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DUBLIN, Calif. and LONDON -- A recent industry survey sponsored by Epicor Software Corporation, a global leader in business software solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail and services organizations, conveys that over the next three years leading Industrial Machinery and Equipment (IME) manufacturers will be on the lookout for a flexible enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that enables more collaboration, provides more timely information and drives customer experience to new levels.

In the modern IME manufacturing industry -- a project-based sector in which customers buy or rent highly customized machinery and equipment that must perfectly fit their specific requirements -- providing greater customer experience is becoming an essential capability to generate growth and higher profit. The new IDC Manufacturing Insights white paper speaks to three critical initiatives IME manufacturers need to focus on as building blocks to achieve growth and differentiation in today’s difficult economic conditions: emerging markets expansion; selling value-added services; and, improving customer experience. 

“Today's difficult economic conditions -- with many major economies in trouble -- are significantly impacting the industrial equipment industry as the majority of clients are adopting a wait-and-see approach and are essentially reining in capital expenditure,” said Pierfrancesco Manenti, head of IDC Manufacturing Insights research practice in Europe, Middle East & Africa. “IME manufacturers are coming to realize that providing superior customer experience has to be one of their top initiatives. They acknowledge that engaging on deeper levels with their customer base is the only way to get out of the dead-end of poor economic growth and low customer loyalty.”

He added that industrial equipment companies have shifted strategic focus from products to services, “Our survey results show how 42.9% of IME manufacturers already state that the single most critical factor driving new product purchases is how value-added services are delivered and supported.”

An Industrial Machinery and Equipment Manufacturer’s Viewpoint

Because of the unique requirements of each customer served, treating every client and prospect individually -- from presales bid management through aftermarket services -- is essential to the success of an IME manufacturer. Guttridge Limited, a leading UK manufacturer of bulk materials handling machinery and an Epicor customer, designs and manufactures a wide range of screw conveyors, chain conveyors, belt conveyors, bucket elevators, dischargers, feeders, bulk bag systems, valves and ancillary equipment for efficient bulk solids handling.

“The call to action from IDC is very timely,” said Tim Berryman, IT Manager for Guttridge. “Our business is built on providing good quality products and services that customers come back to on a regular basis. We’re not the cheapest in the marketplace by any means but we consistently win new business based on providing a good customer experience, outperforming most of our competitors. In our experience, customers these days definitely look at other values than just cost when choosing their suppliers and for us, modern technology is one of the keys to becoming more efficient and helping us go above and beyond competing solely on price.”

Key points from the survey:

  • Most IME manufacturers find that traditional ERP systems don't fully support their need for fast and timely access to information or the need to further improve collaboration across business functions
  • Nearly 40% of all IME manufacturers surveyed believe ERP is vital as the platform that connects the back office and front office and streamlines business interaction with suppliers and customers
  • Nearly 85% of large IME organizations with 5,000 employees or more indicated that their ERP is a vital platform for delivering a good customer experience
  • IME manufacturers have come to realize that providing superior customer experience has to be one of their top initiatives and acknowledge that engaging on deeper levels with their customer base is the only way to get out of the dead-end of poor economic growth and low customer loyalty
  • Over the next three years, leading IME manufacturers will be looking for a flexible ERP system that includes or easily integrates more customer-facing functions able to provide more timely information and that enable more collaboration

“This recent study provides essential guidance and a clear call to action for IME manufacturers,” said John Hiraoka, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Epicor. “IME manufacturers should expect their ERP solution to improve access to accurate, real-time customer data via mobile devices and the cloud, to enhance collaboration across the organization by facilitating information sharing and streamlining business processes.  We firmly believe that a modern ERP platform can support the most immediate business needs of IME manufacturers and will be central to creating a better customer experience as they face increasing global demands and pressure to deliver more value-added services, all the while paving the way to customer loyalty and longer lasting relationships between suppliers and purchasers, which will be critical to retaining competitive advantage.”

For more information, visit www.epicor.com.

 

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