Maintenance

Over the years more and more people have realized that maintenance on a piece of capital equipment is one of the more critical activities to conduct to reduce the owning and operating costs of that piece of equipment. This is true for your vehicle or washing machine just as much as for your machine.

There was a sudden recognition some time ago that the “customer” didn’t really appreciate how important maintenance was in extending the useful life of that machine. They felt, in many cases, that maintenance was simply dropping fluids and changing filters. As most of you know it is far more than that. Along with this recognition the various suppliers started to make it easy for the customer to maintain their machinery. They sold maintenance agreements and extended warranties offering the customer piece of mind and a reasonable price. But there still remained one serious stumbling block – Service Management.

Yes, in many cases, the Service Managers are in the way. You see they are very busy people. They don’t have enough people in their organization to support the current service workload. This service organization is a subject of one of our webinars next week. Check at www.rjslee.com under the learning tab for more information.

I am struck by the fact that everyone knows how to run a parts department or a service department except of course the people that actually do run the parts departments and service departments. This is one of the major challenges facing management in equipment dealers. How do we get professional management into parts and service when we don’t have sufficient respect for the work that is being done in these departments?

A new discussion on market share

Al Wiley, an executive of Xpectmor, sent us a comment on our recent Market Share post. He says that “market share is the definitive measure of customer satisfaction.” Of course he is right. The measure of market share, however,  is what causes the dilemma for many of us.

In the equipment market it is reasonably easy to define market share. There are a finite number of transactions and everyone knows what everyone got. For instance, we have five different suppliers in the market with sales last month. Supplier #1 got 4 sales, supplier #2 got 1 sale, supplier #3got 2 sales, supplier #4 got 2 sales and supplier #5 got 1 sale. The market share is a simple matter of arithmetic. Supplier #1 got 40% market share and so on.

With the parts and service business it gets more complicated. The various suppliers into the market don’t know what the other suppliers sold during any particular period. So how can we possibly calculate the market share of any particular supplier? That is why there has not been any real definitive publication for market share.

When I first started in the Industry in the late 1960’s some suppliers used to conduct a personal survey with each and every one of their customers worldwide. Can you imagine the time and cost for such a survey? Well they did them and they published the results within their distribution network. It was not precisely accurate but it was a very good indicator of where you stood as a dealer in parts and service market share.

As more and more machines get GPS equipped and the dealers/distributors, manufacturers and customers become more adept at understanding telematics and their use we have a terrific opportunity. We can calculate what the consumption of parts and service “should” be on a machine.

This is the first problem. The customer doesn’t always follow the recommendations of the manufacturer of the machine for the maintenance intervals nor the maintenance items to be dealt with for a particular service. Similarly when it is obvious that a repair should be made with a “new component” sometimes a repair that I call “bubble gum and band aids” will be performed. You might be wondering why this is important. Well it is due to the fact that all we can do is calculate the “potential” consumption of parts and service for a particular machine in a specific application running a specific number of hours. It is this potential that we have to use to calculate our “market capture” rate. See now we change the word. It is no longer market share it is market capture.

The dealer captures the potential business based on their actual sales of parts and service. Once we have these facts nad have them for a sufficient period of time we can make a clear statement about capture rates are the success and/or failure of the particular strategy that a dealer is following. The time is now.
 

 

 

 

Selling Skills

Preparation is one of the keys to good selling skills. Of course that is common sense for most or at least it should be if you want to succeed at selling.

Imagine not know the customer? Not knowing what they want and need. What they own and how to make their operations more effective. The job is to reduce owning and operating costs while at the same time protecting the residual value of the capital good. This applies to everything – cars, boats, ovens and equipment.

Knowing who the customer is; their buying habits, personal attributes, their needs and wants, the relationship that they have with your company. These are critical factors. You should also know that they don’t purchase everything from you yet be sincerely interested in where they do buy if not from you and why. This is when you can bring your specialized selling skills to the interaction. Find out what it is they particularly like about that supplier and you will know what you have to do. Bring on the features and benefits and the value proposition. It is pretty simple if you pay attention and do your homework. The time is now…..

Dashboard Management

In the January issue of the Construction Equipment Digest, the monthly magazine of the Associated Equipment Distributors, my monthly column focused on the use of Dashboards as a management tool. You can see the article at www.rjslee.com under the Articles tab, CED January 2012.

I suppose the promotion of Dashboard management started with Jack Welsh’s book “Straight from the Gut – although where ever it got its push to get into the mainstream of management it really doesn‘t matter other than the fact that it got there.

The old management by walking around style is still with us and useful. That haviong been said the current group of professional managers needs different tools for different times.

What has been your experience with Dashboards?

Here we are…

Welcome to our blog. We will be involved in discussions and debates on all subjects relating to the operational aspects of equipment dealers and distributors in the Capital Goods Industries. Parts, Service, Product Support Selling, Marketing and Customer Service will be our focus here. But we don’t want to limit your repsonses or thinking to those topics alone. We hope you enjoy and will learn without having to incur the scars on various parts of your body or mind.

Keep involved and participate as we communicate with you on a weekly basis. Thanks for your interest.

The time is now…