Our perspective at VantagePoint

Aftermarket support and 3 other roles a parts distributor can serve for B2B manufacturers

Do you know what happens to your equipment post-warranty? Chances are a parts distributor has more insight than you do.

Working with manufacturers, service agents and end users, parts distributors are an integral “go between” and provide insight among various channel members and end users.

We’ve outlined four primary roles parts distributors can play and how they benefit B2B manufacturers.

Inventory supplier

The most obvious role a parts distributor plays is the transactional one: supplying an inventory of parts for service agents or end users to purchase.

As fewer service agents stock their own inventory, parts distribution companies become their one-stop shop without the minimum orders and early cut-off times for shipments. They’re equipped to handle small one- and two-part orders which can be cumbersome for manufacturers to fill. Instead, their focus can stay on manufacturing.

Master distribution partnerships offer an innovative supply chain solution for equipment manufacturers to manage their parts ― ensuring the highest level of inventory to meet service agents or end users’ needs by a dedicated parts dealer.

Sales and marketing partner

A parts distributor may also have a deeper relationship with a manufacturer, serving as an extension of the marketing and sales teams.

Through content creation and other marketing tactics, parts distributors and manufacturers work together on programs that provide valuable insights to end users. Researching the questions they’re posing on Google provides a starting point for content that can extend brand reach to the distributors’ wide customer base.

Aftermarket support

Aftermarket support is a key differentiator for parts distributors, adding value to manufacturers and other channel members.

In some instances, the part distribution company serves as a part of the technical service team ― responding to inquiries and helping troubleshoot before a service technician gets involved. This function helps support the service networks by relieving some of their stress.

Parts distributors ultimately enable service companies to do what they do best ― service equipment ― and give end users a better overall experience with your equipment.

Parts distributors can also provide greater visibility to where equipment is post-warranty and serve as a brand steward. They offer valuable insights and support, such as:

    • Search results/queries into the types of information and parts people are looking for
    • SKU or pricing rationalization
    • Allowing sales to become more involved in how products are supported in the field

Although it’s great to sell a piece of equipment, what happens after it’s installed might be even more important.

Aftermarket experience contributes to satisfaction with a brand and makes a difference when it comes time to replace a piece of equipment. Anything you can do to make the end user experience as smooth as possible, they’re going to be less likely to switch to another manufacturer. A good aftermarket experience can combat natural product leakage in the market.

Aggregator of parts ― and data

Parts dealers are aggregators for multiple manufacturing brands, making it easier for customers to purchase replacement parts.

This model allows service companies to better manage their approach to inventory and their repair schedules. Since they are managing deliveries from a single source, they can anticipate when the parts will be available and plan accordingly.

But there is also potential for parts dealers to be aggregators of data down the line.

As discussed previously, many manufacturers have a gap in providing data about their equipment after the warranty period. If the entire channel can work together to gather data at install, such as the model, serial number and location, there could be a true historical record of a piece of equipment.

With this insight, parts distributors could aggregate data that will help manufacturers communicate the ROI and lifecycle of the equipment.

Are you overlooking the role(s) parts distributors can play in your business? Consider how leveraging the various functions they serve would benefit your relationship with service agents and end users.

VantagePoint is here to help. We can quickly get up to speed on your buying map and align your strategic marketing efforts to have the greatest impact on the path to purchase. Get in touch and tell us about your needs.

Thanks to Erik Koenig, VP of Strategic Marketing with Parts Town, for contributing valuable insights to this piece.

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