Within Industry 4.0, connectivity is an important pillar: connecting the digital to our physical world. But what about your customers? In this article, you will learn how a portal can ensure that your customers feel well-supported- and that also saves money.

Customer portals provide customer access to important corporate company information such as order history, ongoing orders, customer account information, shipping addresses, previous invoices, quotations, credits, credit limits, and many other sources.

In short, these provide answers to questions such as:

  • “Has my order been received correctly?”

  • “When is the planned delivery date of the order?”

  • “Where can I find my delivery note or delivery documentation of the order?”

  • “Which invoices do I still have to pay?”

This concept has long been known to us as a consumer. Every day millions of euros per day are ordered on sites such as Amazon.com, but also many niche suppliers already have such solutions.

In the manufacturing industry, this is still very different at the moment, only a limited number of companies have a modern & functional portal. The reasons for this vary greatly.

Previously, an argument for this was the cost item, and that this technology was only available to the ‘big players’. This is no longer the case with the emergence of new technologies (more about this later). Others believe that ‘personal contact’ is more important.

Why every manufacturing company needs a portal?


A recent survey has shown that two out of three business customers choose self-service about the complexity of explaining their problems by telephone to a representative/ receptionist.

The customer is king, right?

So that means that more than 60% of all communication is in principle superfluous. In addition, it has been demonstrated that 28% of all the office staff’s time is spent on reactive actions concerning e-mail and telephone.

 

So much profit can be achieved!


This same study also describes that 75% of all customers value self-service more than live service in any form, and Forrester Research (the researchers) found that corporate purchasers now consider whether the suppliers would make their online experiences pleasant and easy as a significant factor. to choose what they do business with.

Providing your customers with 24/7/365 service in the form of self-service frees up your staff time, reduces operational costs and even boosts customer satisfaction.


How often does it not happen that one of your employees is disturbed during their work, but often can not help the customer, causing frustration on both sides, while the problem could easily have been automated in the first place?

Manufacturing companies can cut costs, provide better customer experiences and achieve unprecedented operational effectiveness by offering an ERP-linked portal to their customers.

 

The first step to your customer portal

An effective portal does not have to be complex, and therefore not expensive. The trick is to make decisions about what matters to your customer. If you have a modern ERP system, chances are that it offers an API or SDK, with which data can be exchanged in a secure way. Standard data platforms or ERP-adapted frameworks are available today.

In addition, it is often also possible to publish data on the web directly from your database via a web service. Have your guidance supervised by an expert by experience and involve your ERP supplier.