Three questions for Joakim Lagerström, Director Customer Success at after-sales specialist Syncron
Already in recent years, the aftermarket has become enormously important for manufacturers. Is it becoming even more important as a result of the Corona pandemic, which has missed many sales targets?
Definitely – this is also confirmed by our customers. It is interesting that they still see potential in availability, sales, margin and also customer satisfaction. In order to exploit these, more investment is needed in digital solutions, for example to improve the off-the-shelf availability of spare parts and to achieve the optimum price. In addition to spare parts, the successful aftermarket also includes an always-available service. The tours of the service technicians must be planned transparently, especially if there are checks at the national borders or corona tests are pending. In addition, there is a high availability of parts. End customers will be happy to pay for a good, reliable service that minimizes downtimes or completely avoids them.
How can service-driven companies ensure the supply of spare parts without expensive warehousing during the crisis?
In order to minimize storage costs and keep availability at the same time, a central view of the entire network is essential. This enables a modern IT solution that, in contrast to many conventional inventory management systems, is based on complex aftermarket structures. Modern systems collect historical consumption values and knowledge about changes in the installed product or spare parts base. The mapping of the entire logistics network across several stages and warehouses creates a data base that allows for significantly better order proposals. Modern algorithms based on artificial intelligence and machine learning are also playing an increasingly important role in this area. In addition, modern systems have analysis and simulation tools that are essential to continuously optimize the management of their own network, including external dealerships and service companies.
How can demand be reliably predicted to enable efficient spare parts logistics?
Basically, companies need to be able to tap some data sources. In the service business, of course, this includes the historical compared to today’s requirements as well as changes in the installed product base. In order to create optimal order points and quantities or storage proposals from the information, taking into account the target values for availability – for example, storage and logistics costs – in an efficient IT solution. Of course, appropriately agile and high-performing supply chains and suppliers are also required, otherwise optimizations cannot be put into practice.
Joakim Lagerström has more than 20 years of experience in project support for production companies in the automotive and aerospace markets. His consulting focus is to increase the efficiency of supply chains by implementing software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. Today, he serves as Director Customer Success at Syncron, a SaaS-based after-sales service provider for cloud-based solutions in spare parts inventory, price, and uptime management. Born in Sweden, he has lived in Bavaria since the late 1990s.
This article was originally published in the April 2021 print edition of trade publication, BVL Magazin, the magazine of the German Logistics Association.