third-party service provider offerings digital concept

Why manufacturers (OEMs) choose a third-party service provider


See why more and more manufacturers (OEMs) are partnering with third-party service providers.

Read time: 4 minutes

Time is a precious commodity. So is prioritizing and allocating resources within your business. Both are crucial for any business to succeed.

Today, many OEMs are faced with a serious question: 

Would you rather spend your time and capital building a service infrastructure to service your equipment or innovating, building, and running your business?

Equipment service and maintenance are vital. One way or another, a company needs to maintain and operate a service warranty program for its customers. Too often, this task is neglected until breakdowns occur, which can lead to downtime and costly repairs.

That’s why many OEMs have turned to third-party service providers for equipment servicing and even for the building and managing of their service warranty programs.

What is a third-party service provider?

A third-party service provider is an independent company staffed by highly trained and versatile technicians to provide all necessary hardware maintenance and services that their client company requires.

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) contract can be customized to precisely the technical support services needed. These can include:

  • Call center response

  • Troubleshooting

  • Client-side break/fix support

  • Other services defined by the contract

A big value in outsourcing some or all aftermarket service operations comes from the way it increases an organization’s core capacity for change and growth. When properly implemented, outsourcing leverages expert talent, improves overall business productivity, and reduces work cycles. It also can help to boost efficiency and prove a and cost-effective solution for the delivery of quality customer and equipment service.

When to use a third-party service provider?

Partnering with a third-party provider delivers many benefits and efficiencies.

For manufacturers considering outsourcing aspects of their service delivery, it’s important to understand that segmentation exists. It’s certainly an option to dive in and delegate everything to a third-party provider, but many times, the more straightforward option is to utilize them gradually for specific functions.

  • New equipment rollouts

  • New territories or lines of business

  • Upgrades and retrofits

  • 24/7 customer service

  • Preventative and scheduled maintenance

  • Depot repair and exchange or parts management

Depending on the nature of a business’s operations, deciding upon the right level of outsourcing becomes a question of what to keep in-house versus what’s easier to delegate.

‘What to outsource?’ is a unique question that’s different for every manufacturer. And it’s one that must be asked when evaluating the value and benefits of working with a third-party service provider organization.

Benefits of partnering with a third-party service provider

Access to qualified technical labor

Finding qualified, capable technicians can be a difficult task. The shortage of skilled labor in some locations presents a real challenge.

A third-party service provider has access to knowledge and experience from a larger talent pool of qualified technicians.

This can make it easier for a company to accomplish its goals quicker, than vetting candidates or training in-house staff members.

Save time and money

Outsourcing routine maintenance and support means paying for – and getting with a solid SLA – a high caliber of service that ultimately benefits your equipment — improving machine function, efficiency, and life span. And a great customer experience translates into increased return on investment.

Capacity planning for growth and scale

Do you have the resources to get to market quickly and meet customer demand?

Do you want to build a nationwide service infrastructure?

Whether the business is an emerging startup or an established company, it may not have the technical resources needed to launch into a new market sector. Scaling internal resources can also pose a challenge, making it difficult to adapt as quickly as desired to handle additional customer needs.

Peace of mind and budget flexibility

Here are some questions businesses consider when looking at the potential value of an outsourced service provider:

  • Do you have the knowledge, time, and capital to deliver consistent customer service?

  • Can you complete your required project rollouts and upgrades or proactively schedule routine maintenance services at the agreed time intervals based on your customer needs?

Using a third-party service provider can help free up operating expenses while providing quality services to customers.

Greater focus on core business

Outsourcing service delivery can free in-house staff to concentrate on other facets of the business. Leaving service delivery to a third-party provider means getting results without overseeing the entire process or committing personnel and resources to providing it.

Is a third-party service provider right for your business?

Many manufacturers are finding now to be the right time to look at outsourced, third-party services. As you begin to look, ask yourself:

What can the third-party service provider do to make your life easier?

You have invested an awful lot of time, energy, and money to create your IP and build your brand with your customers. If you’re feeling hesitant, it makes sense. You don’t want to turn your service and support over to just anybody.

A third-party service partner should bring value by reducing the effort required by your team and being attuned to your business needs. Outsourcing and choosing the right third-party service partner should, in turn, reduce your internal management costs and increase your operational efficiency.

Here are a few questions to consider when evaluating a potential third-party service provider:

  • Expertise: Does the provider have experience working with your equipment and do they have the technicians qualified to perform the work?

  • Scale: Does the service provider have the resources where and when you need them geographically?  What sort of hours and SLA’s can they support?

  • Program management:  Does the service provider offer dedicated project managers and program support?

Our Technology Lifecycle Services professionals would be happy to answer these and any other questions you may have. You can learn more about the global scope of our service offering by visiting our Ricoh Service Advantage web page.

Recommended for you

6 essential skills for the additive manufacturing workforce
6 essential skills for the additive manufacturing workforce

6 essential skills for the additive manufacturing workforce

A look at the top additive manufacturing skills your team will need to succeed in the new world of 3D printing.

Major Global Retailer
Major Global Retailer

Major Global Retailer

See how Ricoh helped a major retailer add wow factor to the customer experience with Intelligent Lockers for consumers who buy online and pick up in store.

RICOH Service Advantage Technology Support Services for Additive Manufacturing
RICOH Service Advantage Technology Support Services for Additive Manufacturing

RICOH Service Advantage Technology Support Services for Additive Manufacturing

Service Advantage offers Technology Lifecycle Support Services for 3D Printers. See Technology Support Services for Additive Manufacturing brochure