The maintenance market is plagued by fierce competition between small independents, which is eroding the dominance of the major manufacturers
“We are facing increased competition, especially in our historical areas of activity. Newcomers are offering ‘hard discounts’ with aggressive sales methods and prices,” stated Stéphane Marfort. Indeed, independents are launching into the maintenance market by cutting prices, sometimes with 20% reductions compared to the average price of the annual contract generally agreed by the sector. These companies are aiming to build a lift portfolio quickly and then put themselves up for sale to the highest bidder. “The problem is that these unbeatable prices lure managers and owners, who do not realise that the consequences include poor maintenance quality. This is why we must do more to follow up with our customers, such as by offering services that show them exactly what work we have done on their lifts.”
On the other hand, the commercial logic for the major elevator companies is to continue working with their historical partners in the region. “I have had discussions with several decision makers from multinational elevator companies in the region. They have realised that their job is to build as many elevators as possible, with a series of models. The strategy of the market leaders seems increasingly to be based on mass installations and selling as many spare parts as they can to their maintenance partners. We feel that multi-brand maintenance no longer interests them. It is a different business model, which independent companies like ours have acquired through experience. We can do multi-brand maintenance much better.” The major brands prefer to buy up capable independent companies rather than manage the complicated back office of this type of operation for themselves. uptime sees this type of market disturbance in many cities, and not just in France. “Good maintenance is a question of proximity. Although the major suppliers are very good at Fordism on a large scale, they know that independent service providers offer very good tailor-made solutions and make a profit in doing so,” added Stéphane Marfort.
EMR is betting on predictive maintenance to solidify its customer base and support its growth
“Today, it is important that maintenance companies can provide factually accurate and indisputable data, which makes it possible to demonstrate the quality of their work,” explained Sylvie Wohlgemuth. “Some companies rush their work and don’t meet the basic requirements of any type of maintenance service, such as storing service books up on the cabin roof, where they are inaccessible to customers. More than ever, demonstrating to our customers that the work we do has real value and has been done right is an undeniable competitive advantage.”
Since late 2021, EMR Elevators has been deploying uptime’s technology in its lifts. “Because of the predictive maintenance schedule provided by uptime’s tech, we can demonstrate what interventions we have carried out proactively, thus bringing real added value to our customers,” continued Stéphane Marfort.
Moreover, uptime provides a wide range of services to support elevator operations: “Thanks to the predictive maintenance, we can increase the availability of our equipment since we act on the recommendations before anything breaks down. The tool helps us to prove to our customers that they need to carry out major modernisation work on key components.” In the long term, uptime’s technology will make it possible to reduce operational costs, since maintenance and upgrades will be better planned, repair times will be shorter and unnecessary call-outs can be avoided. “Our collaboration with uptime and the differentiation it allows us to offer to our customers will allow us to accelerate our growth,” Stéphane Marfort concluded.