Capital Equipment Customer Retention Strategy Leverages IT Alliances

By: Babette Ten Haken| - Leave a comment

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Smart capital equipment customer retention strategy leverages collaborative alliances within a smarter IT organization.

Capital equipment lifecycles can average least 5 – 10 years or more. That seems like a long time.

However, the pace of change in the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) ecosystem is relentless, unforgiving and dynamic. The IIoT waits for no one to play catch up.

A smart capital equipment customer retention strategy is “Always On” and always focused on “What’s Next?” within the plant ecosystem.

How can your organization collaborate with IT today, to enable you to not only keep up with, but remain proactive about “What’s Next?” for the client within the smart manufacturing plant ecosystem?

Evaluate the value of “As Good As” versus smart plant“Better and Better.

Traditionally, capital equipment manufacturers leverage a customer retention strategy targeting equipment maintenance. Equipment performance is anticipated to remain “As Good As” the day that customer bought that asset.

Customer retention in the smart manufacturing plant changes the traditional rules of customer retention.  “As Good As” is no longer good enough.

The industrial Internet of Things makes today’s capital equipment performance conversations into tomorrow’s table stakes. Smart capital equipment customer retention strategy articulates how equipment, customer experience and customer success become“Better and Better” throughout the customer’s and equipment’s lifecycles.

In my Playbook, collaborate with a smarter IT department to become “Better and Better”.

Is your organization enabling a smart capital equipment customer retention strategy which incorporates Big Data and analytics insights?

Evolving legacy IT mindset and systems, traditionally focused on stability, become inter-connected to a customer-focused smart capital equipment customer retention strategy.

There is a lot of experiential and performance-related data to collect over the lifecycle of capital equipment within the smart manufacturing plant. Customer retention strategy requires collaboration with IT to create standardized approaches to data collection so that data is organized in a manner which yields relevant and timely, actionable insights.

Recently, I spoke at the Food Processing Suppliers Association Fall Sales Conference on the topic of customer retention strategies for food processing capital equipment manufacturers. I offer three key take-aways for your smart capital equipment customer retention strategy.

  1. Correlate life cycle cost management and predictive maintenance metrics in anticipation of not only current but future operational demands impacting the plant floor as well as business strategy.
  2. Differentiate equipment and your company by translating the impact of big data and predictive analytics from operational efficiencies into Line of Business value creation anticipated over the lifecycle of that equipment.
  3. Establish your company as a strategic business ally by developing cross-functional and collaborative internal alliances focused on customer success and total plant sustainability.

In my Playbook, smart capital equipment customer retention strategy connects internal customers on the plant floor to customer-facing business units.

Three critical-to-outcome initiatives emerge which impact customer success. All involve collaboration with IT as a new, key strategic partner.

The goal of this initiative? Correlating sensor-generated Big Data analytics insights from overall equipment efficiency (OEE) and predictive maintenance with customer experience (CX) insights.

The outcome? Creating sustainable customer experiences which impact customer retention.

Smart capital equipment has a dynamic role within the smart manufacturing plant. Analysis of sensor-generated data within the smart plant ecosystem leverages continuous improvement of interrelated equipment, software and application interfaces.

  1. On the plant floor, IT becomes a collaborative partner to generate and interpret sensor-generated data insights from operational technology which impact availability, performance and quality.
  2. In business units, sales collaborates with IT to remain involved post-sale, in the delivery of customer retention processes assuring quality of performance of both equipment and end user experience critical to customer retention.
  3. IT remains continuously involved in sticking close to the customer by ensuring data collection and analyses yield relevant and scalable insights from customer experience data throughout the equipment lifecycle.

A smart capital equipment customer retention strategy is focused on creating a retained place for your company at your customers’ business tables.

Smart capital equipment customer retention strategy utilizes the IT department as an ally rather than an adversary. Business and operations become customer-retention focused partners. The glue holding this collaboration together leverages everyone’s relationship with the IT folks within your organization.

In the smart manufacturing plant ecosystem, your equipment may not continue to fill the same role, tomorrow, as it does today. Over the lifecycle of that equipment, clients will continuously – and competitively – respond to market opportunities calling for more customized food product choices.

Collaborate with IT to determine how insights from analytics allow your equipment to scale in the strategic direction your client chooses.

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About The Author

Babette Ten Haken

Founder & President, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC

Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst, corporate strategist and facilitator. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.

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