Build a Resilient Aftermarket Service Business (Part 2)

Life is full of challenges. Whether it’s finding a parking spot, dealing with a difficult boss or surviving COVID-19, we all face obstacles that test our patience and resilience.

There’s that word again—resilience.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of running a business in 2023? Do you wish you could just go back to simpler times when your only worry was making a profit and keeping your customers happy? We hate to break it to you, but those days are long gone. Nowadays, businesses face a plethora of problems that can make even the most seasoned CEO lose sleep at night. Here are three of the biggest ones:

Inflation and economic downturn

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ve probably noticed that everything is getting more expensive. From gas to groceries to gadgets, prices are soaring like never before. And that’s not good news for businesses that must deal with rising costs and shrinking revenues. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), global growth is expected to slow down in 2023 due to inflation and other factors.

Supply chain security

Remember when you could order anything online and have it delivered within a few days? Yeah, me neither. Thanks to COVID-19, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and labour shortages caused by the Great Resignation, supply chains are more disrupted than ever. As a result, businesses must deal with delays, supply shortages and quality issues when sourcing their materials or products from global suppliers. According to Accenture, supply chain problems could result in a potential €920 billion loss to the GDP across the Eurozone by 2023. Ouch!

Increasing customer expectations

Customers today are not satisfied with just buying stuff from you. They want more than that. They want immersive experiences that engage them emotionally and intellectually. They want personalised recommendations that cater to their preferences and needs. They want seamless interactions across multiple channels and platforms. And they want all of this at lightning speed and low cost. Sounds impossible, right? Well, not quite. But it does require a lot of creativity and innovation from businesses that want to keep up with customer demands in 2023.

How can you mitigate these challenges, and how are other companies coping? Now we have some answers. Put simply, companies are not coping very well. Syncron and Field Service Associates Ltd. (FSAL) commissioned a Vanson Bourne survey of 500 companies in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Nordics. They contacted CIOs, CFOs, vice presidents of supply chain and service leaders to get an unprecedented view of their challenges.

85% of those surveyed find meeting customer expectations in aftermarket service challenging, and 95% would prefer a modular service lifecycle management solution that dovetails with their existing systems and platforms. However, only 24% report using a third-generation, agile SaaS solution. No wonder companies struggle to tackle their system and process challenges—only a quarter of them have invested in technology that complements and supports the delivery of their strategic plans.

It gets worse as global economic factors affect fiscal performance. According to the survey, 87% of CFOs in the U.S. anticipate that inflation and increased costs will significantly impact their organisation’s ability to operate successfully. Other regions are experiencing similarities, with 81% of CFOs outside the U.S. in agreement.

Furthermore, 82% of those surveyed report pressures on working capital, 82% are experiencing labour shortages and 81% are seeing margin erosion. All of this data points to the fact that a significant number of companies are struggling in many areas that haven’t traditionally been problematic, at least not for this generation.

You certainly aren’t alone in facing these challenges, but resilience by itself can’t carry you through. Instead, the path forward involves changing processes and technology to reflect the current economic climate.

In our next blog, we’ll discuss the benefits of addressing these challenges and how some companies excel in these difficult times.

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