Manufacturing Innovation: Applying Artificial Intelligence in the Manufacturing Sector

Across the manufacturing industry, every professional faces market fragmentation. With so many players crowding the space, there is no single company that owns a large enough share to be able to influence the industry’s collective direction. Combine this obstacle with the increasing cost of sales, low switching costs and evolving sales channels, and the result is that the sector’s already- thin margins continue to shrink.

Manufacturers are facing the reality that traditional strategies that used to grow revenue — improving quality, production efficiency, pricing and marketing — will only take them so far. Today’s manufacturing buyers demand that products get to market quickly and through a frictionless, personalized and precision-based sales experience. To drive repeat and incremental business, manufacturers need a modern commerce strategy, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), that reduces quote turnaround time, provides fair and transparent pricing across all channels, and eliminates internal price negotiations. Companies are able to move beyond traditional, low-tech, relationship-based sales processes and embrace digital innovation. They’re able to minimize internal complexity, improve sales enablement and make the sales process faster and more efficient.

Thanks to new AI capabilities, organizations are now able to manage massive volumes of data — and with greater raw computing power than ever before — which is enabling a new level of precision that was previously unthinkable. By applying AI and dynamic pricing science, customers can more easily buy what they need, and at a fair and transparent price. A broad set of data-driven pricing and configure, price, quote (CPQ) tools can provide a manufacturer’s sales team with actionable insights to make quoting decisions with confidence and close deals more quickly, accurately and profitably. Price optimization and guidance tools leverage data science to help manufacturers determine a customer’s willingness-to-pay for any product at that specific moment in time, which shortens deal cycles, boosts margins and improves customer satisfaction. By generating quotes faster with fair pricing, companies can differentiate from competitors and sustain continued growth.

With greater information transparency and augmented decision-making capabilities, AI-based technologies are reshaping how manufacturers around the world do business. In today’s digital economy, revenue growth is unsustainable if it lacks focus on the customer sales experience. Manufacturers’ top and bottom lines will also be at risk if they fail to pinpoint revenue challenges and invest in modern solutions to stay relevant in increasingly competitive market segments. In an industry where price used to be the primary driver of revenue, companies must acknowledge that the cost of the status quo is greater than the cost of change.

About the Author

Richard Blatcher

Richard Blatcher, Director, Industry Marketing & Business Intelligence at PROS, manages the global go-to-market strategy for PROS in its strategic industries. He has over 30 years’ experience in the industry originally based in Europe moving to the US in 2010. He spent the first part of his career in media, publishing and direct marketing managing the delivery of marketing and sales enablement services to many manufacturing and distribution blue-chip enterprises. He has also held EMEA and Global Marketing roles for $2Bn+ software company Autodesk including being responsible for launches of market disrupting SaaS software solutions into the market.

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