Last modified: February 5, 2018
A company’s service supply chain is an increasingly key component of customer satisfaction. Forget about the reactive service model where you waited for something to break and then fixed it. Today’s market expects 100% uptime, and that means investing in preemptive maintenance. Supporting 24/7 uptime is no easy task, but the right service supply chain partner can help give you an edge over competitors.
Provide Added Value with Warranty Repair
Price is the primary driver for commodities like copper, zinc, and wheat. Buyers choose based on low price and/or availability. In contrast, screen, test, and repair services are emphatically not commodities. Cost is only one metric; other considerations include service levels, inventory, and data collection. A partnership with a service supply vendor who offers the highest level of service and value helps an OEM strengthen product quality and build customer loyalty.
Customers expect quick and responsive service and don’t hesitate to complain when expectations aren’t met. It takes a dozen positive experiences to make up for one bad experience. In a competitive global marketplace, most aren’t that patient. It’s often easier to just switch suppliers. A supplier bound by Service Level Agreements (SLAs) needs to meet — or exceed — the promised service level and uptime requirements. A reputation for great, responsive service attracts new customers and cements relationships with existing ones.
Improve Quality with Data Collection & Analysis
Ask prospective service supply partners to demonstrate the tracking and traceability functions in their screening/testing/repair processes. Traceability is the crux of a partner’s ability to provide data and add value beyond basic repair services. Ideally, the vendor’s system will offer end-to-end visibility throughout the entire repair process so that each item has tracking and visibility during every step of the process. Companies often make information available online so that checking a particular repair is as easy as tracking a UPS package that’s in transit.
That requires a lot of documentation and data delivered in a format that’s easy to analyze and manipulate. Specific information needed includes:
Choose a partner who offers robust data collection and analysis tools. Use that information to add value to sustained engineering improvements on existing products and help develop updated models.
Use Analysis & Communication to Identify Trends & Patterns
Find a proactive service supply vendor who can not only supply data to you but also study it themselves, in-house, to look for patterns and trends. The first step toward fixing a problem is recognizing that you have one. A partner who takes the initiative to do this analysis and share it with the OEM drives continuous product and service improvements.
For example, a service supply partner might help reduce costs and increase product availability by highlighting issues in manufacturing, tolerances, or packaging, then driving the necessary engineering change orders to address the problems. Higher quality can mean longer mean time to failure and lower annualized failure rates.
Manage Total Cost of Ownership
Access to data is critical, but don’t overlook the importance of geography. Find a vendor with the service logistics capability to support your customers with in-country or in-region service and stocking locations.
Key components of service logistics include:
Nearby service facilities allow stock to be screened, tested, and/or repaired and then returned to the regional stocking location. They offer better service to customers and lower the overall cost by reducing transit and lead time.
Contact a Flash Global representative to learn how our service supply chain solutions can help you manage costs, improve quality, and exceed customer expectations.
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