How OEMs Can Leverage Interactive Parts Manuals for Aftermarket Success
Equipment manufacturers have a multitude of complex products that have traditionally been made available in a physical parts catalog. But as the industry shifts digitally, customers are searching for a way to identify the part they need online. They don’t want to call someone and then have that person rifle through pages of a physical catalog. That’s where the electronic parts manual comes in. An interactive parts manual gives customers up-to-date information, increases efficiency, and simplifies the purchasing process. It transforms the online experience, and the best part is OEMs already have the information they need to implement one.
The Information is Already Available
Manufacturers and aftermarket organizations possess massive amounts of data and information about their products. Whether from bills of materials stored in the ERP system or technical publications manuals, this information is readily available and can be used to create an interactive parts manual. The engineering department will also likely have 2D and/or 3D assembly drawings that can be repurposed to create a richer interactive online experience. Customers will be able to select a part from a visual assembly to get the right part number and product information to confidently identify what needs to be quoted or ordered.
Suppose all of this data is already in an ERP system. In that case, it can seamlessly integrate into a digital solution so that customers don’t need to worry about supersession, obsolescence, or ordering the wrong part. So while this process may seem complicated, OEMs already possess the tools they need to make it a success. It’s about leveraging these tools, recognizing that this is what buyers want, and taking the steps to make it a reality.
Provide Up-To-Date Information
Manufacturing customers don’t have time to waste when they want to make a purchase. In their most urgent times, they need parts quickly and they want the most effortless way possible to get them. A digital parts manual provides up-to-date information about both price and availability. There’s no more having to call or email to find out if something is available or what it costs. If the price changes on something, that information is automatically updated and prevents potential errors or misunderstandings. All the information they could need is available instantly and at their fingertips.
This is becoming increasingly vital as more buyers seek digital experiences. A lot of times, they won’t even make that call anymore. They’ll check online first, and if an OEM doesn’t have the information they want, they won’t hesitate to find one that does.
Customers want to know what’s going on when they make a purchase. An interactive parts manual accompanied by an eCommerce platform gives insights into the status of an order, along with the tracking information. Creating this transparent buying experience is a critical way to boost customer satisfaction. There’s no more confusion about when an order has shipped or if it’s available, and that leads to more loyalty and repeat purchases.
One of the most considerable impacts an interactive parts manual makes is on efficiency. What used to eat up hours of time for manufacturing call center employees to identify the right product, can now be done by customers in seconds. This frees those employees up to work on higher value-adding activities. It also reduces many costly errors leading to fewer returns because the buyer has access to the specific information for the equipment they own and operate.
Digital catalogs improve efficiency for customers too. Their equipment will have less downtime because they can access parts information faster, and there’s a lower chance something will go wrong along the way. It’s a win-win for every member of the supply chain and bolsters the aftermarket success potential of manufacturers.
The Value of Interactive Parts Manuals
Providing customers with a digital catalog can be a powerful shift in the customer experience. It improves the parts identification and ordering process and increases efficiency and transparency, all while decreasing errors. And manufacturers already have the information they need to make implementation easier. It’s time to shift to an interactive digital bill of materials catalog giving customers a digital experience that will keep them coming back for years to come.
If you have a question about how an interactive parts manual would work for your business contact one of our experts or schedule a free demo to see one for yourself.