At this year’s Dreamforce, the Salesforce conference that drew more than 45,000 attendees, the social enterprise was the hot topic. In fact, it was the topic of Marc Benioff’s, CEO of Salesforce, keynote presentation at this year’s conference. Much of the keynote focused on the fact that social is the hottest online trend today and is rapidly becoming an important trend in the enterprise as well.

That’s not necessarily new news nor is it groundbreaking. But the industry that Benioff set his sights on for the social enterprise – manufacturing – came as a bit of surprise. This year’s Dreamforce event witnessed the launch of the first ever social manufacturing software platform – Kenandy. Kenandy is the first software product to incorporate a social tool (Chatter) into the core functionality of the system.

Kenandy is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution built on the Force.com platform. I think that Chatter has a couple of implications that can help make shop floor production a more social enterprise. Chatter can help:

  • Reduce time spent sourcing suppliers;
  • Inform distributors and customers of stock levels;
  • Share best practices with other manufacturers; and,
  • Elicit bids from suppliers when a normal supplier can’t fill an order.

Of course, social tools also carry implications within the four walls of the shop floor as well. A tool like Chatter could help manufacturers communicate with each other more effectively to increase project efficiency. For instance, a shop floor worker might post to Chatter that they just finsihed assembly of a component part and that the next step of production is ready to begin. This would allow workers to spend time working only on value-added activities rather than waiting for another project to be completed.

We’ll have to wait and see what other implications arise out of this product launch. If you have any ideas of your own, I’d love ot hear from you over at the Software Advice blog at: What Does Social Manufacturing Look Like?