Online brands like Amazon and Uber have cultivated an on-demand mindset where products should ‘just work’ and service should be instantaneous. As a result, manufacturers are seeing a shift towards servitisation, or selling outcomes as opposed to strictly selling products. Advances in technology and data availability – combined with society’s growing appetite for subscription-based services – is fueling this shift.

To capitalise on this opportunity, manufacturers must evolve their after-sales service organisations to focus on maximised product uptime, shifting from the transactional, break-fix service model to one where products are preemptively repaired before they ever fail. This changing market landscape is forcing manufacturers to redefine the way they manage after-sales service, evolving to selling subscription-based, uptime service contracts opposed to only individual service parts.

The status quo is no longer enough, and it’s time for companies to move with these changing times, or risk losing customers in the process. Several external forces are having an impact on this shift to maximised product uptime and manufacturers must be able to adapt to these and any future disruptions – which means having strategies and technologies in place that can evolve and scale as the landscape continues to change.

1. Emerging technology. From IoT, to virtual reality and 3D printing – emerging technologies continue to impact organisations across a variety of industries and verticals. As these technologies continue to evolve and new trends emerge, manufacturers must be equipped to use them to their advantage to become more efficient and effective – as the only way to maximise product uptime is to invest in the proper technologies that will support the new service model.

2. Digitisation. As the shift from brick-and-mortar sales into a more digital, web-based sales model takes over, manufacturers should also expect a shift to an online presence in service part sales. While digitisation used to be incredibly expensive for companies to consider, it’s finally becoming more attainable as the technologies to support this shift are becoming more affordable to implement, track and optimise.

3. Ecommerce. As manufacturers are continuing to seek new and alternative ways to improve the customer experience and boost margins and revenue, they’re also facing a new category of competitors, especially major ecommerce players like Amazon and Alibaba. The ecommerce wave is here to stay and means those who want to survive need to embrace advanced after-sales service solutions, as well as sophisticated emerging technologies.

4. Predictive analytics. With such a heavy focus on maximised product uptime as the key to organisational performance, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics are playing an increasingly larger role in the service supply chain. Preemptive maintenance is at the core of a service model centered on maximised product uptime, and predictive analytics is the only way to make this possible.

5. Proactive maintenance. The shift from ownership to access means that new product sales aren’t going to cut it to meet revenue expectations anymore, so that means proactive maintenance is a new profit lever for manufacturers. Smoothly operating service supply chains are vital for stable profits, and predictive analytics and proactive maintenance are both ways to combat that loss of productivity that unexpected product downtime causes.

It’s clear customer expectations are shifting and, coupled with the market disruptions listed above, manufacturers are being forced to centre their organisations around maximised product uptime. Navigating these disruptive changes requires an entirely new lens – one focused on intelligent algorithms based on customer behavior and the landscape of product demand. Maximised product uptime is woven into every aspect of the after-sales service experience, and smart after-sales service solutions will be the ultimate compass for modern organisations.