According to a report by aftermarket service analyst Bill Pollock, 53% of service parts planners anticipate smart, connected products will have the greatest impact on their organizations in the next 24 months.
This is somewhat in line with what Capgemini found: Discrete manufacturers estimate that around “50% of their products will be smart and connected by 2020.”
The good news? More than half (54%) of parts managers have strategies in place to make use of smart, connected products. What those strategies consist of may vary, but I’d bet many service parts planners want to tap into the data those products provide.
Smart, connected products tell parts planners exactly how many assets they have across the installed base, where those assets are located, and the rate at which customers are using that equipment. How parts planners measure utilization rates will depend on the types of products they support, whether they be aircraft or MRI machines, oil drills or passenger trains.
All those details give parts planners further insight into which parts they’ll need to stock, how many, and at what locations. Vinod Arekar, a PTC Fellow and service supply chain expert, noted one company he worked with stocked parts for an MRI machine its parts planners thought was in Minnesota. However, the hospital network had moved the machine to Florida.
Situations such as the one described above aren’t uncommon. An airline’s installed base, for example, is constantly moving. However, because most aircraft contain sensors, parts managers working for an airline can now track each tail number’s flight activity, allowing them to better plan for life-limited parts removals.
Bill Pollock’s analysis found 44% of service parts planners said a majority of the equipment they support are connected. Of those responses, one-in-five said at least 75% of their installed base is connected.
That situation’s going to change, though. Almost half (49%) of parts planners believe 75% to 100% of the assets they support will be connected within five years. That means more service parts managers will have the data needed to generate more accurate demand forecasts.
The advent of the Industrial IoT and smart, connected products is driving a practice known as connected service parts management. The guide below outlines this approach in detail, and what parts planners must do to implement it: