It is undoubtedly that Post-sale service is of critical concern for each buyer in the overseas deal. Unlike those relatively easier-to-get-handle-on household gadgets of simple structures, industrial equipment, on the other hand, requires far more dedicated and deliberate post-attention and thus is arousing more concerns about machine vendors’ after-sale practices as the following:
Ali: “It took my My previous machine supplier more than one month to solve a mechanic problem, thanks to his belated response, we had suffered irrevocable losses during their machine downtime. (Eyes rolled). So my question is how you are going to ensure a prompt response to provide a quick-fix when the machine in UAE happens to break down?”
Christopher: “How did you perform after-sale service?”
David: “Are you going to send engineers to my factory for installation and for training my operator?”
Robert:” Is your machine easy to operate?”
Ahmed:” What if we have a problem with the operation?
Rosman:” I do not have any known mechanical technician or electrical engineer. I will be operating the machine myself, so in this case, will you guide me&How?”
The crux of those typical questions lies in most buyers’ fear of falling victims to cold shoulders after they hand over a large sum of full payment to an overseas stranger in their first-time deal. After receiving many of such questions during negotiation, I started to wonder How can I assure you that we are constantly putting promises at variance with what we can deliver; that we do not feel sorry for how inept we are at paying lip service?
Before I show you how we perform our after-sales, let us get closer to it in the industrial equipment deal.
1. What is post-sale service really about?
2. How do you ensure a satisfying after-sale service?
1. What is post-sale service really about?
In my perspective, Post-sale service in machine deal is a composite of 3 layers:(1)Machine Installation;(2)Operation guidance (3)Maintenance instruction.
(1)Machine Installation is the act of assembling an individual piece of equipment and setting up supporting systems as water and electricity supply.
(2)Operation guidance consists of commissioning and assistance in troubleshooting and problem solving during operation.
On-site Training, Implementation & Commissioning in most cases are available from machine vendors at buyers’ costs. But there are exceptions when buyers prefer to handle the installation and commissioning on their own, which will inevitably task sellers with the practice of long-distance guidance in a persistent and laborious process. (As for how to conduct such tricky instruction, we will illustrate in the following passages.)
(3)Maintenance Instruction is the most overlooked part to be taken into a complete sale service. As I have put in my previous article How to boost effectiveness in wet wipes production by applying strategic maintenance of packaging line, Proper maintenance of packaging equipment is critical to minimizing downtime and keeping costs low. With the constant support from an expert vendor and the right maintenance practices in place, even companies with minimal dedicated maintenance staff can reap these benefits and optimize packaging line operation.
2. How do we ensure a satisfying after-sale service?
A reliable supplier fully understands the idea that the dispatch of equipment symbolizes not a closure but the true beginning of a deal. And this is how sustainable development works.
The disparity of post-sale attention distributed to valued production lines and some six-penny toys is self-evident. Most importantly, a satisfying after-sales, essentially, is the result of synergistic work required from both machine suppliers and the end-users.In saying so, the very basic requirement for buyers is to equip production lines with professional technicians knowledgeable of machinery mechanism and electricity. Only by doing so will it drastically reduce unplanned downtime, keeps communication/maintenance costs low, lengthen the service life of machinery and optimize packaging line operation.
With the leading operational tasks shifting from seller to buyer from the moment when machinery is placed at buyers’factory site, sellers instead shall serve as an operational assistant and instructor whose main job is not to OPERATE but to GUIDE.
Still, the fact is that not all factories are qualified with this basic personnel allocation, which to some degree issues a greater challenge for the seller. In the initial stage of such cases, sellers often have to stay tuned whenever your client needs you. Although sometimes I have to admit that it is quite a demanding task to face an operator who does not even know how to turn on a barometer.
As we are quite a believer that Business is all about people, and communication matters most, our practice of post-sale service conforms to the core perceptions as Hardware helps, but by no means suffices. Hardware(equipment) counts, but the software (Communicator)counts twice.
Therefore, the principle for our way of achieving a satisfying post-sale service breaks down into two parts. Ideally, the communicator(normally the Salesperson) between end-user and technicians from the seller’s side is 100% pro-active and quick to respond. Moreover, this communicator shall be competent enough to deliver what problem from the user’s side is occurring and what solutions the technicians are offering, preferably in as much a clear and effective way as possible.
In our practice, what we are doing is to optimize the pro-activity of communicators, strengthen the capability of coordination and communication meanwhile maintain our advantages of proficiency deriving from a wealth of experience for the past 32 years. Our Pro-activity for timely response is driven by the sense of responsibility and credibility which play a key role in a built-to-last business. Beyond that, we will offer the following 4 instructions accruing from years of Proficiency:
(1) Instructional Video for installation and commissioning
(2) One-on-one online guidance
(3) Follow-up calls with operators on a regular-basis
(4) Re-planned visits for on-site machine inspection/instruction
Besides personnel, the other element factors are the equipment. Under extreme ideal conditions, post-sale for equipment will be carefree if the production line is zero-defect and the downtime rate of the machine is dwindled down to zero. According to this presumption, the strategy we have been applying is to optimize the stability and simplicity of production lines, which serve as the features of our self-designed machines.
Essentially, the secret of our satisfying post-sale service builds on the principle of being simple and of knowing how to begin with the end in mind- resorting to the ultimate goal of building a built-to-last company.