ServiceMax Blog

Aftermarket 2017: Unleashing Service 4.0

Last week, 250 service leaders attended Aftermarket, Europe’s leading conference for service leaders, in Hamburg, Germany. For a number of years, I’ve chaired this event and presented keynotes. Through the years, I’ve seen a change in dynamics both in attendants and topics covered. Not only is Aftermarket reiterating its value contribution, the conference is also positioning itself at the core of business transformation.

To my great pleasure, a growing number of attendees had job titles in business development, and sales and marketing, and even procurement. The sheer observation that other functions are having an interest in service is the equivalent of “likes” on social media. The buzz is out. Service people knew that they mattered, and now other functions are finally recognizing it.

During the conference, I detected a drive to unleash service on two levels:

  • Doing things correctly. Service people keep our assets afloat every day and take a pride in helping customers. To keep up with the pace of technology advancement and customer expectations, many service executives are shopping for state-of-the-art tooling.
  • Doing the correct things. Having all the data and touch points in grip, there is a realization that service is sitting on top of a gold mine to adapt and change the business model. These service executives are shopping for how-to-get-buy-in handles.

In my presentation, “What Service Managers Should Know about Sales,” I mentioned a window of opportunity to initiate business transformation. If your it is the goal of your organization to grow your business rather than increasing sales, then service can lead the discussion by role playing a product-focus-scenario versus an outcome-based-scenario.

During the networking breaks and social activities, you can feel a common sense of direction. Service is working hard to get its act together on the basics. At the same time service is preparing for that opportunity to contribute to and drive the new business model.

Many speakers at the conference have shared their take on servitization, service design, product-as-a-service, digital, IoE and even procurement psychology — all great and inspiring content, especially when you tie it all together to create momentum to start your own transformation journey.

I’m looking forward to next year’s edition — and to hear from you how you have applied the insights in your organization.