Outsource Balancing Act
Posted on 15/10/2012
Third party maintenance and support is helping resellers deliver a sharper sales focus and maintain a healthy financial balance.
“Trends that drive companies to outsource ultimately boils down to sales demand and financial viability,” says Nimans’ Dealer Sales Director, Tom Maxwell. “When they are able to sell something, finance it such as through leasing and deliver maintenance as part of one complete solution, they have all the ingredients for success. Some resellers have put off deals in the past because they didn’t have the resource in place, but now they are realising there’s another solution.”
Tom continued: “Resellers are having to be careful. They want value for money. It’s a very cautious approach due to market conditions. They don’t want to invest around £30,000 per year in an engineer’s salary that they then have to keep permanently busy. Third party support is very flexible and gives a reseller the ability to focus and invest more on sales, which is ultimately the most important criteria.
“We had a customer the other day that just wanted to focus on sales – knowing she had the backbone of Nimans’ third party infrastructure behind her. It’s beneficial all-round.”
Product integration is another growing consideration according to Tom. “There’s a lot of compatibility between different systems that share the same protocol. For example we manage the maintenance for an end user that has 15 sites around the country. They have old systems that are being replaced one-by-one as they break down. Long term they will all be on the same platform but until they do, they need integration between different brands, and maintenance to keep them running. The big advantage for a reseller here is loyalty and locking in a customer so that they can’t go elsewhere. By buying the highest levels of support the end user has complete peace of mind. When the time comes to upgrade they will naturally look to their existing supplier to place the order.”
Tom says upfront investment in upskilling staff is vital, but concedes it’s not always that easy. “If a reseller sends out an engineer that isn’t fully trained on a particular system then this paints a very bad picture of their company. Equally jobs tend to take longer to resolve which the end user will be reluctant to pay extra for. Cutting corners is not ideal as it’s based on a risk that things won’t go wrong but when they do they have to make sure they have trained staff in place to handle the situation. Resellers that have highly skilled and fully trained staff will constantly get the work. It’s that simple. Customers choose their suppliers on quality. When problems go wrong on-site it can easily erode that relationship. “
Tom concluded: “On-site services can put the frontline reputation of your business at risk. If you don’t deliver the proper standard of service you won’t get work and won’t get paid. Resellers have to consider if it’s worth training their own engineers to cover a particular product. If the figures don’t add-up we can come to the rescue.
“Skilled engineers are a rare commodity and training can be expensive. If it’s not viable to train your own staff, without third party support then it’s effectively game over because you can’t then sell any products.”