After-Sales Profit Generation: A Mindset Shift for Higher Profits

Jan 26, 2024

According to McKinsey, the average Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) for the after-sales market is 25% compared to 10% for new equipment (McKinsey, 2017). 

The secret to unlocking a new revenue stream might just lie in an often-overlooked corner: after-sales services. In a landscape where every penny counts, it’s time to shift your focus and discover the untapped gold mine in after-sales profit generation.

In this article, we’ll talk about strategies that change how you view after-sales services.

You’ll learn:

  • The Power of After Sales: Understanding the hidden potential in after-sales services.
  • Innovative Strategies: Cutting-edge methods for maximizing after-sales profits.
  • Enlightening Case Studies: Learning industry giants benefitted from after-sales services.

As we explore these avenues, remember that tools like Makula can streamline this change. Makula isn’t just a tool; it’s your partner in redefining after-sales success. With its intuitive features, it simplifies complex processes, letting you focus on what really matters – growing your business.

Understanding After Sales for Profit Generation

Historically, the main profit driver in the manufacturing sector was the sale of machines. After-sales was an afterthought, a mere support function rather than a revenue stream.

Manufacturers, distributors, and resellers primarily focused on moving products off the assembly line and into the market. This mindset overlooked the immense potential lying dormant in after-sales services.

Current Trends in After-Sales Profit Generation 

As a machine manufacturer, distributor, or reseller in today’s evolving landscape, you are positioned to seize a significant opportunity in the world of after-sales. McKinsey’s 2019 report highlights a potential 30 to 60 percent boost in revenue from this sector (McKinsey, 2019).

Big machine manufacturers have already tapped into this lucrative revenue stream, often generating more profit from after-sales activities than from the initial machine sales. However, smaller companies struggle with almost 50% incurring heavy financial losses due to order errors and 81% losing sales to third parties due to suboptimal processes (Partful, 2023).

This is because you are primarily focused on revenue from machine sales, offering after-sales services like technical support, call consultations, and detailed email correspondences for free, lacking structured Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

By restructuring your approach to after-sales services, not only can you enhance customer satisfaction and retention but also open new avenues for revenue, mirroring the success of your larger counterparts.

Types of Profit Generation Through After-Sales Services 

Profit generation ranges from service contracts and warranties, which provide a steady income stream, to the upselling and cross-selling parts and services.

Digital platforms, like Makula, play a pivotal role in offering monetizable services such as white-label customer portals, customer resource management, and resource planning tools, significantly boosting loyalty and increasing repeat business.

Revenue from Service Contracts and Warranties

One of the most straightforward ways to drive after-sales profit generation is through service contracts and warranties. For machine manufacturers, distributors, and resellers, offering extended warranties and comprehensive service contracts can create a consistent revenue stream.

This approach not only ensures customer peace of mind but also establishes a long-term relationship, transforming one-time sales into ongoing profit opportunities.

Upselling and Cross-Selling Opportunities

After-sales interactions provide a prime opportunity for upselling and cross-selling. When customers reach out for support or service, it’s an opportune moment to introduce them to additional products or upgraded services that complement their current purchase.

This strategy doesn’t just increase sales; it enhances the customer experience by providing them with solutions that truly meet their evolving needs.

Cost Savings through Efficient Service Delivery

The digital era offers a new frontier for after-sales revenue. By offering digital services, such as access to exclusive after-sales portals or dashboards monitoring a machine’s Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), businesses can monetize these platforms.

Tools like Makula can be integral in this aspect, providing a digital after-sales experience with features like time tracking and a simplified workforce that adds value to the customer while creating an additional revenue stream for manufacturers, distributors, and resellers.

Building Long-term Customer Loyalty

Securing repeat business is a vital outcome of top-notch after-sales service. A satisfied customer, impressed by the efficient and attentive service, is more inclined to return when it’s time to purchase a new machine.

This loyalty loop, initiated by exceptional service, creates a ripple effect. It not only boosts immediate sales but also fosters a lasting relationship, making your brand the go-to choice for future purchases.

Strategies for Enhancing After-Sales Services

According to Deloitte, many manufacturers make 40 to 50 percent of their overall profits from services (Deloitte, 2020). In today’s dynamic world, enhancing after-sales services is key to driving profitability and customer satisfaction.

AI and Automation

There’s a renewed focus on AI, automation, and big data to enhance aftermarket sales (McKinsey, 2023). By automating routine inquiries and maintenance schedules, businesses can ensure rapid and consistent responses, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing labor costs.

This technological shift not only enhances service quality but also provides valuable data insights, helping machine manufacturers, distributors, and resellers to better understand customer needs and preferences.

Customer Self-Service Portal 

Offering a customer self-service portal, akin to Makula, can revolutionize after-sales support. Such portals allow customers to access information, request services, and troubleshoot issues independently, providing a convenient and immediate solution to their needs.

