solution is often a stepping-stone for future migration.
  • Migration: This approach is common when the legacy system used to handle what the organization now can handle with Dynamics 365. In these cases, they want to do a one-time migration and then will shut down the legacy system for good. The more complex item of the software migration will be the data migration, that is, the process of transferring data from a legacy system to the new system.

    Integrating a legacy system with Dynamics 365 is not a trivial task or one that you should take lightly. However, if such integration is successful, it can make a difference. To simplify that integration and make it faster, you can turn to an integration platform.

How does Dynamics 365 CRM facilitate compliance with industry-specific regulations and quality standards in manufacturing?

Dynamics 365 CRM facilitates compliance with industry-specific regulations and quality standards in manufacturing in several ways:

  • Understanding Customer Needs in a Regulated Context: Dynamics 365 CRM provides the tools necessary to capture and analyze customer feedback, market trends, and regulatory changes. This ensures that businesses can proactively adapt their strategies to meet regulatory requirements.
  • Tailored CRM Approach: Dynamics 365 CRM can be uniquely suited for regulated industries. This approach ensures a comprehensive understanding of customer needs and compliance requirements, leading to better customer interactions and more effective sales and marketing processes.
  • Compliance Management: In regulated industries, CRM systems play a crucial role in compliance management. They ensure that all customer interactions and business processes adhere to necessary regulations, enhancing the trust and credibility of the business in the eyes of the customers and regulatory bodies.
  • Standardized Production Processes: For organizations that operate in an FDA-regulated environment, Dynamics 365 offers digital tools that help in the implementation of standardized production processes. Digital audits, task lists, and quality checklists enable you to record and track every task and ensure your team performs tasks according to safety standards.
  • Compliance Offerings: Microsoft provides compliance offerings for Dynamics 365, Azure, and other Microsoft services. These offerings help your organization meet regulatory compliance standards.
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