Why Spare Part Recognition Is Transforming After Sales

To deliver top-level service today to customers, technicians and engineers have to be fully equipped to fix issues that would otherwise cost the company time, money and ultimately, customer satisfaction. Imagine how your customers will react when they learn their tech can’t fix their issue because a part is missing and cannot be replaced promptly.

When businesses began offering solutions instead of products, in the early 90’s demand slowed while competition surged and it became evident that selling spare parts, conducting repairs; reconditioning equipment; carrying out inspections and day-to-day maintenance and offering technical support, could increase profit margins.

Fast forward twenty years later and customers, suppliers, and users benefit from speedier recognition, higher quality, and lower risks. Here’s why:

Easier parts search

Customers don’t expect products to be perfect, but they do expect manufacturers to fix things quickly when they break down. On average, it takes an expert 12 minutes to identify a spare part. During those 12 minutes, he has to rely on documents, plans, and manuals or even his expertise to recover information of the spare part. If the documents are unavailable, then identification time takes longer, resulting in a lot of disgruntled customers.

To ensure a definite identification of spare parts, fast and easy the use of mobile applications takes approximately 6 to 8 seconds to get a solid match. It allows technicians and maintenance workers to receive relevant information about the objects they identify and leads them straight to a shop system or an online manual.

Minimize errors

Managing the spares inventory has always been a challenge for maintenance crews. In the manufacturing industry, regardless of how many checks and double checks are made, errors will happen. Machine documentation changes during the lifecycle of a machine and old parts are swapped out and replaced by new parts.

According to maintenance experts, up to 8% of the part orders are incorrect – hence costly- and more often than not, employees will order multiple different parts and versions to make sure that one of them is the right one.

Orders from the right shop

In-house maintenance crews are significantly less expensive than the manufacturer’s own deployed teams. For this reason and to leverage the repairs and maintenance business, many machine and plant manufacturers have created service organizations dedicated to revenue goal.

To save money, clients will use non OEM parts purchased from the grey market, at a fraction of the price of the original parts, to keep their machines up and running. They hope to receive a similar quality at a fraction of the cost of the original parts.

Applications such as xRec, abruptly reduce errors in orders and purchases on grey market parts. Users can instantly identify the spare part they are after and are led straight into the official manufacturer’s webshop. Once the maintenance crew selects the parts from the webshop, the chance that the procurement team will source parts elsewhere is significantly reduced.

Grey market parts and product piracy

Mobile object recognition allows employees who work for the machine manufacturers,  to check whether a client uses unlicensed parts in their machines. Consequently, deployed maintenance crews can identify within seconds if the issue with the machine is due to an unlicensed part and covered by warranty/service agreement or not.

As a result, clients receive an extra layer of safety by using object recognition to check parts deliveries for potential illegal copies. This way users and manufacturers can take effective measures against product piracy.

On the whole, spare part recognition issues, wrong orders, and product piracy are not anything new. However, industry-related issues due to industry growth and the lack of younger experienced maintenance experts, are a lot more relevant for industrial organizations today.  That is why object recognition via mobile application offers a lot of benefits for manufacturers and users alike.

Would you like to know more?

Bernd Steinberger @ Humai