This empowerment not only enhances customer satisfaction but also reduces the workload on support teams, creating a win-win situation for after-sales profit generation.

Customer Service Training

Customer experience is integral in creating a successful aftermarket business with 80% of companies agreeing that it is important (Gartner Research, n.d.). Investing in customer service training is pivotal as it can be a key differentiator that can drive repeat business and referrals, enhancing after-sales profits.

Potential Challenges and Solutions in Aftermarket Sales

In the aftermarket sales sector, challenges range from navigating high initial investments to overcoming resistance to change. These obstacles require strategic solutions like phased implementation, change management, and robust data security measures.

Challenge 1: High Initial Investment in Aftermarket Sales

For machine distributors, manufacturers, and sellers, the high initial investment in aftermarket sales is a significant challenge. A practical solution is to adopt a phased implementation approach, easing into the investment while gradually realizing its ROI.

Additionally, digital solutions support a cost-effective entry into advanced aftermarket services with scalable solutions that grow with your business, maximizing ROI.

Challenge 2: Resistance to Change

Resistance to change is a common barrier in this sector. Tackling this involves implementing change management strategies that focus on engaging staff and communicating the benefits of new systems.

Moreover, the after-sales portals facilitate seamless transition through user-friendly interfaces and robust support, easing the adoption process and minimizing resistance among staff.

Challenge 3: Data Security and Privacy

In the world of aftermarket sales, the increased use of digital platforms and IoT devices raises data security and privacy issues. For machine-related businesses, it’s crucial to invest in robust data security measures.

This not only safeguards sensitive information but also reinforces customer trust in the company’s digital proficiency and commitment to privacy. With their focus on secure data handling, portals like Makula ensure that your aftermarket sales data and customer information are protected with excellent security measures.

How Spare Part Revenue Can Impact the Bottom Line 

Many errors can hamper aftermarket sales such as ordering errors which impact 4 in 5 SMEs (Partful, 2023). According to Deloitte, spare parts are a good source of continuous profitability (Deloitte, n.d.).

Increasing Spare Part Prices

According to Accenture, the spare parts segment for after-sales profit generation is highly profitable (Accenture, 2021) significantly impacting overall profitability for machine distributors, sellers, and manufacturers.

By carefully increasing spare part prices, you can boost revenue without compromising customer loyalty, especially when the price hike is justified by superior quality. This strategy requires a delicate balance to ensure prices remain competitive while reflecting the value offered.

Creating an Additional Market for Exclusive Parts

Developing an additional market for exclusive, high-quality spare parts can open new revenue channels. By offering specialized or premium parts that are not readily available in the market, businesses can cater to a niche segment of customers willing to pay a premium for these unique offerings.

Relying on Technology to Price Spare Parts

Incorporating technology to price spare parts can lead to more dynamic and profitable pricing strategies. By leveraging data analytics and AI, distributors, and resellers can optimize their pricing based on factors like market demand, and cost of production. This tech-driven approach allows for more accurate, competitive, and profitable pricing decisions, directly contributing to after-sales profit generation.

Case in Point: How Caterpillar Inc. Benefitted from After-Sales

Caterpillar Inc. serves as a stellar real-world example of how a manufacturing company can successfully transform its after-sales services. As a leading name among machine manufacturers, Caterpillar recognized the untapped potential in after-sales and strategically shifted its focus.

Successes And Outcomes

Caterpillar’s transition was driven by key strategies such as advanced telematics, customer education and engagement, and enhancing its global dealer network. By implementing advanced telematics, they provided customers with valuable data on machine performance, leading to more informed maintenance and operation decisions.

Their focus on customer education ensured users were well-versed in maximizing the value of their equipment. Additionally, strengthening their global dealer network improved service accessibility and efficiency, setting a high standard for after-sales services in the industry.

Utilize the Power of After-Sales with Makula

As we wrap up, it’s clear that after-sales profit generation is not just an option but a necessity in today’s competitive manufacturing landscape. It’s a strategic move that can pivot your business from just surviving to thriving.

Let’s quickly recap the key takeaways:

  • High Profitability in After-Sales: After-sales services often yield higher profit margins than initial sales.
  • Customer Loyalty and Retention: Exceptional after-sales service fosters customer loyalty, ensuring repeat business.
  • Technology as a Catalyst: Digital tools like enhance after-sales efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • Diverse Revenue Streams: Accepting various strategies like service contracts and upselling ensures diversified and stable revenue.

Now, let’s bring it back to where it all integrates seamlessly – Makula. It streamlines work order management, improving efficiency and customer response times. Its customer resource management tools foster stronger client relationships, boosting repeat sales. Finally, efficient resource planning with Makula optimizes inventory, reducing costs and increasing profit margins in spare parts sales.

The only CMMS offering 3D capabilities for businesses involved in selling, servicing, using, or operating machinery and assets.

With Makula’s digital solution, streamline communication and simplify operational tasks in maintenance activities .

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