User Roles Increase Efficiencies Between Field Service Technicians and Purchasing Agents
by Kris Harrington
Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) that wish to remain competitive understand that eCommerce is a requirement—no longer just an option. The pressure for implementing a digital sales strategy grows each day as a new and younger buyer demographic moves in on the market. However, having an eCommerce presence doesn’t automatically mean that it will see a wide user adoption.
The creation of a B2B eCommerce strategy is a step in the right direction for OEMs that want to boost their efficiency. Allowing them an opportunity to be proactive and upsell their products, eCommerce provides new opportunities for businesses to increase conversions. However, efficiency can always be increased and the designation of eCommerce user roles might be an available functionality to accomplish that.
A refined user management system allows a manufacturer to designate roles and permissions for various webstore users. This functionality allows manufacturing customers with multiple buyers or a layered organizational structure to interface with a single website. Maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) user types benefit the most from the designation of roles because they tend to work together. Typically a purchasing agent is tasked with vendor selection and purchasing of parts and equipment for a business, while a service technician is responsible for the diagnosis, parts identification and repair of equipment. For these two user types to accomplish their tasks however, they need to communicate actively with one another throughout the process. The functionality of user role permissions can potentially mitigate the complexity of their tasks while completing the same goal. Two standard scenarios have been outlined below to demonstrate the benefit of utilizing this functionality.
User Roles Workflow
A service technician, with a quote-only user role, is sent out to diagnose a machine out of service due to a needed repair. The service technician looks over the machine and diagnoses the issue. The technician can login with their credentials to the OEM’s eCommerce store, identify the part(s) that need to be replaced, and add the part(s) to their shopping cart to create a quotation. Once the quotation has been created, the purchasing agent with the quote and order user role can login to the eCommerce site utilized by the field technician and evaluate the quotation and purchase the parts.
The benefit of this scenario is that the purchasing agent can view a quote remotely while also eliminating a step in the process by having the service technician do the work for them. However, some OEM manufacturers provide service technicians for owners of their equipment as well. In the event that a piece of equipment breaks down and needs to be repaired, the buyer can utilize the service technician from the OEM to make the repair. The benefit of this scenario is that the OEM is paid to send out the service technician, which presents a revenue opportunity. This also increases the likelihood of the customer purchasing parts exclusively through the OEM. Let’s say that a machine breaks down and needs to be repaired as soon as possible. The purchasing agent with a quote and order role will contact the OEM and have a service technician sent out to the machine to diagnose and fix the issue. The service technician has the ability to quote and in some cases, order the parts to repair the machine on the purchasing agents behalf—known as Internal quoting and ordering.
Efficiency Where it Matters
Since different users require different permissions, it’s important to understand their needs and provide appropriate functionality. In some instances it might make sense to grant quoting and ordering permissions to a user, while it may make sense to grant only quote permission to another. Regardless, understanding that this functionality exists, can help manufacturers further increase their efficiency, conversions, and revenue. Keep in mind that not all eCommerce platforms have the ability to provide this functionality to their users.
GenAlpha’s eCommerce and eCatalog solution, Equip, is built specifically for manufacturers that understand the need for increased efficiency within MRO workflows. A deep understanding of the manufacturing industry has allowed GenAlpha to design a solution for original equipment manufacturers to improve supply chain visibility and drive operational efficiencies. To learn more about Equip and its capabilities, request a demo today.