When Amazon.com originally launched, the online marketplace promised to ship items to customers’ doors within five to seven days (although the company often surprised shoppers by delivering sooner). As Amazon’s shipping infrastructure became more sophisticated, the company began offering three-day and even two-day shipping on some items.
More recently, in an almost unbelievable display of logistical coordination, Amazon has begun delivering products to customers the same day. And with its drone project — Amazon Prime Air — the company expects to be able to literally fly a shopper’s items to her doorstep within hours.
Wondering what any of that has to do with your manufacturing company, and why we at eFax Corporate believe it represents another reason your IT team should consider migrating your fax operations to a cloud fax service?
With Businesses Demanding More from Their Manufacturers, You Need Every Advantage to Streamline Operations and Reduce Costs
As a 2017 feature in Forbes points out, Amazon is now the third-largest retailer in the world. (And not just among online retailers — they’re the third-largest retailer, period.) This means that every move Amazon makes to improve its own operations and bring down costs puts pressure on the rest of the retail industry to do the same. So when Amazon makes its shipping faster and more efficient, this puts pressure on virtually every retailer, selling both on Amazon and through other marketplaces, to make its products more readily available.
This Amazon effect means that as a manufacturer, your customers will be continually demanding that you deliver products to them faster, that your company be more responsive to their needs, and that your prices become ever-more affordable.
In other words, your customers are constantly being squeezed both by their customers and by their distributors — Amazon and others. To keep earning their business, you need every advantage your company can find to modernize your processes, streamline your operations, increase efficiency and reduce costs. And one of the areas where you can quickly and cost-effective improve your operations is with your fax infrastructure.
Can you afford to let a mission-critical business communication — like a major new RFP or a change order — go unanswered until someone in your office happens to see the document sitting on a fax machine?
How Migrating to Cloud Faxing Can Give Your Manufacturing Operation a Competitive Advantage
1. With the ability to receive, review, sign and send faxes by email, your staff will be able to respond faster than ever to customers and to new prospective business.
As I pointed out in the introduction, Amazon’s increasingly rapid shipping is heightening demand across all industries for businesses to have inventory on hand and products ready to ship as soon as a customer hits the “Order Now” button.
This means that, as a manufacturer, you have to expect that your customers themselves will demand ever-shorter lead times from your company — and that you will respond to their RFPs, purchase orders and other requests as soon as possible.
But if your organization is still operating a legacy fax infrastructure comprised of desktop fax machines and onsite fax servers, you are running the risk that any customer communication — even an extremely important request, like a major new RFP or a purchase order — might go unanswered until someone in your offices happens to see the document sitting on a fax machine.
With a cloud fax solution, by contrast, you will empower your employees to receive, review, edit, sign and send secure fax documents by email — meaning they’ll know the instant a new change order or RFI is faxed over, and can respond to it immediately.
2. With fax-from-anywhere technology, your company will streamline operations and boost employee productivity.
When researchers at IDC conducted their “2017 Fax Survey” of businesses in four industries — including manufacturing — they learned the top challenge for these organizations when it comes to their fax usage is time and lost productivity. In fact, 42% of respondents said they believe the time employees spend sending and receiving paper faxes is wasteful.
This concern makes perfect sense, given how much effort and time it can take to transmit a single fax document using the analog-era fax processes that most manufacturers still maintain.
Imagine an employee is preparing to submit your organization’s response to an RFI or RFP, and the customer has asked to receive all responses by fax.
If your office still operates on desktop fax machines, that employee will have to print a hardcopy of the response, find an unoccupied fax machine in the office, and then stand at the machine while all of the RFP’s pages are fed through it.
As RFI and RFP responses often run many pages, this can take a while. And that employee will indeed need to wait until the entire document has been transmitted so he can receive a delivery confirmation from the fax machine stating that all pages have successfully reached the recipient. (Sometimes, of course, pages fail to transmit and must be re-sent.)
All of this is to say nothing of the possibility that the customer’s fax number will be busy, and the employee will need to manually redial it until he can connect, or that there will be other employees of your company already using the fax machines in the office and he’ll have to wait in line for it.
Here, again, a cloud fax solution can be a tremendous productivity boon to your organization — particularly if that solution is designed with the unique challenges of manufacturing firms in mind.
With the ability to fax by email, or through a user-friendly web portal, or even directly from a mobile app, your employee in this scenario would be able to send your RFP response securely and without the need for a fax machine — even from the road — as easily as sending an email.
Moreover, the employee would also have a delivery confirmation receipt email to him as soon as the document reached the recipient’s fax machine. And if the fax number were busy, your employee could simply instruct the cloud fax service to continue redialing automatically until it made then connection.
With this kind of technology available — and even more cost-effective than your existing fax infrastructure — why continue supporting, troubleshooting and paying to maintain your legacy fax hardware?
3. With the right cloud fax solution, your important fax documents will be more private and secure than they’ve ever been.
In that same IDC “Fax Survey” report I referenced earlier, business leaders told researchers one reason that they continue to use fax is security. Although other, faster communication protocols exist, these leaders explained, they had more trust in fax transmission to keep their proprietary, confidential and regulated data safe.
For manufacturing executives, the documents they most commonly transmitted by fax for security reasons included purchase orders, shipping notices, invoices, and RFI/RFQ/RFP responses.
These businesses are correct in a sense: Analog fax transmissions are, in many cases, more secure than unencrypted email messages sent across the public Internet using unsecured networks.
With a secure cloud fax solution, on the other hand, your faxes will be more secure than they’ve ever been — both in transit and then at rest, as they are digitally archived forever. Our secure enterprise cloud fax platform, for example, wraps every fax your company sends or receives in the most advanced encryption and security protocols for data transmission; and then we apply just as strict a set of protocols for encrypting and physically safeguarding your fax data in our secure cloud data centers, for the life of your account.
If you’re concerned about data security, and you need to keep transmitting some of your company’s data by fax, then a secure cloud fax solution is clearly the way to go.
Trust the Cloud Fax Industry Leader: eFax Corporate
To this point, I’ve made the case here for the what: an enterprise-caliber, highly secure cloud fax solution to streamline your company’s operations and help boost your business. But I haven’t yet discussed the who.
Of course, this is the easy part. After all, there is only one global cloud fax provider, that serves more than half of the Fortune 500, is trusted by the most heavily regulated industries, and has been providing hosted fax services for thousands of business for two decades.
That company is eFax Corporate.
Our cloud fax services can help your manufacturing business enhance your fax security, improve your responsiveness to customers, and boost your overall fax productivity.