The recent Covid-19 crisis has raised financial volatility in the African business market that has driven manufacturers to make unprecedented changes in their business strategies. This has brought an exponential shift in global aftermarket services. Moreover, the many parts of the manufacturing units are on the stage of reopening the mass-production, they are also identifying the areas of potential growth and opportunity.
Pre-Covid, the aftermarket services that includes spare part repairing, maintenance have been the sub-optimized section. However, post-covid has introduced customer service into the priority which has paved the service supply chain into offering unique opportunities to enhance the customer experience.
Manufacturers are now furnishing more aftermarket solutions in the broad category of the sale of spare parts, value-added services or maintenance. Considering this shift of emphasizing customer service as well as service level agreements that guarantee product uptime, there are many areas a manufacturer can consider to improve the aftermarket services in the post-pandemic world.
Aftermarket services have always given a wide platform to manufacturers where they can support their customers in varied ways by adding value to the products and services. Supporting clients for a longer lifespan of the equipment helps in building trust. Considering this criterion, manufacturers can switch to a usage-based model of business where they retain clients and get a recurring flow of economics.
Now, the post-covid time in Africa is when manufacturers need to be connected with their customers more than ever and they can only do so if they offer both remote and physical connectivity of their business offerings. Off-site delivery is a method that will allow brands to keep in close connection with their clients while continue providing their services.
Post-Covid, Africa has witnessed early digital growth. Manufacturers can focus on the inventory optimization area as a part of aftermarket solutions. Manufacturing companies can improve forecast accuracy through technological inclination. They can also optimise safety stock through predictive models and focus on lot-size or one-piece production models.
Setting up a regional spare parts hub and a third-party logistics provider for specific regions works well for network optimization that eases the aftermarket service for products. Consolidating the technical network along with installing, distributing and setting up partners also drives the after-sales service.
Manufacturers can also install a base track that can be used to optimise the aftermarket network hubs by understanding the customer behaviour and catering to their requirements based on their portfolio.
While the pre-covid situation for manufacturers in Africa did not include the fast-paced digital platform, the post-covid business domain expects the elimination of unnecessary interfaces, process waste in the admin services and at the same time bringing advanced planning for products and technicians. Using the technological disruption, manufacturers can also use relevant technologies and digitalization to enhance productivity and client involvement.
For long-term success, a manufacturer in Africa has to rely on a mindset that exudes a solution-oriented approach rather than a product-based approach. Troubleshooting the problems be it related to the customers, operations or products is what offers the company a growing aftermarket service satisfaction.
This solution-based mindset includes supporting the customer, being humane, creating a client-based innovation spectrum, combining product and service and creating value for clients with every sale. Besides, a manufacturer has to create a business strategy for aftermarket service that goes beyond just maintenance and repair. They must add value with their service that makes them develop trust in their client to retain them.
Post-Covid has emerged to be a new era where manufacturers in Africa are beginning to offer more value-added services in a broad category. This customer-centric approach demands a strategy and continual innovations while exploring the advancing technology to its maximum. Encompassing the digital phase and technological ecosystem, manufacturers can channel after-market solutions for the growth and development of the enterprise.