Why Your Service Needs Digital Spare Parts Catalogs

Published: 2023-03-07 Updated: 2023-11-10
Subject: Increase efficiency in service Identifying spare parts Ordering spare parts Networking service information

Are you in charge of your company's aftersales department and currently facing major challenges such as digitization? Find out in this article how you can lay the foundation for the future and finally give your employees more time for repair, maintenance, and servicing.

The future of service is based on data

Predictive maintenance, chatbots, artificial intelligence - there are many buzzwords currently flooding the mechanical engineering industry. The advantages are tempting, but implementation is difficult. 

Reassuringly, not even large corporations manage to digitize their service from one day to the next. Digitization is a fluid process. The important thing is to find a starting point and then continue to optimize step by step from there. 

The key to successfully digitizing your service offering is data. Your service technicians, order hotline and other departments like product development already have a lot of information. Now it's time to digitize, connect and leverage the data. Digital spare parts catalogs and service information systems help you do this. 

What is a digital spare parts catalog?

A digital spare parts catalog is the further development of printed catalogs. It offers its users the same information - but by linking it to systems such as an ERP, the content always remains up-to-date. The bidirectional linking between spare parts and parts list entries simplifies the work of catalog users. 

Digital catalogs are available online, via the intranet or on USB sticks, for example. A connection to a company's web store creates a self-service portal, marking the beginning of the digitalization of the service business. 

By linking data from different sources in a service information system, you can even optimize the preparation, planning and execution of maintenance in the future. 


What advantages do spare parts catalogs offer you as a service manager and your team?

  • Your service technicians and your customers get a 360° service view of your machines and plants. 
  • Service technicians and customers identify the right parts more quickly with the help of intelligent search functions
  • Many processes are simplified - increasing employee satisfaction in your team and with your customers.  
  • Service operations are handled more efficiently and can be planned better. 
  • Your service technicians and your customers can order spare parts 24/7 - this increases revenue in spare parts and service business. 
  • Spare parts catalogs can be created, updated, and published faster - and customized for different countries and machines. 
  • You provide your customers with a modern self-service option that makes it easier for them to find all relevant spare parts information. 


What role does data play in service?

As mentioned at the beginning, data is the essential requirement for your team to benefit from all these advantages. It is important that the data does not exist on paper or local computers, but is available digitally and is networked

This is the only way to build a data infrastructure that allows you to plan ahead instead of always having to react to existing incidents. This also improves processes in your service team and with your customers. 

Digital spare parts catalogs are the roads your data travels on. The service information system is the headquarters from where the data is delivered and automated. If you want to future-proof your service, a central data platform is a must. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating new data islands instead of overcoming outdated silo thinking. 

Important data also hides in the expertise and experience of your employees. These "knowledge assets" are available to new employees and other departments at any time with digital spare parts catalogs. The simpler the knowledge sharing process, the more likely colleagues are to use it and the more likely the knowledge pool will grow. 

5 reasons why you should get started with digital spare parts catalogs now

With the right software, creating your first digital spare parts catalog will be a breeze. But that is not the only reason why catalog digitization is the right choice: 

  1. Saving costs: Catalogs can be created and published faster, incorrect orders are reduced and machines are down for shorter periods of time - all of which saves costs. 
  2. Increasing customer satisfaction: Digital spare parts catalogs not only help your team, but also your customers. By doing so, you empower operators to help themselves and achieve their goals faster
  3. Improving data quality: With digital spare parts catalogs, it is easy to link existing data. Automations and smart functions guarantee a clean database that will benefit everyone in the company in the long term.  
  4. Simplifying processes: When spare parts and service information is stored centrally and always kept up-to-date, your team works with a "single source of truth." This puts an end to misunderstandings, errors, and long searches, and makes work easier. 
  5. Achieving service excellence: Great service goes beyond mere maintenance and repair. By offering your customers the opportunity to leverage their machines and systems and save costs, you will be seen as an indispensable service partner. You will retain customers in the long term with excellent service


Digital spare parts catalogs offer various possibilities of application. They are, for example: 


Get practical insights into which problems other manufacturers have solved with spare parts catalogs. 

Does this sound convincing to you? Then find out in the next part of the article series how you can also make your management fans of digital spare parts catalogs.