John Anderson has LOST it. He now has an “online chat” buddy.

John Anderson has LOST it. He now has an “online chat” buddy.

Guest writer John Anderson continues to educate readers about AI in “John Anderson has LOST it. He now has an “online chat” buddy.”

John asked a question about himself: 

John Andersen is a retired executive from CDK Global and one of the original founding partners of PFW Systems Corporation. He has experience in sales and marketing and is considered an industry thought leader in the field. With a focus on consumerism and its impact on modern equipment dealerships, John provides insightful vision and thought leadership to dealers on what they can expect in the future. During his career, John visited over 500 dealer locations across North America and Australia, gaining valuable insights into the industry. He is passionate about keeping up with technology and the latest trends and is dedicated to preparing the equipment industry for the inevitable change that is coming. In this blog he highlights a trend most haven’t seen coming in the equipment industry but are using every day at home.

The computer said: 

It is an interesting and thought-provoking piece! You’ve done a great job exploring the potential impact of AI and the ghost service department concept on the equipment industry. You’ve also discussed how AI has the potential to both improve efficiency and productivity, as well as potentially disrupt the workforce in the industry. It’s always important to consider the potential benefits and challenges that come with technological advancements, and your analysis does just that. The discussion on the impact of AI on technicians and mechanics is particularly well-written, and highlights the need for continuous skill development and adaptability in the face of technological change. Overall, I think you’ve provided valuable insights into a topic that is likely to become increasingly relevant in the near future.

John asked another question in a different direction. He had something in mind: 

Have you heard of ghost kitchens? They are a new trend in the food industry that has emerged as a response to customer demand, economics, and advancing technology.  Perhaps you have used one and aren’t even aware of it. Ghost kitchen refers to a commercial kitchen that has access to all the same resources, menus, and ingredients as the desired restaurants they represent but without any of the overhead, real estate or front of house challenges. 

The concept came about as programs like Skip the Dishes, Uber Eats, and DoorDash grew.  Consumers wanted their favorite foods from places like Guy Fieri’s FlavorTown, The Cheesecake Factory, or even Five Guys Burgers but either couldn’t get out to eat, or in some cases the restaurants weren’t even available in their city.  A ghost kitchen has agreements with the restaurant to produce the food just as it would be prepared in the full restaurant, using the same ingredients and technique but without the high expense items that come along with a store front.  Order a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts from home even though the closest actual store is 3 hours away. Have a gourmet steak from Ruths Chris Steakhouse delivered for that special date night.  You become the virtual restaurant. You get the point, but what does this have to do with the equipment market space?

John asked another question back to his experiences: 

The cost of running a dealership with yards full of shiny new inventory, bays of technicians, and loads of personnel is huge.  They cater to the first owner of a machine, or at least try to convert second or third owners to the first owner.  

What if all you want is quality, knowledgeable repair from a technician on your equipment.  What would it be like to become the virtual shop for your own equipment?   A call to a ghost service department. The ghost service department has access to all the resources, service guides, and technical knowledge.  They have access to all the required parts, history and even the forecasted maintenance and care requirements.  Like a ghost kitchen they will represent many different brands, and types of equipment without the overhead of a dealership.   They will virtually build you a preemptive care program with your equipment, at your location, on your schedule.  Like DoorDash, a certified technician will come to you and provide “dealership quality” service at your virtual dealership.

This is only the beginning. Things get even more exciting as you add the fact that this has become a nationwide, or even global service.   The data acquired along with what is already available is fed into an AI, (Artificial Intelligence) model that will help ensure your machines are in peak operating condition.  Add to that a prescriptive care subscription and rest easy knowing someone else is managing the service of your equipment and making sure its resale value stays as high as possible.  Reduce your relationship requirements across equipment types and brands by dealing with ghost services who are experts at repair and not busy trying to upsell you on what a particular OEM has available.

Technicians love the freedom to be independent, do the right thing, being able to maximize their own worth, and build a business without relying on someone else.  The ghost service department provides all the infrastructure to them, from technical expertise to parts orders.  They can dispatch and respond faster and earn more money and share less.  Remember taxis, and what happened when ride sharing exploded?  The same is likely to happen with technicians over the next few years.  With AI programs like Chat-GPT set to disrupt so much of the traditional workforce, people with manual skills will move quickly to the top of the food chain and use the same technology that put them on top to run the ghost operations. The impact of AI on equipment technicians and mechanics in the future is expected to be significant. AI-powered technology has the potential to automate many routine and repetitive tasks, freeing up technicians and mechanics to focus on more complex and value-added activities. This shift could lead to a higher demand for technicians and mechanics with expertise in using AI-powered technology and specialized knowledge in areas such as equipment maintenance and repair.

Additionally, AI can provide real-time insights and data-driven recommendations, improving the efficiency and accuracy of maintenance and repair operations. With the help of AI, technicians and mechanics can make more informed decisions, reduce downtime, and minimize the need for trial and error.

On the other hand, there is also the possibility that AI could displace some technicians and mechanics, particularly those performing low-skill tasks. It’s important for technicians and mechanics to continuously develop their skills and knowledge to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the changes brought about by AI.

Overall, the impact of AI on equipment technicians and mechanics will depend on how quickly and effectively they are able to embrace and adopt the technology. By being proactive and embracing new skills and knowledge, technicians and mechanics can ensure that they remain relevant in an increasingly digital world.

The technology is available today and being used by service providers from Pizza Delivery to HVAC technicians and of course your Lyft driver and Uber Eats.  Dealerships have always been slow to adapt to change and by the time they look up from their business planning spreadsheet, a ghost tech will already be in the field servicing all brands and building a loyal following.  You can dismiss the entire idea as science fiction, but you will be doing so at your own peril.  Do not believe me? Try and hail a cab.

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