Unlocking the Future of Forecasting with Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud


The future of forecasting is here for enterprise manufacturers by leveraging Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud. Manufacturing forecasting involves predicting demand for goods and materials, with the goal of producing the appropriate quantity of goods to meet customer demand—all while minimizing excess inventory and associated costs.

Accurately predicting demand is critical to the overall success of a company, impacting virtually every department. Overestimating demand means shelves (or even warehouses) full of obsolete inventory, while underestimating results in unhappy customers, employees working overtime, and a general disruption to the business.

Creating accurate forecasts can be complex, with difficulties that include both internal and external factors. Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud provides a modern solution for manufacturers that addresses these difficulties, automating manual processes and bringing sales and operations teams together to collaborate on a centralized sales forecasting tool.

Read on to learn more about how Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud addresses the most common hurdles standing in the way of accurate forecasting and how it can benefit your organization.


The Complexity of Manufacturing Forecasts

Manufacturing companies face a number of hurdles that can impact sales forecasting accuracy, including:

  • Sales contracts. Sales contracts require a high level of collaboration between sales, operations, and legal departments. In order to fulfill client needs, however, manufacturers need full visibility into sales agreements to ensure they can meet volume requirements.
  • Demand volatility. Even the best forecasts aren’t immune to unexpected circumstances that can lead to demand volatility. For example, a product might suddenly go viral, quickly selling out and creating a surge in demand that results in backorders and lost sales opportunities.
  • Data silos. A forecast is only as good as its data, and manufacturing forecasts require data from multiple stakeholders. A lack of data integration often leads to data silos that slow the flow of data and affect the ability to make accurate forecasts.
  • Inaccurate historical data. Inaccurate historical data and lack of real-time insights can also be a challenge. Sometimes this is the result of human error, and sometimes it can be the result of cobbled-together legacy systems that lead to duplicate or missing data. This can be especially detrimental for low-volume forecasting.
  • Limited supply chain visibility. It’s difficult to talk about supply chain disruptions without mentioning the COVID-19 pandemic and the havoc it wreaked on supply chains worldwide. In fact, a McKinsey study found that just 2 percent of companies surveyed had visibility into their supply base in the third tier and beyond, highlighting the importance of end-to-end, real-time supply chain visibility.
  • Poor communication between entities. No organization is immune to the occasional unexpected hurdle. But while unforeseen circumstances can and will happen, issues can also arise from a lack of communication between departments. For example, failing to communicate a planned outage or scheduled maintenance in a timely manner can have a ripple effect that impacts internal processes.
  • Outdated legacy processes. Whether it’s relying on spreadsheets, meetings, or outdated software systems, outdated processes create inefficiencies and increase the likelihood of error. Sometimes this is the result of human error, and sometimes it can be the result of cobbled-together legacy systems that lead to inaccurate, duplicate or missing data.

Although manufacturing is often considered a manual industry, the right technology can help manufacturers streamline their processes, reduce error, and ultimately create more accurate forecasts.


Transform Your Forecasting With Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud

Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud is a platform within Salesforce that helps manufacturing companies better manage their commercial operations and supply chain management while increasing collaboration and transparency, leading to more accurate forecasting.

Some of the features and benefits include:

  • Advanced Account Forecasting. Used to forecast run-rate and new business, Advanced Account Forecasting allows manufacturers to create and manage forecasts based on sales agreements, opportunities, orders, region, products, or other custom parameters. Customization lets you create custom forecasts depending on the needs of the customer and the business.
  • Sales Agreements. This feature provides greater transparency to your run-rate business. Sales and operations team access real-time data for a 360° view of customers, including the full sales agreement lifecycle and performance against the forecast.
  • Automatically track revisions. Changes to orders and contracts, such as pricing or product configurations, are automatically tracked and updated on the Sales Agreement, and changes are isolated so operations teams have full visibility and plan accordingly.
  • Single source of truth. A single source for data eliminates manual updates and back and forth through emails and meetings, ensuring everyone is making decisions based on the most accurate and current data. Teams can collaborate in real-time with better accuracy and transparency.



Benefits to the company

Implementing Manufacturing Cloud helps manufacturing organizations:

  • Better collaboration. Manufacturing Cloud connects the supply chain to the sales process. Sales and operations teams can collaborate with real-time data to enhance transparency and accuracy. This helps ensure sales orders are in line with manufacturing capabilities, helping to eliminate overcommitment that can lead to bottlenecks in the production process.
  • More reliable forecasts. Advanced analytic and reporting tools allow for more data-driven decisions, which means more reliable forecasts, better inventory management and customer satisfaction.
  • Greater inventory turnover ratio. An important KPI for manufacturers, the inventory return ratio is used to measure the efficiency of a manufacturing company’s inventory management. A higher ratio indicates inventory is moving quickly, while a low ratio results in obsolete or excess inventory and their associated costs. The accurate forecasting and visibility Manufacturing Cloud provides to both the sales and operations teams helps ensure you have enough to meet demand without creating excess.
  • Risk mitigation. Using accurate data also helps enable proactive risk mitigation. More accurate forecasting can help manufacturers anticipate potential hurdles and create contingency plans or adjust production to help minimize the impact.

The benefits provided by Manufacturing Cloud all help organizations lower their margins and ultimately increase their market share. Even with ease of use, it’s important to understand how your organization can maintain your tools after implementation and how to supplement your team with a Managed Services partner.



Can Your Organization Benefit From Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud?

Many companies already have a CRM in place. However, Manufacturing Cloud is specifically designed to address the unique challenges associated with the manufacturing industry.

A high-level CRM may not provide the specific functionality your organization requires, such as scheduling, contract creation, quality control, and various processes within supply chain management that must be accounted for.

Additionally, organizations in the manufacturing industry that want to better manage operations and streamline partner engagement might also include:

  • Discrete and process manufacturers
  • Companies that utilize run-rate, ongoing, or long-term business contracts
  • Companies that need to forecast at different levels, such as regional or business unit levels
  • Companies that are expanding or require new legal entities

While no one can predict the future, the right tools can help you modernize your operations and create more realistic forecasts. Whether your organization utilizes a high-volume or low-volume manufacturing process, Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud can provide the data and insights needed to unlock more accurate forecasting.



Let Pierce Washington Help You Unlock the Future of Forecasting

Pierce Washington has over 20 years of experience helping manufacturing organizations design custom solutions for their business. Contact us today and find out how Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud can transform your forecasting processes. Learn more about our experience in revolutionizing Quote to Cash for Manufacturers here.