How Flowserve Used Technology as a Guiding Light in Times of Uncertainty.

Nov 16, 2020
5 min read
The current global crises has created fundamental shifts in how the manufacturing industry functions. Learn how one global Xactly customer, Flowserve, dealt with these disruptions and how they used technology to navigate instability.

While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the personal implications COVID-19 has had on ourselves, many facets of business and the economy are still suffering from the after-effects, one of those major industries being manufacturing. For the first time in history, supply, demand, and the workforce have been hit all at the same time for manufacturing organizations.

At our user conference Xactly Unleashed Virtual, we were fortunate to have experts, like David Lowe, Director, Global Sales Operations, Flowserve Corporation, come and speak with us about how they’ve been handling disruption and what new technologies and strategies they’ve been adopting to aid growth acceleration in these challenging times.

Flowserve Corp. is one of the world’s leading providers of fluid motion and control products and services. Operating in more than 55 countries with a heritage dating back 230 years ago to 1790, this established company produces engineered and industrial pumps, seals, and valves as well as a range of related flow management services. As a global enterprise employing over 17,500+ people worldwide, Flowserve felt this pain on a large scale. 

The pandemic hit manufacturers in an unexpected and unprecedented way which resulted in a laundry list of short term and long term effects. Lowe discussed how having access to the right kind of intuitive solutions and technology helped him and his teams gain stability and pivot current plans with speed and agility in order to carry on their day-to-day activities with minimal disturbance.  

What Challenges are Organizations in Manufacturing Facing Right Now? 

Short-Term Effects of the Pandemic on Manufacturing 

Every major manufacturer is now experiencing disruptions across their supply chains. As recognized by Industry Week, a few immediate effects felt by these organizations include:

  • Panic induced buying has interrupted the supply chain 
  • Demand has seen a dramatic drop as economic conditions remain volatile. 
  • 40%-50% of workforces are unable to work in the same office due to social distancing laws, decreasing output, and pushing out deliverable dates. Factories, for the most part, but especially in emerging markets, are not designed to operate remotely. Resulting in a complete halt of production which can result in less canceled or backfilled orders. 
  • Manufacturing sites shut down, resulting in eliminating future output. 
  • Ports around the world closed—crippling the supply chain of goods that were manufactured prior to the shut-down
  • The global economy was hit hard, which meant businesses could no longer purchase materials as they were unsure how long this disruption would last. 

Even though these are ‘short-term’ effects, many organizations are still feeling the long tail of these issues. Manufacturers who relied on heavily hit regions must now be very flexible with their supply chain. Thankfully for Flowserve, Lowe and his team were able to use Xactly solutions to gain real-time visibility into their global markets and pivot sales plans as they started to feel the impact of disruption in waves.

We've seen that COVID came on in these geographical phases. So as a multinational company, we had a trial run in Asia Pacific, and then it moved into Europe, and we iterated a bit and got a little bit better, and then it came into the Americas

David Lowe, Director, Global Sales Operations
Flowserve Corporation

As a global company, Flowserve was able to monitor the situation when it first hit its Asia/Pacific plants so they were able to build up their online infrastructures to help aid changes in work dynamics as the virus spread. By the time it hit the Americas, their operations were already prepared and briefed on new company policies and plans.

Long-Term Effects of the Pandemic on Manufacturing 

Given the pace of change, we all expect this period of disruption to continue for some time. But, at some point, the world and nation will enter into recovery mode which makes it critical to build a contingency plan for when that time comes. 

According to Industry Week, “As governments and multi-nationals seek better insights into the complexities of supply and distribution chains for critical goods, digital tools will help better inform policy and business decisions. Greater visibility and coordination across the supply chain will enable better collaboration with a wider base of suppliers, ultimately driving decoupled, highly efficient—and more resilient—supply chains.” In the long run, organizations that utilize a global network of suppliers will be the ones that thrive. In order to survive, these same global suppliers must also embrace the idea that they will need to seek out new customers to expand their reach and diversify their revenue streams to create a cushion against the unknown. 

How Does Xactly Help Organizations Face These Challenges Head-On? 

Last year, Forbes published an article where they referred to data as ‘the new oil’ and spoke to the idea that data had become the world’s most valuable resource. Our current global crisis has made having access to reliable, real-time data an absolute necessity for coordinating the right medical response.

During the panel, Lowe stated, “We need to transform data into insights into action.” You need comprehensive data to understand the health of your company, plan effectively, and analyze performance. From there, you can use those insights to create sales plans that are grounded in fact and accuracy. 

In this case, because of their pre-existing access to intuitive and scalable solutions, Flowserve was better equipped to push out these technology shifts at an accelerated pace in order to equip their people to stay informed and in touch during this process. Data modeling, data analysis, and industry data is Xactly’s core initiative for revenue-generating activities which allowed Flowserve to be better equipped to push out technology shifts at an accelerated pace. 

Xactly establishes a logical process flow where data can be turned into actionable insights. This includes, but is not limited to:

Planning and Forecasting Capabilities:

  • Real-Time KPI’s and Scenario Modeling/What-if-Analysis within our Incentives and planning based tools will help keep your organization agile.  

Incentive Compensation Management:

  • Remote work will result in an increased need to collaborate effectively. spreadsheets are not only outdated and error-prone, but also hard to digest due to the number of line items and often ineffective design layout of the person managing the sheet. Xactly products are cloud-based and grounded in a standardized process.

Territory Design & Management:

  • The revival of domestic-based production will result in new markets to sell into. 
  • Territory optimization maps balances territories based on sales potential
  • Sales planning sets headcount in areas of highest opportunity

Digitization & Benchmarking:

  • Automation will reduce the need for back-office functions, and allow organizations to reallocate resources into revenue-generating capacities. 
  • With Xactly you know where to hire, how many to hire, and when to hire- all the while ensuring a balanced operational structure within budget. 
  • Sales reps will need to better understand their pipeline and commissions structure in order to be successful in the midst of uncertainty. 

Why Choosing the Right Partner is the Best Next Step for Your Organization 

There’s a new awareness that the “old ways” of doing work won’t cut it any longer. In this new environment, harnessing real-time insights to inform smart decision-making is an urgent need for sales organizations to maintain momentum, accelerate recovery, and ensure continued growth. This is made possible by choosing a partner, not just a vendor.   

The crux of it is a partnership. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. What we are looking for is smart partners to help us through this process with a wider perspective. Is what we’re doing the most effective thing? Through solution workshops and assessments Xactly can help us travel that path and inform our choices as a true process

David Lowe, Director, Global Sales Operations
Flowserve Corporation

Want to learn more about how Flowserve used technology to remain competitive, increase data visibility, and make quicker business decisions in the face of market instability? Tune into our recent webinar with David Lowe to get the full story, “Accelerated Agility: How Flowserve Overcame Disruption”.

  • Manufacturing
  • Customer Story
  • Incentive Compensation
  • Sales Performance Management
Gary Cottrell Headshot
Gary Cottrell
VP, Product Growth

As Xactly's leader of Product Growth, Gary does more than just dream about the future. Combining his 20-year software background with modern data analysis, he believes in augmenting his intuition with facts that only data can tell. He's deeply committed to building amazing solutions that deliver irreplaceable value.