HDAW workshop to address importance of leveraging technology in your business

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Updated May 16, 2019

All too often conversations regarding technology in the aftermarket trend toward new equipment. Gerry Mead, Phillips Industries executive director of innovation, says that makes sense. Any distributor who aspires to be a product expert and value-added partner for their customers must understand the advanced technology being integrated into today’s medium- and heavy-duty trucks and trailers.

Yet when it comes to technology, Mead says it is important to remember that advancement isn’t limited to vehicles on the road. The computer software, operating systems and other resources available for companies to use also are evolving at an incredible rate.

Together, Mead says these advancements have created a business landscape that has never been more complicated, or created more opportunities, than it is right now. During a workshop presentation later this month at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) 2019, Mead says he will showcase how the technological advancements found in today’s “intelligent” equipment can be coupled with advanced parts procurement, inventory management and service delivery solutions to improve uptime and revolutionize the aftermarket customer service experience.

“Uptime is the word of 2018 for me,” says Mead, who joined Phillips Industries in 2017 after a fleet management career at U.S. Xpress, J.B. Hunt, Walmart and PAM Transport. He says today’s end-user customers, whether national fleets or local owner-operators, are becoming increasingly expectant of customer service immediacy from their parts and service providers due to customers experiences they are having in other areas of their lives — and their beliefs that those same personal experiences can be duplicated in the trucking industry. Mead says they are correct to feel that way because technology makes those expectations possible.

“When you look at what technology can do today, there’s no reason to believe customers will continue to accept the status quo” in the aftermarket, he says.

Mead says OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers are tracking asset performance in real time and using advanced vehicle data analytics to notify customers of possible service needs before their vehicles have a breakdown. Those OEMs also are using those same telematic tools to determine parts inventory needs and schedule PM stops for customers with their dealers.

He says the aftermarket needs to catch up to this new reality, using his prior fleet experience to illuminate the importance of immediate change.

“Customers’ demands for on-time delivery are getting more and more constant,” he says. “If a product isn’t where it needs to be when a fleet says it is going to be there, a shipper isn’t going to tolerate that. They are going to switch carriers.”

Mead again speaks from his carrier experience when he says any fleet who loses business due to an aftermarket supplier failure likely isn’t going to maintain that relationship much longer.

He says it is time for aftermarket suppliers and distributors to start leveraging the customer data they have to make informed decisions that will keep their customers’ trucks on the road.

“It’s not about selling products anymore,” he says. “People are still going to buy from people, but they are going to use data to choose who that person should be.”

This is the sixth of seven presenter previews for HDAW 2019. Please check later this week for more information about each HDAW workshop presenter. Previous HDAW 2019 preview articles are available HERE.

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