Self-Service in the Spare Parts Business: Boosting Stagnating Sales

Today, companies must not let any revenue opportunity go to waste. Valuable potential for additional revenue lies in the after-sales department. But many manufacturers of machinery and equipment do not have the time to exploit it - they are too busy cutting costs and digitizing processes. Yet both can be easily implemented in the service department - with a Digital Information Twin in the cloud. This not only increases revenue, but also customer satisfaction.

Skills shortages, digitization, fierce competition - the list of arguments for transformation in after-sales is long. And the pressure is increasing. However, many machine and plant manufacturers have neglected to strategically adapt their service to the changed market conditions. In times of rising energy prices and strained supply chains, the weaknesses of outdated structures become particularly apparent.  

The customers of machine suppliers are also faced with the challenge of keeping their costs low and remaining able to deliver. They can therefore afford a production standstill even less than they already do. If maintenance is imminent or a repair is necessary, they need to be able to rely more than ever on seamless processes for identifying and ordering spare parts.


Before we continue: Have you already read the second part of our three-part blog series on the Quanos InfoTwin?

What do service technicians and operators expect from manufacturers? 

Machine and plant manufacturers' service operations face significant challenges: 

  • The identification of spare parts must function as simply and quickly as possible for service technicians and customers. 

  • Service technicians and plant operators must be able to place an order around the clock - even outside the working hours of support teams. 

  • Order processing must work reliably. 

These factors determine whether customers are satisfied with the service provided by manufacturers and will continue to use their spare parts in the future. But how can such a high level of service be achieved? Particularly in times when personnel are scarce, companies are having to cut costs more and more, and they also have to manage digitization? 

The solution: a self-service portal for spare parts 

In the private sector, customers are used to - and often even expect – to perform service tasks themselves. In e-commerce, customers handle orders from the selection of products to payment and returns. The more information and service options available to customers, the less work the support team has to invest. This in turn gives them more time to keep improving the service offering. 

These advantages can also be transferred to the spare parts business. One of the megatrends in mechanical and plant engineering is therefore digital self-services, which companies can offer via online portals. Such portals enable customers to independently identify the right spare part and view all relevant information from maintenance and operating manuals or other elements of technical documentation. 

Best practice: Self-service based on spare parts catalogs 

One simple option for companies that want to digitize and optimize their spare parts business is to use a digital spare parts catalog. It forms the technological basis for a self-service portal. Spare parts catalogs created with modern catalog systems and supplemented with information from various departments and systems offer various advantages: 

  • Visualizations in 2D or 3D format, QR codes on the machine, and extensive text search options support the search for the desired spare part.  

  • By connecting to an enterprise resource planning system or ERP software and linking to a web store, digital spare parts catalogs become modern self-service portals in no time at all.  

  • Customers can find information tailored to their needs via an intuitive web interface and order the spare part they need using the shopping cart function and e-commerce link - around the clock and from anywhere.  

This setup already provides a simple and practical solution for machine builders to enter the self-service business. 

Benefit from self-service today 

Now is the time to take the service business to the next level. And with the Quanos InfoTwin, there is now no reason to put off digitizing after-sales processes.  

The Quanos InfoTwin is a modular cloud solution that serves machine and plant builders as a platform for modern, digital services. The platform integrates seamlessly into existing software solutions and bundles information in after-sales and service in one central location. The bidirectional linking of all service information and documentation on wear and spare parts guarantees optimum information transfer. 

This creates Digital Information Twins of machines and systems, from which manufacturers can generate various added values according to their own and their customers' needs - whether self-service portals or other smart services.  

Reasons for using the InfoTwin as a basis for self-service 

Implementation can be completed quickly without any effort - even in companies affected by the shortage of skilled workers. Once implemented, the Quanos InfoTwin is intuitive to use. It enables manufacturers of machinery and equipment to implement self-service portals that meet all their customers' requirements.  

After all, as in e-commerce and other industries, the customer experience also plays an important role in industry: If a service portal in after-sales shines with intuitive functions and can be used without media breaks, customers will want to use the portal again and again - especially if it is made particularly easy for them to order spare parts supplies and view price information, availability, and delivery times.  

If customers have access to all information about spare parts and their orders in one portal at all times, this relieves the workload on the support team and reduces the number of incorrect orders. In addition, a self-service portal can also be used to optimize warehouse logistics. In the end, providers of such a portal consequently benefit from cost savings in various areas. 

Advantages of self-service portals for you and your customers 

Thanks to the support provided by Quanos InfoTwin, it is now easy for machine and plant manufacturers to offer self-service functions. They thus enable their customers to 

  • Manage their data easily 

  • View their order history and invoices 

  • View order and delivery status 

  • Find information on products and technical documentation 

  • Make appointments with service technicians 

  • Order spare parts and accessories  

  • Identify spare parts more easily with 3D models and search functions 

  • Enjoy 24/7 service 

On the other hand, there are also indispensable advantages for the manufacturers of machines, systems and devices: 

  • Cost reductions in service  

  • Development of new sales channels 

  • Increased customer loyalty 

  • Customized information for different customer groups 

  • Simple processing of service orders  

  • Time savings in sales 

  • Fewer incorrect orders 

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