According to Dun & Bradstreet, equipments at Fortune 500 companies experience a downtime of about 1.6 hours per week. The economic loss of the downtime is estimated to be around $46 million per year. When there are millions to be saved by increasing uptime, buyers are looking at manufacturers who can deliver them equipments with greater uptime. Buyers are demanding performance (uptime) commitments than just taking pride for owning products. Let’s understand how few manufacturers are trying to ensure higher uptimes by going an extra mile.
At “UPTIME”, a biennial event conducted by Volvo Trucks, its North American president Gӧran Nyberg said “Even a single day of downtime can affect a trucking company’s reputation and relationship with its customer, so we strive to continue to develop new products and services to keep customers’ trucks on the road.” Volvo uses its global network of 2,200 dealers and workshops in more than 120 countries to ensure higher uptime of its trucks. Since 2010, Volvo’s dealers have invested $435 million in facilities and personnel, resulting in a 37% increase in bay capacity and 89% more technicians.
Volvo Construction Equipment (VCE) division guarantees that machines experiencing unexpected downtime will be up and running within 72 hours, or the customer will be provided with a comparable loaner for up to 2 weeks. Its competitor, Hyundai Construction Equipment is promising an uptime of 98% for its Wheel Loaders, if proper preventive maintenance procedures are followed.
Leading Indian carmaker Maruti Suzuki, which is widely recognised as having great after-sales service, has 3,060 service stations (inclusive of dealer workshops and Maruti Authorised Service Stations) in 1,454 towns and cities throughout India, which is more than double of its nearest competitor. Not be complacent, Maruti has come out with a programme to skill up 2,100 youth annually on car service, repairs and maintenance. This programme will supply a good number of skilled automobile technicians to the market, who across the country will come handy when Maruti’s customers face challenges.
Underscoring the importance of Aftermarket support, Maruti Suzuki’s service division Executive Director Mr. Pankaj Narula said ”Our experience suggests that a key determinant in the car buying decision is the after-sales network, its accessibility, service costs and the availability of spare parts. Our big goal has been to run a robust service network that also supports sales.” One of Maruti’s competitor Tata Motors has plans to double its dealership network to 1000 by 2020 in India, so that it can serve its customers better.
It’s evident that, equipment uptime can only be met with a robust Aftermarket support network, which is not just about comprehensive technology but also about skilled personnel.
Focus on uptime is not just restricted to Heavy equipment & automobile, but also in sectors like, Industrial refrigeration, Wind Turbines, Industrial Print Machines, Medical Devices, Farm Equipments and Water Treatment Equipments, etc. Leading companies from these sectors have employed following practices that are enabling them to deliver higher uptime.
- Effective Communication: Ways & means of registering a downtime should be very short & simple. For example, allowing customer to register a complaint through an SMS is a great facility to have & acknowledging the same will give customers the first level of respite. Service technicians should be able to access details like service history, parts replaced, etc on the go. Also, field technicians should be able to update the job status in real-time may be through SMS or Mobile app.
- Preventive maintenance: Major downtime issues can be prevented by regularly checking on areas like hydraulic fuel levels, Oil levels, Air & Oil filters, etc. Manufacturers are persuading customers to undergo preventive maintenance activities through awareness campaigns & also by sending reminders.
- Proactively identifying issues: Systems use knowledge base to identify the vulnerable areas of equipments. For example, based on HMR reading, system will predict the replacement of oil filters.
- Deploying ‘Rapid Service Action’ teams strategically: Even after best efforts, emergencies will continue to come. Preparation is the best way to respond to any emergency. Service technicians are placed close to customers by analysing the equipment density, their working hours, etc.
- Leveraging the strength of Dealer Network: Regular training dealer’s personnel on servicing, using electronic tools is an economical & efficient way to increase uptime. Also, share updated electronic catalogues (parts, service etc) across the dealer network swiftly.
Apart from generating more revenue, higher uptimes help your customer in meeting their commitments, which in turn elicits loyalty and repurchase of your equipments. So, time is up to focus on Uptime!
Quest Informatics is an Aftermarket IT product and services specialist company. Quest has more than two decades of experience in supporting Fortune Global 500 Companies. It was awarded as the Aftermarket Brand of the Year-2014. Quest Aftermarket ERP is a comprehensive, robust, flexible, intelligent product which addresses all the challenges of Aftermarket and will be up and running within 3 months. Many have boosted their Aftermarket revenue up to 35% post implementation of it.
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