In the equipment industry, there is a significant trend developing that could reshape how equipment dealerships operate. AI-powered Knowledge Assistants are going to help service departments find, create, share and curate service information faster and easier than it is done today. This innovation is coming, and it has deep implications for your dealership.

Large OEMs are diving into developing their own AI strategies, but the question remains: who will benefit? The industry buzzes with excitement over the potential benefits. However, dealership owners must prepare to navigate the shifting landscape of equipment service with foresight and strategic planning, or risk having their service departments up-ended by the Large OEMs.

Understanding Large OEM Motivations and Actions

Imagine this: over the next five years, the large OEM that designs your equipment will be taking notes from your service departments. Their AI will learn from your specialists, gaining deeper insights into the nuances of equipment maintenance and repair that the OEM doesn’t have access to today. On one hand, this could help the OEMs design equipment that is easier to maintain and provide an overall better experience to their end users. On the other hand, with the hard-earned insights from their dealer networks, OEMs will be in a position to disintermediate the OEM-Dealership-End User relationship.

What Does This Mean for Your Dealership?

What does this mean for your business? Your dealership could gradually see a decrease in customer reliance on you for service. In some cases, OEMs will be able to provide a more immediate, simpler and cheaper service directly to your customers, where does that leave you? This is not just about competition; it’s about the potential erosion of the role of dealerships in equipment service.

Data Ownership Matters

One of the most critical aspects behind this shift is who owns the data. If OEMs hold all the service data, they control the narrative. They control the relationships and they determine the future. Maintaining ownership and control of your data will allow your dealership to not only maintain control over your customer relationships, but also to be in a position to deliver superior customer experiences compared to anything the OEMs will be able to provide.

The Historical Context and Future Risks

We’ve seen from other industries how centralising control with manufacturers creates monopolies, and tilts the dynamic in their favour. The OEMs have a track record of building solutions that benefit themselves above all else; often at the expense of delivering a good solution for their dealership network. In fact, most OEMs have a track record of launching digital solutions that fall short of dealership expectations. Is this a gamble you’re willing to take with the backbone of your business — customer service and satisfaction?

Choosing the Right Path

While most dealerships aren’t in a position to build their own Knowledge Assistants, you do have choices. Independent Knowledge Assistants like those developed by visorPRO® are designed not to replace your expertise but to enhance it. These independent solutions are built with your dealership’s needs in mind, ensuring your data remains in the hands of your dealership, and are built to support the multiple equipment brands that you need to service. They support your business’s unique needs and strategic goals, ensuring you remain competitive and relevant in a rapidly evolving market.

Your Call to Action

As the industry stands at this crossroads, it’s crucial to not adopt a wait-and-see approach. The future is coming, and it promises to be one where only those who actively manage their technology strategy will thrive. Consider your options carefully. Are you going to wait for the OEMs to reshape the OEM dealership dynamic on their terms, or will you take control with solutions that fortify and advance your dealership’s interests? Ultimately, your choice will define the future of this industry.