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4 reasons why automotive brands are struggling to digitise their aftermarket

25 November 2019

In our last blog, we discussed the consumer behaviour that was driving new trends in the automotive industry. Here, we outline the common reasons why some automotive brands are struggling to create an intelligent aftermarket strategy 

Over the last few years, we’ve seen how car-buying is becoming less about just buying a product, and more about the customer experience.  

Tesla is a great example of this – shunning the usual advertisement streams and opting for a forward-thinking brand strategy built upon customer-centricity, great buyer experience and innovative digital services. And if you apply this same thinking to the automotive aftermarket – the same principles apply. A brand’s aftermarket and spare parts strategy now needs to be customer-centric and service-driven, and technology is the enabler organisations need to deliver the digital experience that customers want. With that in mind, creating an intelligent aftermarket strategy is now of critical importance for brands that want to stay ahead.  

So, what’s the issue?  

Back in 2017, we conducted our own research looking at current logistics technology platforms and our report revealed that, startlingly, many OEMs still don’t have a technology stack that’s up to scratch.  

While things have improved, much of the logistics sector is still way behind other industries who are also facing similar digital challenges. It’s critical however that technology sits at the heart of any customer-centric strategy, the absence of it puts brands at significant risk as we all race into the digital future.  

Using our own research, plus experience working with some of the world’s largest brands, this blog looks to explore some of the common problems that many are facing and that could be preventing automotive brands from developing an intelligent aftermarket solution. So, here they are: 

  • Data silos. This is a massive issue across industries. Organisations are still holding data in highly segmented silos and this means manual intervention is often required at the collection and analysis stage. This is both time-consuming and inefficient, especially when the data available isn’t real-time either  
  • Inefficient tech platforms. Many incumbent platforms still can’t cater for every spare part aftermarket process or be tailored to all personas. Often, this is because they’re out-of-date and cannot incorporate new smart technologies  
  • Use of multiple and disconnected legacy systems. If out-of-date systems wasn’t enough, some organisations are also using a multitude of systems – some old, some new - that simply don’t integrate. This compounds the data silos issue and adds even more manual processes to day-to-day administration tasks  
  • Inefficient data management and alignment. This is a big one, and not always to do with the type of technology in place. After all, you can have the best technology in the world, but if organisations lack the expertise, time or resource to use it properly, they will never get the value they need. Technologies need to be aligned completely to an organisation’s overall strategy to ensure it brings the right customer value. Reporting tools and dashboards also need to be aligned to an organisation’s unique set of processes to guarantee effective KPI benchmarking.  

It’s clear therefore that the focus now needs to be on getting the right digital stack in place; upgrading old systems or seeking an outsourced provider to help get things in order.  

There’s been lots of talk recently about ‘exciting’ technologies like robotics, automated equipment, artificial intelligence and drones, and these continue to be popular ‘buzz words’ from in and around the industry, but it’s data management and system integration that are the priority topics now. As we can see, there are still significant challenges around analysing vast amounts of data and setting-up the right infrastructure to accommodate the ever-changing needs of customers.  

For some, this priority will be a case of collecting more data, and then putting it all in one place, while for others it’s about streamlining the data management processes they already have, so they can analyse their data more efficiently. The important thing is to get the right foundation developed now, to ensure brands are ready for what’s up ahead. 

How Carousel can help 

As a European service-logistics specialist, we use our own technology to deliver total aftermarket solutions in high-performance industries. 

We know and understand the technology challenges many service-focused organisations face, and that’s why, as a business we have ruthlessly honed-in on the needs of OEMs and their end customers. In fact, our new service and technology platform Gateway® is a platform that’s been custom-built by us to help OEMs make sense of their data in a more manageable way, AND to provide end customers with the experience they’re demanding. 

Gateway® works by fusing together the physical infrastructure of an aftermarket solution, with digital information from across a value chain; giving complete visibility and control, in one easy portal. It means everyone – whether its field engineers, technicians, dealers or customer service teams – has access to the same information, all in real time. 

If you’d like to find out more about Carousel’s service and technology platform – Gateway® – and how it could improve your logistics performance, and give you that competitive advantage, then please get in touch. We’d be delighted to hear from you, whether you have a general enquiry or a technical challenge for our specialists, contact us here.