Aftermarket consulting firms can save you a lot of time and money.
That’s because developing your own aftermarket strategy or fixing aftermarket problems can be very costly and time consuming — far more than you initially expect.
They can also be more confusing than you expect, especially if it’s something you’ve never seen or done before.
What does aftermarket best practice look like?
Which aftermarket capabilities should you focus on?
How do you track your results?
The Need For Aftermarket Consulting Firms
Aftersales is a complex area of business for engineered products and it takes real expertise to be able to do it well.
Your company needs a unique aftermarket strategy that is tailored specifically to its business goals.
So simply going online to find a me-too aftermarket strategy to copy is useless at best and will destroy your company’s profitability and productivity at worst.
Similarly, recruiting a manager who developed an aftermarket strategy for another company you know is equally useless, because that company is different to yours.
That’s why it probably makes more sense to invite one of the more experienced aftermarket consulting firms to help you do it properly.
But before you start talking with aftermarket consulting firms, there are five things you should know.
1. Aftermarket Expertise
Because aftermarket is a complex area, you need to understand what your needs are before you commit to work with aftermarket consulting firms.
All management consultancy firms have their own unique fields of expertise.
Even consulting firms that say they specialise in working with manufacturing companies like yours won’t necessarily possess the right kind of expertise and track record of success to help you with your aftermarket strategy.
So you need to find one that excels at developing and implementing aftermarket strategies for manufacturing companies like yours.
If you’re looking to delve into aftermarket systems or service parts logistics or you’re considering servitisation of your business model, for example, you’ll come up with drastically different consulting firm options.
Understanding your goals will help you find aftermarket consulting firms that best match your needs.
2. Industry Sector
Every industry has its unique traits.
Aftersales techniques that work for products such as food or clothing can be completely useless for another such as engineered parts and equipment.
That’s why it’s important to find aftermarket consulting firms with specific experience of the industry you’re in.
Industry-specific firms are more knowledgeable in your field than those that claim to focus on any and all types of businesses.
In the end, generalist consulting firms won’t have the in-depth understanding and familiarity of your industry that you need to develop an effective aftermarket strategy.
At best, they won’t be able to tailor your aftermarket strategy specifically to your company.
At worst, it will take them far too long to come up with a strategy, it will cost to much money and be unworkable.
Not all management consultancies are the same.
Some focus on providing you with inexperienced junior consultants to learn at your expense.
Others provide experienced, senior consultants who enjoy transferring knowledge in your direction instead.
Of course, the more you and your team get involved in working alongside your consultants to develop and implement your strategy, the more your company will get out of it and the lower the fees will be.
As with all strategies, a good consulting firm will identify quick hits that will deliver some easy short-term results.
However, many of the strategic benefits will only emerge after the development project ends.
So it makes sense to choose aftermarket consulting firms that can support you over a longer time period than just the project itself.
Short-term freelance contractors or interim managers can’t provide this extended support.
Even a permanent manager (new or existing) might leave on a few months notice if they think the grass is greener elsewhere.
Aftermarket consulting firms are experts at what they do.
After all, that’s why companies engage them.
It’s important to trust their advice and guidance as they have information and knowledge about aftermarket, possibly from adjacent industry sectors too, that you don’t.
They understand what works and what doesn’t.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t speak up if you’re uncertain about their suggested advice.
The key to a successful consulting relationship is open, two-way communication.
It should be a kind of equal partnership with a mutually agreed goal.
Your consulting professionals should be discussing a variety of strategic options with you and discussing their pros and cons in relation to your company and your culture.
Consultants will guide, inform and advise but you and your leadership team are the ones who ultimately make the decisions and must take responsibility for the overall outcome.
One of the biggest benefits of engaging external consulting support is the objective, independent perspective they can bring.
But independence comes in shades of grey.
Most management consultancies are tied to organisations with agendas that conflict with yours.
Bolt-on consultancy practices or hard ties with academic institutes, accountancy practices, software sales, third party services (e.g. HR, procurement, logistics, service parts management) are very common.
In fact, truly independent consulting firms are quite rare.
The few that are will provide the best independent consultancy advice without it being a front for flogging you their core product.
So ask yourself:
Are you engaging an aftermarket consulting firm that is 100% dedicated to aftermarket consulting?
Are you engaging an aftermarket consulting firm that has worked in your industry before?
Are you talking to the specialists who will do the work and will they stick around to support you later?
Can you trust them and feel able to have an open and honest two-way conversation with them?
Are they truly independent or do their interests conflict with yours?
How Servispart Consulting Can Help
We provide fast, cost-effective, workable solutions to your most complex aftermarket challenges.
Aftermarket parts and service organisations are our speciality – that’s what makes us different.
Bringing unique, innovative aftermarket solutions that yield tangible results in weeks, not years, is our advantage.
If you’d like an informal conversation about how we could help you develop your aftermarket strategy and improve your aftermarket growth, contact us today.
More information on how to discover your aftermarket genius and grow your aftermarket business is available here.