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Navigating the Evolving Industrial Aftermarket: Current Trends and Potential Solutions

Since June, I have been working at Entytle heading up the company’s Customer Success practice. While I have had extensive experience working with machinery companies in my previous roles, a dozen customers and prospects that I have met in the past weeks have led to insightful exchanges on the Industrial aftermarket sector. It has been a rewarding experience and I have identified some key trends and challenges that the industry is facing that I am writing to share in this post.


 1. Data Quality and Silos: An Underestimated Growth Impediment

One resounding pain point in the industrial aftermarket sector (even in 2023!) continues to be the poor management of data. Not surprisingly, a significant portion of this crucial data is locked up within multiple silos across organizations. What has changed is that business leaders are more aware than ever of how this fragmented and poorly managed data landscape is stifling their growth potential. It’s a massive problem that they are increasingly ready to invest in addressing.

2. The IT Quagmire: Reinventing the Wheel vs. Driving Insights

Larger OEMs are not standing idle amidst this data conundrum. Many have roped in their IT departments to initiate projects aimed at data management and utilization. However, these efforts often resemble patchwork rather than a cohesive strategy. The major pain point here is that many of these projects are losing sight of the broader vision of a unified installed-base intelligence platform while focusing on smaller piecemeal data warehouses and applications. This myopic approach, in turn, leads to hefty investments in custom software development and data resources that don’t necessarily address the main issue: the need for industry-specific insights and improved data quality. Instead, they end up creating yet another data silo, sometimes built with newer technology. In the medium term, as AI adoption in the enterprise will accelerate, these applications will undoubtedly become impediments to fully unlocking the value of the data that they store.

3. Legacy Document Digitization: The Golden Key

Digitization of legacy documents such as transaction data dumps from older ERPs and machine documentation like parts lists has emerged as a significant trend in the sector. Companies are starting to realize that this digital transformation can be an immense value unlocker, offering significant efficiency gains to their order desks and their sales prospecting activities.

4. The Proactive Aftermarket Sales Ambition: The Human Element

There is a palpable desire across companies to become more proactive in aftermarket sales. Yet, while the ambition is there, the industry is grappling with the reality that the success of such a shift depends heavily on the skills, personality, and commitment levels of the staff involved. The human factor remains as crucial as ever and companies that ignore this will experience a very painful transformation, if at all they are able to make it.

5. The Aftermarket Data Dilemma: Customer Contact Data

The quality of aftermarket data doesn’t just impact operations – it significantly affects customer relationships too. As it stands, less than 30% of the contacts in company CRMs are still valid, making effective customer outreach a herculean task. The industry is in dire need of a solution that can update and maintain accurate contact information.

These are not isolated issues, nor are they issues of the future. They are real, pressing challenges that the industrial aftermarket sector faces today. While it’s a complicated landscape, solutions exist that can help tackle these problems.

Companies like Entytle, with their platform, are pioneering in providing installed base data management solutions that are purpose-built for how the machinery industry works, perceive its customers and sales opportunities, and to the value its aftermarket parts are services deliver to its own customer base. Insights go beyond patchwork fixes and instead offer a comprehensive, ready-to-use solution focused on improving data quality and delivering business-specific insights. This platform, through its robust capabilities, can address the critical issues the industry faces, such as fragmentation of data, quality control, and proactive sales enablement.

In the end, the question isn’t whether your organization can afford to invest in such solutions – the question is, can you afford not to and instead take the risk of yet another IT project overshooting budgets and delivery schedules and under-delivering? For the transformative aftermarket leader, the answer is obvious and urgent. Also, read about the Top Challenges of Aftermarket Prospecting Teams.

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