The Salesforce Solution: In Conversation with John Kelleher
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting ─ albeit virtually ─ John Kelleher, the Area Vice President of Enterprise Sales UK, at Salesforce. The leading VP took the Supply Chain Digital hot seat and openly discussed Salesforce’s business model, the company’s partnership with IMI Critical Engineering, and the ways that digital transformation has affected global supply chain networks.
John told me that he has been “at Salesforce for ten years now. I’ve been in enterprise software sales directly and in leadership and management for the last 20 years. My career began at Jaguar Land Rover as a manufacturing engineer; then I moved over to supply chain, working for the supplier-side of the company as a key account manager. My first big enterprise role, in the software-realm, was with Siemens ─ I spent a while selling engineering software to support product, life cycle management, product development, computer-aided engineering and computer-aided design into automotive, aerospace and manufacturing.” John then moved into consumer packaged goods as a white space exploration for PLM, “which kind of brought me into Salesforce; to develop the relationship and grow Salesforce footprint with Unilever ─ I enjoyed a wonderful partnership with Unilever as we do to this day ten years on, and is now, one of our largest consumer packaged goods customer globally.”
Wondering why John was telling me specifically about this entrance point, the industry-leading VP told me that the “journey was interesting and important because it actually informed the relevance of Salesforce to manufacturing and consumer goods companies beyond just CRM with Unilever.”
We were on limited time, but I felt that it was necessary to get John’s take on exactly what Salesforce does, and what they can do for your business. He willingly shared. “Salesforce was a startup, at first ─ and whilst now a US$17bn organisation work hard to maintain a startup sense of innovation and agility, but, in reality, we’ve been in the game for two decades now. Back in ‘99, Salesforce was one of the pioneering companies that took cloud-based technologies into businesses. Our initial area of capability was focussed on CRM, Customer Relationship Management, where we supported our customers to establish a customer-centric approach to their sales and business development activities, enabling them to be better connected to their customers with improved visibility and integration across their sales processes. Fast forward twenty years and Salesforce has built a complete 360-degree suite that has extended the capabilities of classic CRM into customer service, marketing, and eCommerce ─ both B2C and B2B.” More recently Salesforce has made major acquisitions in the areas of integration and analytics with the respective acquisitions of Mulesoft and Tableau. Both maqui brands, they are enabling us to support customers maximise their existing technology investments and optimise cross-functional processes, whilst maintaining customer centricity and importantly providing an opportunity to digitally integrate the front office (Salesforce heritage) with the back office. This unification critical to support agility in new business models required to succeed in an increasingly volatile world
On Salesforce’s partnership with IMI Critical Engineering, John was willing to share his insight. “[Salesforce has] got a long-standing relationship with IMI. Whilst our initial engagement was around core CRM, we have built a richer 360-degree relationship with them and now support other areas of capability and are working closely with IMI to extend the relationship further. IMI continues to develop capabilities on the Salesforce platform, and we are working with them on key strategic pillars such as Customer Satisfaction and Commercial excellence to support IMI’s sales and customer services pre-and-post sale.” End-to-end, if you like.
John added that “The relationship is very much based on traditional Salesforce CRM. The reliability is there, and the partnership continues to gro on this foundation, which suggests we continue to deliver value for IMI and how they manage their front office processes. Due to COVID-19 situation, reps that were on the street ─ as it were ─ have been brought in-house easily as their front office estate is built on cloud-based capabilities like Salesforce. The company was able to adapt to the new sales environment far quicker than they would have, with more traditional on-premise capabilities. So it’s a traditional starting point, but with modern technology, we’ve been able to help IMI Critical Engineering adapt quickly in a highly volatile world.”
IHS Markit/CIPS: UK Manufacturing PMI near-record high
UK manufacturing trends
For the UK manufacturing sector, growth of output and new orders were both reported by IHS Markit and CIPS as among the best seen over the past seven years, which in turn has led to a strong increase in employment. Despite this, the sector continues to face supply chain delays and input shortages, which resulted in increased purchasing costs and record selling price inflation.
UK Manufacturing IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®)
Seasonally adjusted, IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) rose to 60.9 in April, which was an increase compared to March (58.9) and above the estimated 60.7 for April.
Increasing for the eleventh consecutive month, the latest readings are the highest since July 1994 (61.0). The output growth for April has been attributed to the loosening of lockdown restrictions, improving demands and a rise in backlogged work.
“The manufacturing sector was flooded with optimism in April as the PMI rose to its highest level since July 1994, bolstered by strong levels of new orders and the end of lockdown restrictions opened the gates to business. It was primarily the home market that fuelled this upsurge in activity though more work from the US, Europe and China demonstrated there were also improvements in the global economy. This boom largely benefited corporates as output growth at small-scale producers continued to lag behind,” said Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.
In addition to expanding production, total new orders rose for its third consecutive month, which was attributed to a revival of domestic market conditions, stronger client confidence, parts of the economy reopening and improving global market conditions.
While new exports rose in April, the rate was reported as weaker in comparison to new orders. “Companies reported improved new work intakes from several trading partners, including mainland Europe, the US, China and South-East Asia. Large-sized manufacturers saw a substantial expansion in new export order intakes, compared to only a marginal rise at small-sized firms,” said IHS Markit/CIPS.
UK Manufacturing’s outlook
Remaining positive at the start of the second quarter, 66% of companies forecast that output will be higher in a year's time, which is attributed to expectations for less disruption related to COVID-19 and Brexit, economic recovery, improved client confidence and new product launches.
“Further loosening of COVID-19 restrictions at home and abroad led to another marked growth spurt at UK factories. The headline PMI rose to a near 27-year high, as output and new orders expanded at increased rates. The outlook for the sector is also increasingly positive, with two-thirds of manufacturers expecting output to be higher in one year’s time. Export growth remains relatively subdued, however, as small manufacturers struggle to export,” said Rob Dobson, Director at IHS Markit.
Adding to comments from IHS Markit and CIPS, , Managing Director of Freight and Logistics at Accenture Global said: “While today’s figures are positive overall, the worsening supply situation is still a concern, with rates of both input costs and selling price inflation running far above anything previously seen. Shipping delays and material shortages are driving huge backlogs of uncompleted work and the surge in manufacturing orders is leading to many firms struggling to boost operating capacity to keep up with demand. With business expectations becoming even more optimistic as the economy rebounds, the big question will be whether firms will be able to cope with the surging inflows of new orders.
“As ongoing supply chain issues are still at large, companies with wide international footprints should look to reassess their logistics strategies by running supply chain stress tests and simulations in order to respond quickly to upswings and variability in demand. A flexible and resilient supply chain will be a key way for businesses to remain both competitive and stable as we emerge from the pandemic”