Opportunity B, Supplying Parts and Shipping Information

"There is no need to send a list of parts that we are sending."

If you haven’t already, please read our “Challenges, But More Importantly, OPPORTUNITIES Within the Fitness Equipment Industry,” article. To briefly reiterate, the objective of this article is not to throw stones, but rather to bring to light our experiences, our service model, and ultimately, to demonstrate how service providers and manufacturers can all work better together.

Manufacturer B is another large equipment manufacturer that can be found in stores nationwide. We were recently approached by a retailer asking us to perform both warranty and non-warranty work for units they sold that were built by said manufacturer. We were happy to handle this for them, as we already performed some of their warranty service. Once service requests started coming through from this retailer, the customer information would be sent to the manufacturer, the manufacturer would then troubleshoot, determine what parts needed to be sent, then ship them directly to the customer. Once parts shipped, we asked this manufacturer if they could tell us what parts were shipped.


I still have trouble believing this, but we were told, by their Manager-Admin Department/Parts Purchasing, “There is no need to send a list of parts that we are sending,” and, “I am sorry but we don’t have time to send a list of parts being sent.”


That’s right, a service provider, going out on a warranty service call on behalf of this manufacturer, is being told that the manufacturer is too busy to provide this vital information. Rather than take a few seconds to screengrab this parts order and forward it, this manufacturer is actively choosing to send us in blind.


Having been in the military and EMS/fire service, I experienced firsthand how important and effective preplanning is and apply the same principles to our operation. Sending a service tech to a repair with zero prior knowledge as to what is expected of them is a massive disservice to the customer, the tech, the service company, the retailer, and the manufacturer themselves. Once again, we are not asking for a miracle here, a simple screengrab is all we need to be added to an email reply that is already being sent.


One additional service we offer our customers is scheduling their service calls in anticipation of their parts arrival. No one enjoys waiting, routines are important in fitness and in life in general, and we owe it to our customers to repair their machines as quickly as possible. Therefore, once we have tracking information on their parts shipment, we schedule our customers in anticipation of the parts arrival. This generally shaves off anywhere from 2-5 days from their machine’s downtime. Good plan, right? Unfortunately, when requesting this tracking information to better service these customers, we were told: “We give [you] an order number and [you] know the customer will contact [you] when parts arrive.” Our explanation fell on deaf ears as to how we do everything for our customers to be proactive as opposed to reactive, but it didn’t do us any good. And once again, all we need here is a quick screen grab, we’re talking about 30 seconds at most. Now, rather than us being able to effectively manage this repair for this customer, manufacturer, and retailer, the customer needs to be inconvenienced. They must find our number, make a phone call, verify all packages and parts (though, without a list of parts shipped, how exactly are we to verify this?) have been received, etc. This is MUCH more easily handled internally in our office where we can ensure all the ducks are in a row, and then we reach out to the customer to schedule, taking the responsibility off of them. How are we as repair people going to be able to successfully schedule and repair these machines, when by design we’re being set up to fail? As shown, we’re talking about an extra minute or so of time here on the front end, to save at least 30 minutes on each service call, and days of waiting for the customer.


So, court of public opinion, are we off base here? Should owners of these pieces of fitness equipment be robbed of the opportunity of scheduling their repair prior to their parts arrival? Should owners of these pieces of fitness equipment have to tolerate a tech arriving at their location with no idea what is expected of them, through no fault of their own?


Once more, an open dialogue is encouraged, what obstacles have you encountered, and what improvements would you like to see within this industry?


We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts and looking forward to improving this industry by working TOGETHER!

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