Category Archives: After Market

Why after-sales service lacks the sting…….?

After-sales service is often seen as necessary devil and not many organizations think about the impact it has on revenues and customer satisfaction. This is despite the fact that dealers and OEM’s margins on the virgin equipment may be less than 2-3% of the final price, while parts revenues can hover around 25++ margins.

The biggest cause for lack of proper after-sales service is that many organizations have no proper service strategy aligned with their organizational goals. Many adopt the concept of “Outsourcing of parts logistics” without realizing the zone of conflicts it can create and the impact. The idea to make cost efficient parts supply and distribution is appreciated, but this doesn’t synchronize with the field customer service. Worst part, is that various divisions work at loggerheads within the organization, causing a lack of cohesion between the field service and parts supply. The parts and service aspect of an automotive organization go hand-in-hand.

More than 60% of parts per vehicle, on an average, are out-sourced by the OEMs from individual parts supplier. In order to avoid risk, OEMs develop 4-5 vendors per part when 2-3 vendors are more than sufficient. This policy of the OEM forces these suppliers to supply in the open market to increase revenues. Moreover, Parts supply and parts sales in open market are more profitable than sales through the respective OEMs. This inevitably leads to revenue loss from services for the OEM.

Product development regulations are pretty high in developed nations, leading to high quality. Hence, minimum levels of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for service are adequate to ensure there is no cause for complaint from consumers. When the same SOPs are implemented in the Indian market, it leads to service failure due to the lower quality of components. When the foreign culture of highly reliable and innovative product doesn’t exist in the cost conscious Indian automotive industry, then why does the after-sales service strategy and policy remain the same for both the markets?

With a specialized mechanic in every corner of the street providing service at cheaper rates and the availability of cheaper spare parts in grey market, the dealership revenues are in doldrums. The automation and IT infra-structure connecting the OEM and dealerships is not robust and not fool-proof. Moreover, the revenue generating model for the dealerships is not very sustainable in the long-run especially during economically low periods, considering the huge infrastructure investment made by each dealership of an OEM. All these factors induce the dealer to purchase from grey market and eventually, a loss for the OEM occurs.

The Indian Automotive Industry is moving towards technology saturation. There is no substantial product variation, especially in terms of technology. Brand differentiation can only be improved through an effective and efficient after-sales service channel. Issues such as development and implementation of a sustainable after-sales strategy, with focus on number of parts suppliers, India centric SOPs for service, and not outsourcing the parts logistics, are just tip of the iceberg issues that need to be grappled with. There needs to be a well thought out and integrated service strategy specific to local markets, since it is a substantial revenue stream that will improve bottom line and help companies tide out the troughs in sales!!!

Bangaru Vignesh

Junior Consultant – Marketing & Strategy

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OEMs/Dealers; Get Your Basics Right!

While aftermarket revenues could contribute an upward 30-50% of existing revenues, many OEMs are not prepared to gain from it. Most OEMs fail to meet their service level agreement which subsequently leads to decrease in customer loyalty and negative word of mouth. Why does this happen? It is simply because they do not manage their weakest link in the chain, dealers.

The major reasons why dealers fail to deliver an effective after-market service. One is the lack of agency and incentive alignment. Dealers find managing post-sale operations cumbersome and are just happy to skim the revenue from fresh sales only. Many dealers lack the necessary skilled resources, inventory but just gloss over service commitment. Secondly, Lack of comprehensive supply chain management, and ineffective SOPs from OEMs compound the matter further. So it is quite common to see customers waiting for a free vehicle pick up promised by OEM and also an unreachable dealer service desk. Customers planning to drop their vehicles at dealer showrooms and catch their Monday morning work schedule, beware! You may end up waiting in the lobby for hours. Dealers of many world class OEMs are woefully short of qualified human resources. Spare parts unavailability or delay in shipping spare parts is a common problem. Lo, that is not the end of agony, even after getting the vehicle well past the promised delivery date; customer must be prepared to see recurrence of earlier complaints or some new larger issue surfacing after the service.

What is the way out for OEMs? Incentivize service and parts business for your dealer. Invest in basic training and evaluation of dealer staff across after-cycle process. Invest in your own resources not just at sales cycle but at after-service cycle also. Manage parts availability and protect grey market penetration.

If you are a dealer, bring down the walls within your organization. Too many departments working at loggerhead with each other does not help you. Ensure information flow & communication happens seamlessly and data visibility is high. Adopt SOPs as they help you to know the productivity and revenue generation opportunities you may be currently missing.  Training and employee engagement is very crucial to effectively gain cost advantage. Drivers, technicians, bay engineers must be incentivized for ownership, initiative and quality of outcome.

Banu Priya P
Junior Consultant – Marketing

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