Ramping Up Aftermarket Support in an Age of Fast-Evolving Technology

Ramping Up Aftermarket Support in an Age of Fast-Evolving Technology

This year‚Äôs Consumer Electronics Show continued showcasing¬†products around the theme of ‚Äúconnected convenience‚ÄĚ with everything from¬†refrigerators to door locks featuring smart capabilities. The major¬†manufacturers are ramping up efforts to capture more wallet share by owning the¬†home. Ideally, they want their brands in the living room, kitchen and laundry¬†room, and even in the hands (or wrists) of consumers on the go.

Robert Coolidge President & CEO

Robert Coolidge
       President & CEO

Wearable technology was on prominent display at CES with an entire space devoted to devices that track sleep patterns, fitness levels and just about anything else emanating from the human body. LG and Samsung unveiled an array of innovative home appliance products, with Haier fast on their heels. Far from being on the decline, the television industry proved it is evolving to create new and exciting technology. Curved, translucent, and 4K were the trend from both established and emerging television manufacturers.

It won’t be long before we see drastic changes in aftermarket support. With so much new technology being built into the household, today’s professional service providers are
going to need much more specialized training to take advantage of future¬†opportunities among multiple product categories. This comes at a time when¬†technical training is not nearly as common as it once was ‚Äď when was the last¬†time your local high school offered a ‚Äúshop‚ÄĚ class?
As many trade associations already are preaching, technicians can no longer rely on a finite skill set. They must be able to tackle repairs for a wide variety of products and then also consider offering other valued-added services to remain viable.  With technical schools such as DeVry and the U.S. military serving as the primary sources of training, the
industry should look for new ways to make this career path more desirable.
With a dearth of skilled labor and training opportunities, aftermarket service providers like parts distributors are going to need to step up efforts to assist repair techs in the field with everything from triage for trip avoidance to in-home troubleshooting to identifying lower cost compatible parts for post-warranty repairs.  Although this may not be a primary source of revenue or profitability, it will be necessary to
provide these services to remain relevant. While manufacturers do offer great training opportunities for in-warranty service networks, that support should also be available after the warranty period expires. The risk of losing a customer to a competitor is never greater than when that customer experiences product service issues.
Encompass has been working hard to contribute to the success of our tech customers. We’ve got a full-time photographer on staff who takes hundreds of part pictures a day in our warehouse to get loaded to our e-commerce website. We know that pictures help eliminate errors of misidentifying parts and assists with first-time repairs. We are working with companies such as Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, and Haier to capture more repair data and technical notes for field support.  We also post service manuals and provide monthly consumer electronics tech tips to deliver as much valuable information as we can. Encompass will continue looking for new and better ways to support our tech customers.
As product technology continues evolving, the aftermarket support chain must adapt and stay ahead of the curve with information sharing and improved skill sets.

 

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