2. Achieving Organization Alignment
Alignment and collaboration between original equipment sales, parts sales, and field service teams is an essential factor in aftermarket success for OEMs. All too often, these departments gravitate into silos with each team competing against the other and hinders the growth within the aftermarket.
So how can you break these silos down and align your organization to secure the improvement of the customer experience and an upward trend in revenue generation? Here are a few ideas that may help.
Rewrite The Mission Statement
OEMs traditionally see themselves as primarily being suppliers of equipment, not as service providers. Even though there is a shift in that perception today, your company may not have recrafted its mission statement to reflect the importance of aftermarket growth. Any activity which can generate 30% or more of a company’s overall revenue should be considered worthy of inclusion into the corporate vision and, therefore, a place in its mission statement.
A strong mission statement helps to utilize all organizational members in a drive to meet common objectives, providing strategic direction for the entire enterprise. So, if necessary, your company should revise its mission statement to include the vision of aftermarket success and differentiation through proactive product lifecycle support.
Select The Right Performance Metrics
Of course, along with a revised mission statement, strategic objectives and performance goals must also reflect the importance of aftermarket success. This change, in turn, drives a need for key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure results and steer efforts in the right direction.
Take a look at your aftermarket success measurements and ask yourself and your colleagues the following questions:
• Do our metrics cut across teams and departments to measure sales and service performance effectively?
• Are any of our KPIs likely to encourage creative conflict and competition among teams?
• Does our KPI suite compromise customer-focused metrics, or does it predominantly focus on internal activity?
While it’s important to quantify performance internally, customer-focused metrics can be better used to transcend silos and unite new product sales, parts sales and field service teams in creating value for the customers they serve.
It’s also true that functional KPIs can increase the risk that teams and departments will behave in a way that can be detrimental to cross-functional effectiveness. In this case, performance measures might hinder progress, rather than drive customer satisfaction and aftermarket success. KPIs that bring alignment, such as overall customer growth, should be the focus of this activity.
Clear Category Management
Category management is a concept employed to segment aftermarket parts and team members into distinct areas. Most of us already break our parts down internally by categories, because it is an easy way for us to look across our inventory. However, we need to engage the entire OEM team to grow and gain market share, so we need to think a little more strategically and add additional categories. Each of these distinct teams is defined by a set of factors to ensure that similar types of parts are grouped and are marketed according to their specific attributes, such as:
• Provide application expertise
• Allow for strategic product initiatives
• Support feedback from customers
• Drive for innovation and launching of new product
Having a clear strategy in place for category management means that all the departments focused within the aftermarket (e.g., marketing, sales, product, aftermarket managers, etc.) are on the same page when it comes to achieving increases in market share.
Collaborate With Technology
Gaining team alignment for aftermarket success can be easier with the right business tools in place. Collaboration software helps teams work together to meet shared objectives, while analytics applications can provide data and dashboards to track customer-centric metrics and performance indicators. For instance, we know that many manufacturers are adopting the SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud) to gain real-time insights into customer information and equipment status, enabling them to respond faster and improve service levels. In addition to this, select a CRM (customer relationship management) system that will help with the following:
• Monitor key customer-facing information that can help in the sales process
• Record opportunities across the various sales departments (product, service, and aftermarket)
• Forecast future bookings and sales by region
• Identify market trends by region, market segment, and product
• Enable market segmentation analysis to help with positioning
• Communicate alerts across the enterprise if customer equipment is non-operational
Breaking down organizational silos is never easy. However, today’s technology can greatly facilitate efforts to do so, especially when combined with a clear vision and a top-down approach to alignment.