The world is heading towards a greener, more eco-conscious future. This isn’t just being driven by consumers. It’s also coming from businesses asking suppliers to consider their ESG objectives, and from governments who are taking steps to put a stop to planned obsolescence.
Within the manufacturing industry, we are seeing a growth in the Right to Repair (RTR) movement. This is putting businesses under increasing pressure to support sustainable practices by providing customers with easier access to spare parts and repair instructions.
In the UK, legislation has been already passed which will make this compulsory for electronics manufacturers by July 2023 – and further regulations are in the pipeline in other countries around the world. It will transform the manufacturing aftermarket. But are manufacturers ready? We recently undertook research with professional and DIY repairers which suggests not.
Buying spare parts
The research showed that DIY repairers are prepared to pay good money to buy the spare parts they need to keep products functional – half say they would pay more than 30% of the original cost of the product, while a quarter said they would pay more than 50%.
When we asked what would encourage them to buy more of these parts from manufacturers, they said if:
- Products were built so they could be easily repaired (53%)
- Repair instructions are readily available for every part (49%)
- It was cost beneficial to continue to repair (46%)
- It became easier to find and order spare parts (41%)
But the research showed that repairers are not satisfied with the support they are currently being provided with.
Tripping up at the first step
In fact, too many repairers are tripping up at the very first step of the repair process. Both DIY and professional repairers often struggle to identify and find the parts they need to replace.
More than four fifths (83%) of DIY repairers said they struggle to identify and find replacement parts at least some of the time. Almost a third (30%) said that they struggle at least most of the time. Just 3% said identifying parts was never a problem.
Most professionals (52%) also said they need to check, research, or seek help to accurately identify parts ‘more often than not’.
Read the full research report here
Even after finding the parts they need, difficulties continue for repairers when it comes to ordering.
Almost four in ten DIY repairers said the experience of buying parts directly from manufacturers ranked somewhere between ‘fairly difficult to impossible’. This might be why just 15% say they find the spare parts they need to buy directly from the manufacturer.
Most professional repairers said that, after ordering, they frequently experience errors, i.e. they receive the wrong part. A quarter said this happens on every fifth purchase, while 10% said this happens on every third purchase.
When you consider that almost half of the professional repairers surveyed order spare parts on a weekly basis, this equates to a staggering volume of mistakes – and a lot of wasted time, effort and cost.
What needs to change?
The number one request from both DIY and professional repairers in our research was for manufacturers to make it easier to accurately identify and order parts.
Almost half of professional repairers (46%) said this is the most important thing manufacturers could provide them with. A similar percentage (45%) of DIY repairers said that if this was achieved, they’d buy parts from manufacturers more often.
With the traditional approach to aftermarket clearly not delivering a satisfactory experience for customers, more manufacturers will need to embrace digital support tools, such as a 3D interactive parts catalog.
When asked how manufacturers could support them better, the most common answer from professional repairers was to provide an ‘interactive 3D parts catalog’ (38%). More than half (51%) of DIY repairers said this would make it easier for them to ‘identify parts quickly and accurately’, while more than half (45%) said 3D models would also make it easier to buy from manufacturers.
To learn how to satisfy customers, meet sustainability goals and deliver greater revenue, download the Aftermarket Demand Report here.
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