Cloud Based Technologies

Recently I read an excellent article on the IoT regarding cloud based technologies and the impact that they are going to be having on all of us.

The cloud is impacting all of us gradually and some of us rather strongly and quickly. The technological capability enabling this shift—often referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), which is essentially an advanced version of the sensor and gateway combination used for years now in other Industries is changing the OEM business model from one of item-by-item sales transactions to an outcome-based service model.

Amit Jain, senior director of product management at ServiceMax, says it this way. “As the old saying goes, what you want is a hole, not a drill. We’re seeing OEMs move into what we call outcomes-based service models where they sell a service-level agreement tied to the desired outcome the equipment generates. So, instead of light bulbs, a company sells guaranteed lumens as a service. Instead of a jet engine, an airline buys guaranteed flight time. We’ve even seen some printer companies selling guaranteed page output versus ink and the device. Customers don’t care about the [OEM] product; they want the outcome those products provide.”

As most of you realize the traditional reactive service model employed by dealers has not taken maintenance seriously. Neither has the Industry been quick to adapt to standard charges and standard repair times. The customer in many cases views the dealer shop as a “black hole.” A machine goes in to the shop for repairs and we are not given accurate completion dates nor accurate quotations. As a result it appears to the customer that we would rather have them call the service department and a few days later a technician shows up to fix it. Because of this, field service has become the main source of service for owners of construction machinery.

For over a decade now we have had global positioning systems in place and that moved to having electronic control units on the machine. Now, like the Automotive Industry we have fault codes reported on the equipment. Going back to Jain: “the capabilities provided by cloud-based mobile technologies enable remote equipment monitoring, automated service requests, technician dispatching and work order closing, which are creating new revenue streams for OEMs by adding value to post-sale warranties.”

He goes further “The indirect effect of proactive service like this is that OEMs get happier customers, which of course has bottom-line impacts across the board.”

Dealers ignore these advanced technologies at their peril. This is not going to be a passing fad. This will become more and more embedded into our equipment and we will be able to do much more accurate remote diagnostics in the very near future.

Every Dealer Business System provider is going to have to adapt their systems to this New Reality.

Every major company in the capital goods supply chain is going to have to change as well.

This is but one more piece of evidence that “the world around us is changing at a rate greater than we are.” The individual who made that quote famous was Jack Welsh. He went further and said that when that happens “the end is near.”

It is time to pick up the pace of change in our businesses and our lives.

The time is now.

Marketing Monday v2015.1

We haven’t done one of these in a long time.  For Marketing Monday v2015.1 we are catching up.

With the flurry of activity this past year it has been a little difficult to get ahead of the curve. Some of the recent activities:

We have launched learning Without Scars. This has been a very nice step in the progression of our offering learning products and services to the capital goods industries. We have updated all of our classroom seminars: there are eight. We have added to our list of webinars: there are now sixty one. We have started down the road of converting all learning products to a web based platform: we will have seventy five of them. We are moving toward the translations of our offerings first into French and Spanish.

We have developed an internet based replacement for the twenty group business we ran called insight (M&R) Institute. We have created, in a partnership, The Capital Goods Sages. This is going to be an internet business modelling business. This will be available for use in late 2015.

And finally, we have re-purposed our consulting website to bring it in line with our other businesses.

Have a look and let us know your thoughts. We are here to serve you.

The time is now.


Capital Goods Webinars – The New Dynamic

I began my career as an educator.  There was nothing I enjoyed more than seeing the light go on for a student – unless, of course, it was shocking them with my unorthodox methods.

Today, the landscape of education has shifted.  We have moved from the traditional classroom to the world wide web.  Webinars have become one of the most convenient and cost-effective learning tools for continuing education, and even mainstream university programs.

A webinar is typically a static process.

We are throwing that idea out the window.

We use a projector at a 16:10 aspect ratio, and a high definition camera.  Instead of our students watching Power Point slides go by, we present information, and then switch to conference format.  I move in front of the camera, and our webinar turns into a classroom discussion.

There is no better way for you to receive the training you need to advance personally, and advance your company, than to try one of our webinars.

I have pooled the knowledge of the past 45 years of my experience, as well as incorporating the latest, cutting edge theory and practice across the industry, to help the light go on for all of you.

Move forward in this New Year.

The time is now…

Roles, Responsibilities, & Expectations – Parts & Service Management

It is more than job descriptions and standards of performance

Management gurus and management theory changes like the wind. From Peter Townsend to Peter Drucker to Porras and Collins and Lencioni and many more. It is much more than a cottage Industry it is a full blown educational and consultative foundation. We have gone through multiple iterations of significant things we MUST do.

We must have job descriptions and then we have to have standards of performance for each job function. That was a starting point way back when. Then we got into vision and mission statements and other buzz words. Or how about Total Quality Movement and Continuous Quality Improvement. Now let’s not forget Six Sigma and all of us needing to become “black belts.” Oh and now we have “Lean Management.” In the midst of this we have the Balanced Scorecard and Activity Based Management. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of benefits to each of these various “movements.” It is not just a series of passing fads. After all I grew up with Industrial Engineering. At the AED we have the Product Support series. The Handbook. The Opportunities Handbook and the Best Practices Handbook. It is a cookie cutter solution to all of our problems that we are looking for in all of these theories and from each of these guru’s. Would that it were that simple.

But let’s take a breath here and get back to some basics. There is a terrific new book out there from the Chairman of Koch Industries, called the largest private company in the world. In it one of the subjects broached is roles, responsibilities and expectations. I think that this is an extremely important book and it contains a series of good pieces of advice to contemplate.

The roles of the individuals in the parts department and the service department and the product support sales department. What are those roles? What do the employees think those roles are? How about their responsibilities? I believe this is important. Do each of the employees have a clear understanding of that which they are expected to be doing within the company? No, not their job descriptions what is their role? Or have they got to the place that they know what the process is and they repeat it as often as is necessary. This is the curse of our American business structure. We teach you how to do the job and then expect you to do it over and over again until you get really good at it. The Asians with Kaizen have a much better approach; Do the job better each and every day. Do the employees invest their intellectual capital in improving their jobs? Or do they find out how to do the job and then just keep on keeping on? This is a symptom I find in a lot of dealerships. People are doing what they are told to do and working in the business. They are not working ON the business. Do you understand the distinction there?

I believe that the employee who is doing the job knows how to do the job better than anyone else. Particularly better than the boss. So with the arrival of summer I thought it would be good to have each of us read this book on holiday. And then to ask how we can improve our daily lives by doing our jobs more effectively, more with the customer in mind, and more with making ourselves live fulfilling lives. Don’t forget In Search of Dignity by R.C. Sproul either. He reminds us that everyone wants to feel they have made a difference in their lives.

That brings us finally to expectations. What are the expectations that the employee has for their job? What are the expectations that the company has for each employee? This is much more than job descriptions and standards of performance. It becomes almost a “what do you want to be when you grow up” question. Those of you that are still reading might think this is too soft a subject but expectations are hard things. The struggle to attract and retain talented employees is all about expectations. Keeping employees happy keeps customers happy and makes money for the owners. This is not easy stuff.

So there is your vacation reading. The Science of Success by Charles Koch of Koch Industries in Wichita, Kansas. A great read and it is full of excellent points for your consideration and implementation.

Happy reading.

The Time is NOW…