Part and parcel
Systems that go wrong still need to be fixed, however, and the technology industry is always looking for ways to make service and repair activities run as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. A critical element of that process is the delivery of the right replacement components.
According to Leonard Aerts, Chief Customer Officer, DHL Service Logistics, the industry's emphasis on overall system robustness is leading it to prioritize visibility and consistency over absolute speed in service logistics. "In recent years, we've seen a reduction in demand for same-day deliveries from our technology customers," he says. "Now customers are more likely to ask for more cost-effective next-day services, but they need absolute assurance that the shipment is going to arrive when expected."
As in so many other B2B environments, Aerts notes, customer expectations are also shaped by their experience as consumers. Ride-hailing services like Uber, for example, show the real-time location of the requested vehicle as it approaches. DHL now offers similar capabilities for mission-critical shipments, with tracking systems that provide real-time visibility to urgent shipments and update expected arrival times based on vehicle GPS data and current traffic information. That data is made available to customers and service engineers through a dedicated app, so they know exactly when to expect a shipment and can be alerted to its imminent arrival.
The most useful service parts are those that have already arrived. In India, DHL is piloting an innovative approach that makes that possible. Smart Lockers work in the same way as the automated parcel collection points used by consumers for e-commerce deliveries. Located on the campuses of major data centers and similar facilities, they allow equipment suppliers to pre-position an inventory of commonly used replacement parts. On-site service engineers can access the components they need with a secure one-time passcode, and the system works seamlessly behind the scenes to handle billing and replenishment orders.