Intuitive, data-driven experiences and services aren’t just for consumer markets. Here are three ways that leading equipment manufacturers are digitally transforming their operations and services to improve experiences, boost loyalty, and increase aftermarket revenue.
From novel digital experiences and intelligent buying journeys to the highly engaging apps and digital services we engage with every day, many of today’s most prominent innovations aim squarely at consumers.
For OEMs — particularly those that build heavy machinery and other equipment for highly specialized and narrow markets — it could be easy to conclude that those kinds of services or innovations aren’t for them.
However, the reality is that there’s a huge range of digital and data-driven opportunities available to OEMs today that many are leaving on the table or just haven’t explored yet. Here are a few examples of powerful ways that OEMs utilize data and leading digital transformation to increase revenue, drive customer loyalty and shape the future of their industry.
Opportunity #1: Increasing customer lifetime value with predictive maintenance and connected services
After their initial purchase, maintaining high customer value has always been a challenge for heavy machinery OEMs. For decades, companies have lost significant value to third-party service and maintenance partners — value they’re eager to gain more of, but don’t want to come at the cost of customer freedom and service flexibility.
Major digital trends, including the growth of the Internet of Things, have created powerful new opportunities to deliver predictive and preventative aftermarket services. By using sensors to gather data about asset performance, OEMs can contact owners before a part or component fails, offering them maintenance services that keep them on the road — going a step above what third parties can deliver.
Similarly, OEMs can also equip the machinery they produce with leading telematics capabilities, enabling them to gather data on asset location, performance, and utilization and turn that data into value-adding services that form new aftermarket revenue streams. This is helping some OEMs change their business models from selling Capital Goods to selling its utility as a service.
OEMs need to become custodians of asset data and understand how to process and operationalize asset data at scale to make the most of those opportunities. The good news is that in a lot of cases, it can begin with data they already have.
As part of a recent engagement with a major US-based heavy equipment manufacturer, Thoughtworks helped the organization build a new platform that uses partner and sales data to power more intelligent aftermarket sales activity. At a glance, the team can use data generated from past equipment sales to see where their biggest aftermarket opportunities are.
For the organization, that platform has already helped drive a more than 20% increase in aftermarket sales while also massively improving dealer relationships and customer satisfaction.
Opportunity #2: Improving e-commerce experiences
Today’s customers expect seamless, connected e-commerce experiences in their day-to-day lives and work. Personalized product recommendations, customer profiles, and more are all commonplace across the retail industry. As a result, customers now expect the same everywhere — whether they’re buying a new shirt, parts for a tractor or acquiring an entire fleet of 18-wheelers.
Delivering simple, intuitive e-commerce experiences isn’t just about keeping customers happy and making their lives easier. Providing superior e-commerce experiences can help OEMs sell more and drive upsell and cross-sell opportunities through digital channels.
While a lot of OEM selling still happens 1-to-1 and face-to-face, enhancing digital experiences gives customers greater choice and enables sales teams to drive the same kind of opportunities digitally as they do in face-to-face engagements.
To deliver strong e-commerce experiences, organizations need to bridge the gap between customer and product data and bring them together by transforming their digital storefronts and e-commerce platforms.
When built and implemented correctly, modern e-commerce platforms can serve visitors with personalized product recommendations, lead customers on tailored journeys based on what they’ve bought and engaged with previously. Additionally, modern e-commerce ensures efficiencies of search, checkout and secure payments. E-commerce in the OEM space has been plagued with the inability to find products and spares quickly, leading to disgruntled customers who are used to finding human interactions, fraud from the gray market, international skimming and cyberattacks. Apart from significant losses in revenue, reputational losses often overshadow the benefits of global e-commerce.
For one major OEM, a recent e-commerce transformation project helped it improve buying journeys and completely transformed the aftermarket experience for its customers. How? By offering products and services tailored to their customers that keep them running and help each get the most from their equipment throughout its lifecycle.
Opportunity #3: Transforming fragmented systems into connected ecosystems
Many of the world’s largest OEMs have been through significant growth and transformation journeys over the last couple of decades. Whether they’ve grown organically or through acquisition, extensive expansion and change have left many with fragmented digital footprints that limit their ability to use data across their organization.
Outdated architectures and complex legacy IT aren’t just slowing those businesses down — they’re actively preventing them from advancing their operations further and making the most of emerging opportunities like the two explored above.
By modernizing their architectures, organizations can bring all their fragmented data and systems together — eliminating what’s no longer needed, building new capabilities to meet modern needs and breaking down information silos to unlock the value trapped in disparate data sources across the business.
Thoughtworks recently partnered with a major heavy equipment auctioneer to do precisely that. Over the years, the company had grown significantly through acquisition, leaving it with a lot of manual processes and systems that were difficult — or virtually impossible — to integrate and translate into consistent buyer and seller experiences.
We’re helping the company design a new online marketplace from the ground up, laying a new foundation for its operations that brought everything together while eliminating complexity — making it easier to grow, evolve and expand its operations.
With that foundation in place, the organization will transform a set of fragmented systems into a connected ecosystem. So, whichever aspect of the organization’s service a user connects with, they get consistent experiences. Plus, with everything united into a common foundation, managing and evolving those services is much easier.
Seize the data-driven opportunities available to you today
Thoughtworks has extensive experience helping organizations across all industries digitally transform their operations and make the most of the data-driven opportunities available to them today — and OEMs are no exception.
From exploring the opportunities available to them, to leading wide-scale enterprise modernization projects, we have the experience, digital capabilities and skills necessary to help OEMs with all aspects of their digital journeys.