Kawasaki Engines focuses on customer centricity with Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez January 11, 2021
Kawasaki Engines needed to make a shift from siloed data to a clearer view of the customer, with the help of Salesforce.

Image of some Kawasaki engines
(Image sourced via Kawasaki Engines website)

Established in 1878, Kawasaki Engines is part of the Kawasaki Heavy Industries Group and works with over 40 OEM partners that use the company's world-class engines for lawn mowing equipment and golf carts. Not only this, but the company also has a direct to dealer sales platform, which sells to over 7,500 dealers worldwide. 

Kawasaki Engines prides itself on delivering not only great engines, but also excellent customer support, service and care. However, in recent years it found that its approach to customer centricity was being hampered by its inability to get a clear view of its data, with divisional silos obstructing the ability to share information throughout the organisation. 

As such, Kawasaki embarked on a project to become one of the first customers to use Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud, to establish a 360 view of the customer. 

Speaking recently at Salesforce's virtual DreamTX event, Tony Gondick, IT Business Strategy Manager at Kawasaki Motors Corp, explained that Kawasaki is kept busy throughout the entire year servicing and supporting its varying OEMs and dealers, in terms of placing orders, deliveries, warranty claims, quality assurance, inside sales and different marketing activities. 

However, Gondick was aware that silos were limiting its ability to effectively become customer centric. He said: 

Like other companies, we experienced a lot of siloing between our teams, when it concerns collaboration and communication. There were frequent breakdowns as teams were sharing information, amongst each - customers were calling in to a lot of teams and were not getting all of the necessary information that they needed to do the job correctly, or to the best of their ability. 

So we needed to have a way to improve upon that and also excel in our relationships. Our company is built on the relationships we have with all of our partners, our customers, and our leadership wanted to make sure that we had a thorough and engaging experience when each customer reached out to us.

Experiencing pain 

Gondick added that Kawasaki's customers were also being influenced by a lot of non-traditional competition, in terms of how they could shop and receive shipments from newer companies - which was changing the expectations of buyers. This made it increasingly imperative for Kawasaki to modernise and bring in some changes. Gondick said: 

We needed to change our complete approach. We needed to change how we were accepting orders, how we were servicing our customers, how that customer experience was being conducted by each and every member of our organisation. And finally we had to change how we were managing our internal team structure and our data usage. 

So, there were a lot of challenges, there were a lot of pains that were being experienced, but we were able to overcome quite a lot of those. 

Kawasaki decided to use Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud as a platform to deliver some of these changes. Gondick said that the company was already a Salesforce customer, but that the Manufacturing Cloud came pre-built, but also offered flexible programming that could easily be manipulated and customised within hours. In addition to this, Kawasaki felt that Manufacturing Cloud offered the collaboration and data sharing it desired. He said: 

Using Manufacturing Cloud as a data source, we were able to see more team collaboration around all of that data and communication increased all for the better. We were able to share critical information widely and quickly amongst all of our teams. We didn't have to use spreadsheets, or other means of trying to consolidate that data together.

We were also able to expose the relevant customer data that we needed to with our partners, so our OEMs and our manufacturing plant were able to get insights that we've collected through our sales history, our order history, our forecasting and demand planning, as well as all of the customer data that was being entered into Salesforce. 

All of that added a lot of comfort to the users. And with the solid security controls over who could see what and do what with our data, we were confident that we could expose what was needed from a business perspective to each team, so that they could do their job to the best of their ability. 

The impact of COVID-19

When the pandemic took hold at the beginning of 2020, Kawasaki Engines was classed as an essential service provider, given that it's customers needed to continue mowing grass. However, there was a concern that COVID-19 would impact Kawasaki's culture and focus on relationships, as everyone at the company shifted to working from home. 

However, Gondick said that having Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud in place helped significantly. He explained: 

We didn't want to lose that culture that we had built, so we needed to change our entire way of working from an in-office culture to working from and in-home culture. We needed a means and a capability to continue the conversations, to continue the collaboration and communication. And so to accomplish that, having access to business data was absolutely critical for us, it was essential to be able to be successful. 

We also had to have have that continued means of of communicating across all different channels, between OEM partners and dealers, that may email us, that may call us, that may just send a text message, or a fax. We had to have that capability across multiple communication channels through the foundation that we built in Salesforce, and with our implementation partners we were able to have our teams continue working, even at home. 

They still had access to the data, they still had access to the tools and the functionality that they needed to collaborate and communicate in real time. 

We did not lose any aspect of our culture, we didn't lose any aspect of the relationship, we were able to pivot and work within this new normal that COVID had introduced 

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