You’ve worked diligently to optimize and automate nearly every part of your supply chain. And, when a customer arrives to a shop for a repair, the mechanics they interact with are highly knowledgeable and determined to help. But, what happens if you aren’t stocked with the correct part to make the needed repair?

Every aspect of your business should have the end customer in mind, but repair services are arguably the most crucial components to the customer experience. For service dealers in particular, this area of business not only serves as a consistent “face” to your company – the individuals interacting with your customers on a regular basis – but also can be a key component to improving financial performance for your business as a whole.

Too often, your brand’s main ambassadors are left providing unsatisfactory excuses as customers are told a necessary part is not in stock to make the repair – leading to an inconvenienced and dissatisfied customer, and lost revenues. In a situation that is already stressful for your customer, regardless if the maintenance is routine or unexpected, you want to ensure that you are stocked with the correct part to make the repair within a reasonable amount of time.

So, how can you ensure every time a customer comes in for a repair, you can reply with “Yes, we have that part in stock”?

Fortunately, technologies exist to manage spare parts and make these bad customer experiences a thing of the past. The key to successful technology, however, is a powerful integration engine that connects multiple inventory networks onto a single platform.

Now, what exactly are the benefits of a single technology platform?

First, keep in mind it’s imperative to be able to monitor, trace and optimize your aftermarket business processes, incorporating real-time data from multiple sources – and this is something that only a service dealer inventory management system is able to provide.

The benefits are abundant. A single solution provides an integration with multiple – if not all – service dealer management systems within a network. Allowing service shops to have this kind of visibility into other locations ultimately impacts business in several positive ways, including the ability to quickly locate a necessary spare part to make a repair for a customer in-store that day. If service dealer A can see that service dealer B has the necessary part in stock and they are only 25 miles away, for example, someone can retrieve that part and eliminate the guess work or need to contact a manufacturer, saving time and money, and most importantly, providing the customer with a great experience.

Additionally, the proper technology will allow for efficient redistribution of stock. Taking into account inventories from multiple service dealers, the system analyzes demand, what’s been sold and what hasn’t, and redistributes spare parts to dealers that are most likely to sell and use the parts in their own shops. This ultimately keeps inventory costs down for both manufacturers and dealers, minimizing the amount of inventory initially purchased.

Not only does technology allow for stock redistribution, but also provides automated forecasting, enabling businesses to move beyond spreadsheets and guesswork, to a system that will tell them exactly which parts they should have in stock and when. This creates less work for service parts managers, and also provides the end customer with that awesome experience they crave when the part needed to repair their car is in stock and makes the process quick and efficient.

Finally, sophisticated technology typically allows for a buyback program, which lets manufacturers take back unsold inventory originally provided to service dealers. Of course, there are parameters they need to operate in, but buyback programs allow these service dealers to focus more on processes and demand instead of line-by-line orders, saving a lot of administrative time and building trust between the manufacturer and dealer.

Manufacturers owe it to their service professionals to empower them with the right tools to deliver the superior experiences today’s customers expect and demand. And, automating and optimizing inventory management is the best way to achieve this. Ensure the customer experience is amazing at every interaction to achieve lifetime loyalty.