AttachmentsWritten By: Ron Slee
Article Date: 10-03-2005
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
An interesting no man's land.
Like many of you, over the years I have watched the attachment business from the vantage point of parts and service. More specifically, I have looked at the equipment sales force selling buckets with machines and then the replacement market being left to languish. The attachment is vital to the operation of a machine as it was designed, and we leave it unattended at our own risk. Many customers will repair a bucket until the end of time. They call in a welder and get the bucket fixed or put on more wear strips. But does that impact the proper operation of the machine?
Occasionally the Parts Department will be asked to take over management of the inventory from the Sales Department as the number of buckets in inventory grows. The Parts Department dutifully manages the inventory for two or three years, then it goes back to the Sales Department. But how many of us really work to sell buckets and couplers? (I'm just using buckets and couplers as representatives of a much larger attachment product range.)
Then, when the customer calls to order replacement tips and teeth, the conversation goes something like this:
"How many teeth are on your bucket?" "I don't know, you should know, you sold it to me." Been there done that? It seems that the more we do, the less we do.
You should know the buckets on each machine you sell. Yet, is that information on your machine population system? It should be.
So what are you going to do about it? That's the problem. We know what we should be doing, but we end up doing nothing at all.
One of the comments I hear often from Parts and Service Managers is, "Everything that was done last week could have been done better if only we had more time."
That is a reflection of the fact that we are operating with too few people on the front lines to satisfy our customers - a further reflection of the penalties inflicted by an almost obsessive adherence to the sales per employee metric.
We know what we need to do but we just aren't getting it done.
So what about the replacement bucket market? How many replacement buckets do you actually sell for your equipment compared to the total that are purchased?
According to the non-OEM bucket manufacturers. 65 percent to 75 percent of the bucket market happens with the sale of the machine. This leaves a rather large market out there for us to penetrate.
You must look after your customer's needs and wants. They are using a machine to make money doing what the machine was designed to do. You are here to reduce the owning and operating costs of that machine and at the same time protect the residual value of the machine.
How can you do this if you don't keep accurate machine population records? How can you do this if you don't manage the bucket in the same manner as an undercarriage? The answer is you can't!
Again this is our responsibility. If we don't do it.... it won't get done.
Don't pretend we don't have time.
Although I agree that many of you are understaffed, we will continue to lose business until business levels match staff support levels. Not a popular thing to say in a good market. But here we go again: underperforming in a hot market.
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