The manufacturing industry is struggling to bring back its once-booming labor force. U.S. factory employment dropped to a nine-month low in August as the industry prepared to face an unprecedented holiday shopping season.
Now, employers are in desperate need of workers to help streamline order requests, secure new business and increase overall revenue.
Some are implementing employment incentive programs to draw in workers who are considering returning to the manufacturing industry, or joining for the first time. However, these incentive programs may require both resources and revenue some companies don’t have.
One simple solution manufacturers can incorporate into daily operations to boost business, increase profits and streamline their own digital transformation is proposal management software. Proposal management software is proven to help manufacturers and suppliers streamline the “RFx” process, which includes request for proposals (RFP), request for information (RFI), request for quotes (RFQ) and request for bids (RFB) from new and existing clients.
By implementing proposal management software, employers can see higher win rates among clients and increases in both business opportunities and overall revenue. As a result, companies can dedicate more revenue to rebuilding their labor force with recruitment efforts, signing bonuses and additional salaries and benefits.
Higher Volume, Less Time
For every business, RFx documents are inherently important for securing new clients, projects and revenue opportunities. However, the process of completing these requests is anything but short and sweet for many sales teams.
About 62% of companies have dedicated proposal teams who spend an average 7.6 days to complete just one RFP, according to a recent survey by RFx software company QorusDocs. About 28 employees are involved in the RFP development process at these companies.
Following the sudden decline of employees in manufacturing this past year, companies are readjusting daily operations to accommodate a smaller labor force. As a result, many departments are dealing with an increase in order demands and fewer employees to complete these timely RFx documents. According to QorusDocs, 64% of sales and proposal teams reportedly saw an increase of 30-56% in RFPs from customers from 2020 to 2021. However, on average, 20% of RFPs are left incomplete each year.
With proposal management software, manufacturers can fulfill more annual RFx documents even if they’re operating with fewer employees. Proposal management software streamlines the RFx process by auto-generating information so proposal and sales teams don’t have to tediously enter in data manually for every request.
Additionally, proposal management software is a comprehensive tool that also has the capacity to filter out weaker data and incorporate information that performs well in RFx documents. Through this, manufacturers can tailor RFx documents to meet specific clients’ needs and requests while strengthening their overall database of information.
After implementing proposal management software, more than 70% of sales teams were able to process a higher volume of requests and cut time spent on RFPs by 53%, QorusDocs said.
Companies using RFx software say they can respond to approximately 23 RFPs per month — versus 13 RFPs without the software. In addition, 95% of survey respondents reported that proposal management software helped them respond to requests in a timelier manner, helping companies meet client expectations and edge out potential competitors.
The study also found that teams using proposal management software reported that 34% of average sales revenue came from RFPs for new business in the past year. Meanwhile, 48% saw an increase in win rate from existing customers by 66%.
By completing more RFx documents per year, companies greatly increase their chances of securing new business and revenue opportunities. In fact, companies could be losing out on a whopping $725,000 of revenue each year by not completing RFx documents, QorusDocs research showed.
The current employment crisis isn’t isolated to the manufacturing industry. Two-thirds of businesses across 43 countries have cited major staffing issues, according to a recent report from ManpowerGroup. The study found that 69% of businesses are having difficulty filling vacant positions — a 15-year high.
In the U.S., manufacturing, finance and business services, transportation and public utilities are a few of the industries facing the highest rates of hiring difficulty. However, ManpowerGroup’s report found that hiring incentives can greatly increase companies’ recruitment outcomes.
In fact, offering sign-on bounces, higher wages and more flexible work schedules were the top incentives identified to both attract and retain talent. Likewise, manufacturers are incorporating other tactics such as paying workers weekly and making same-day job offers rather than waiting after interviews.
However, the majority of these successful incentives require a great amount of resources and expenses manufacturers may not have. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it costs an employer approximately $4,000 to hire and onboard a new employee. In addition, manufacturers are also dealing with rising operational expenses as the cost of commodities such as wood, brick, steel and other metals continues to rise.
By implementing proposal management software, manufacturers can secure new business and revenue opportunities by completing more RFx documents more effectively. As a result, more funds can be delegated toward these crucial recruitment efforts, adding incentives for workers to return to or join the manufacturing industry during these trying times.
Recent studies predict that as many as 2.1 million manufacturing jobs will be unfilled through 2030. As a result, the ongoing worker shortage will hurt revenue, production and could cost the U.S. economy up to $1 trillion by 2030. It’s vital that manufacturers find ways to incorporate these crucial hiring incentives to draw in workers as the industry bounces back post-pandemic. Incorporating proposal management software is one simple solution manufacturers can implement to help bring back the labor force stronger than ever.
Ray Meiring is CEO of QorusDocs.
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