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Customers demand maximised product uptime – can manufactures deliver?

Research reveals manufacturers know they need to close the gap, but many do not yet have infrastructure in place to support it

01-Nov-2018
Customers demand maximised product uptime – can manufactures deliver?
SyncronTM, a provider of cloud-based after-sales service solutions focused on empowering the world’s leading manufacturers to maximise product uptime and deliver exceptional customer experiences, in conjunction with Worldwide Business Research (WBR), the company that produces the well-known Field Service event series, today released new research highlighting customers’ increasing expectation for maximised product uptime, and manufacturers’ current ability to deliver on this demand.

Macro-level economic, demographic and technological trends are fueling an on-demand customer mindset where products should ‘just work’, repairs are prevented or made proactively, and service is instantaneous. This new mindset is driving a shift to servitisation– where manufacturers transition from selling products to selling the output or value that products deliver.

The shift to a servitisation-focused economy will put strains on many manufacturers’ often sub-optimised after-sales service organisations—the function that delivers service after the initial sale of a product. For decades, manufacturers have been focused on repair execution – repairing a product after it has already broken down – but today’s customers want products that work all the time. This is driving manufacturers to shift their focus from repair execution to dynamic repair prevention – or maximising product uptime.

The research, conducted by WBR, is featured in a new research report, “Maximised Product Uptime: The Emerging Industry Standard.” WBR and Syncron set out to gain a deep understanding of manufacturers’ ability to deliver on their customers increasing demand for maximised product uptime, surveying 200 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), with respondents evenly split between the U.S. and European markets, as well as 100 equipment end-users.

“Maximising product uptime is a critical milestone in a manufacturers’ journey to servitisation,” said Gary Brooks, CMO of Syncron. “This research illustrates manufactures’ desire to close the gap between their customers’ growing expectations and what their after-sales service organisations can deliver today. It’s exciting to see a growing group of industry-leading manufacturers completely reexamine their after-sales service operations and take the necessary steps to evolve from break-fix service models focused on repair execution, to a new paradigm focused on dynamic repair prevention and maximising product uptime.”

Manufacturers are very clear on customers’ expectations for maximised product uptime, as 82 percent believe prospective customers would consider it in their future product purchasing decisions. And, end users and OEMs are aligned on this topic – 58 percent of manufacturers believe customers would be willing to pay more for service agreements that guarantee maximised product uptime, while 57 percent of end users indicated an uptime guarantee would be worth the extra cost.

Additional key findings from the research report include:
1. Maximised product uptime is the future, and the future is now. Nearly 100 percent of end users indicated they want to see more OEMs offer service agreements that offer maximised product uptime, but only 33 percent of OEMs are offering this type of service contract today.

OEMs must have the data to support this new way of doing business, and while more than 70 percent of respondents indicated that they are currently gathering data from sensor-equipped products in the field, only 25 percent are currently using this sensor data to support a service model based on maximised product uptime.

2. Unprecedented customer demand is forcing change. More than 80 percent of end-users indicated that predicting part failure before it occurs is extremely important, while 67 percent said an OEM’s ability to use historical data to enhance new versions of products and equipment is also key.

3. Manufacturers must overhaul infrastructure and resources to support maximised product uptime. The only way to maximise product uptime is to invest in the proper technologies and infrastructure that will support the new service model. More than half of OEMs plan to make AI and machine learning a major investment, while 90 percent intend to invest in predictive analytics within the next 12 months.

“This research highlights some of the biggest challenges facing manufacturers around the world,” said Sara Mueller, Field Service Portfolio Director at WBR. “Today’s manufacturers are well aware of their need to evolve their after-sales service functions to meet their customers’ increasing demands for maximised product uptime. While a growing list of industry leaders take steps to implement the appropriate systems, technologies and resources to meet their customers’ evolving service expectations, the laggards reject the need for change and cling to the ‘status quo’ break-fix service model.”

To read the research in its entirety and view an accompanying infographic, visit syncron.com.

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