A good dealer partner is critical for optimizing equipment uptime and driving business profitability.
If you’re in the business of making money with construction equipment – be it as an equipment rental business or as a general contractor – you are familiar with machines failing and with the associated costs of downtime . Understanding new, modern-day dealer capabilities, and how SmartEquip supports and bolsters their service support and parts sales services, is critical for understanding why partnering with forward-thinking dealers is vital for success in today’s rapidly changing, fast-moving construction industry.
The Short Story: Dealers always have played a critical role for the success of any construction business – be a one-man site-clearing operation or a multi-million-dollar road building company. Far more than a source for new equipment, dealers are business partners that you can depend on to help in all aspects of running your company. They can serve as advisors and consultants, helping you plan your growth and effectively take on bigger jobs as you do. And they can serve as fleet management partners, offering technologies such as telematics and remote diagnostics. And, of course, with SmartEquip they can step into your workflow and offer an enhanced level of responsiveness, resulting in improved efficiency of your service operations and output from your equipment fleet.
The Long Story: Dealers that are responsive and employ smart parts procurement and e-Commerce practices can enable your own service technicians to do far more in a shorter time, as well as significantly reduce the time between “machine down” and “game on”. All of this is due to technology.
Interestingly enough, there was a time when dealers were weary of utilizing technology to support you. In the early 2000s, during the initial “dot-com” boom, equipment dealerships were nervous about the rise of online parts purchasing. Pointing to the world of consumer goods, their fear was that e-Commerce via the Internet would allow parts purchasers to essentially do an end-run around traditional distribution arrangements. They feared they were about to be cut out of the parts procurement picture – or be “disintermediated”. At the same time, customers began to push for transactional efficiencies, much as they emerged in the rest of daily life, coming to expect 24/7 support and procurement capabilities.
As dealerships began to go online and become familiar with the opportunities the Internet offered their businesses, and as they began to learn about the new services they could provide for their customers, quite the opposite happened. Increasingly, dealerships grasped the benefits offered by e-Commerce – not just for their customers, but also for themselves. They realized that an equipment owner could order a part at any time without requiring as much as a phone call, and that all associated equipment service and repair information could be delivered right to the service event, intelligently pre-customized to the make, model, and serial number – without the dealer lifting a finger.
Moreover, if the part was not in stock at the dealership, it could be instead be requested from the manufacturer and then drop-shipped directly to the customer’s location – all on the dealer’s behalf. Technology enabled an increase in both service responsiveness and parts availability, while lowering the cost of support (through automation) and decreasing the required levels of dealer stock (through intelligent drop shipping).
Far from being disintermediated, dealers in fact were early-stage beneficiaries of innovations in e-commerce and e-support: equipment owners received vastly improved service support and the correct part in a timely fashion, and in this win-win setting, the dealer reduced the cost of customer support and of carrying parts stock.
Today, more than 20 years following the “dot-com” revolution, dealers have significantly enhanced their status as critical business partners to their customers. SmartEquip is a big part of this movement, and we were there from the very beginning. Today, when a piece of equipment comes into a service bay, using SmartEquip Procurement, a technician simply types in an asset number for the unit, and the system instantly recognizes the make and model of the machine, pulls up the correct parts and service manuals for the unit, and automatically identifies the correct dealer given territory.
And by utilizing the same channels and the very trusting relationship they have established, they can now leverage SmartEquip e-Commerce Store and offer their customers an online web shop with other products – including equipment, attachments, consumables, and a host of other offerings.
More than ever before, the owner-dealer relationship is a critical partnership in the new age of equipment economics, dominated by low service costs and minimal equipment downtime. And as more and more dealers join the SmartEquip Network to support their contractors, rental outlets, and other owners, more and more fleets will expect their dealers to have this intelligent network. And as more dealers adopt SmartEquip e-Commerce Store technology, the more common their expectation that supporting their customers should be “high-touch,” but for themselves come at a low-cost.
Learn about the benefits of joining the SmartEquip Network today.