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Delivering exceptional service continues to get tougher and tougher. Customers demand service organizations resolve issues the first time. Technicians have to solve ever more complex problems as equipment become more advanced. Service leaders have to coordinate global service teams while demand fluctuates wildly across their network.

And despite all of these challenges, service must still operate efficiently and profitability, otherwise the service organization will soon be out of business. Though this equation seems quite dire, day in and day out service organizations and manufacturers excel at ensuring they have the right technician, with the right skills, in front of the right customer, at the right time to deliver the right answer. But even if all of these ‘rights’ line up, too often the technician doesn’t have the right part to actually close the work order. This is unacceptable.

As seen in Aberdeen’s recent report, See The Future of Field Service in 3D (August 2015), more than half (54%) of all service visits require a service part in order to complete the job. Despite the critical importance of having the right part to solve issues, parts management still remains an afterthought for many service leaders. It continues to fall under the oversight of operations or supply chain. But I would urge everyone who is trying to improve service to rethink how spare parts are impacting your business.

I just launched a survey to explore a number of topics tied to service parts management. Topics such as parts forecasting, parts pricing, reverse logistics, and emerging markets will be explored. As you have seen earlier, this project isn’t meant to be an exercise solely for those of us that like to talk about inventory. Parts management impacts the entire service organization, the customer, and your viability as a business. So please take a bit of time to share your thoughts, best practices, and challenges. I will publish some of the initial findings at the end of September. And I can’t wait to see how organizations like yours deal with this critical aspect of service.

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