Ramping up service support

Ramping up service support

Claas takes high-tech approach to boost field service and parts support

When you cover the farm equipment market it's pretty easy to get caught up on the newest, shiny product. They're interesting, and look great on launch day. But eventually every piece of farm equipment faces a tough test - the farmer and the field. Agriculture has a reputation for being tough on equipment from dust, to dirt, to maintenance challenges, equipment can suffer.

No matter the brand, eventually something breaks down. And that's where some dealerships separate themselves from the pack. Farm equipment makers know this and provide all manner of support for parts and service. Dealers are challenged to have the right parts on hand when needed, or have quick access to the right part to keep you in the field.

The seasonal nature of ag also makes it a challenge. How much inventory should a dealer keep? Note that a single piece of equipment could have 40,000 different part numbers - you're running complex stuff in the field. What should a dealer have available, and what can be ordered for overnight delivery?

Invariably a farmer will tell you the part that should be ordered overnight is the one he needed. But companies are getting better at tracking equipment use and part need to better match up supply and demand. The use of data systems that measure demand and relate them to models and seasonal need can help.

Claas recently announced it has a new partner for after-sales service. The company is using Syncron Inventory to optimize its spare parts inventory across its global dealer network. The aim is to have a centralized and automated service parts management system that can improve the quality of parts inventory on hand while reducing excess and obsolete stock.

The company set four criteria when seeking a management solution including:

* excellent spare parts planning performance

* sophisticated order workflows

* easy monitoring across systems

* advanced analytics and reporting

All of those factors can help boost your parts and service experience with the company.

Before joining forces with Syncron, each Claas dealer had its own manual process for managing spare parts inventory. Each dealer had their own dealer management system, different levels of data quality and very little use of any system-based order processes for refills.

With Syncron Inventory, the Claas chain of dealers gain access to new analytics and optimized inventory and order tracking that should lead to better off-the-shelf parts availability. And your dealer should be able to get parts more efficiently with the system too.

In a statement announcing the new relationship, Christian Buck, supply chain manager, Claas, noted that Syncron will provide "laser-focus on after-sales service."

Johan Stakeberg, head of global sales, Syncron, added that the company will work with Claas to "optimize service parts inventory across their expansive dealer network to maximize product uptime."

Big machines rolling for harvest of forage crops and row crops require solid uptime. When the crop is ready, farmers can maximize their returns. Breakdowns are more than a headache, they hit the bottom line hard on many operations.

Claas is moving ahead with ways to have the parts needed if something breaks. It's a standard for which all manufacturers strive, and it isn't easy. The extensive network of parts support systems, centralized inventory and computer brain power involve would surprise many.

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