For a long time, most companies in the mechanical and plant engineering sector did not consider their service operation worth a great deal of attention. While they offered their customers repair and maintenance services, they did not have a strategy for developing those services. This is beginning to change, and for good reason. In many cases, the provision of technical services now offers greater sales and profit potential than the sale of machines and equipment – mainly because companies are currently investing less in new machinery. A recent study by the consulting firm Bain & Company confirms this trend.
Good servicing is also a crucial success factor for excellent customer relations. Mechanical and plant engineering companies that succeed in providing an outstanding service in this area not only set themselves apart from their competitors, but also increase customer loyalty. And they obtain various opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling. However, responding to customers’ needs is becoming ever more challenging as digitization is on the increase. Expectations with respect to servicing have risen substantially. Most customers assume that they will be able to communicate with the manufacturers on all types of analog and digital channels, and do so at any time.
Mechanical and plant engineering companies can respond by comprehensively digitizing their service processes (with SAP Service Cloud e. g.). Not only will they thereby ensure efficient communication with the customers and a speedier flow of information, the new technologies also allow new digital services to be set up and marketed. But only a minority of companies have so far taken the opportunity of realizing the potential involved, as indicated by the “Service Monitor 2015” survey conducted by Esslingen University. One example: 56 percent of respondents stated that they always or regularly use paper forms; 32 percent use this method frequently or occasionally. That is not the way to do things in this day and age.
New digital servicing models have multiple effects. They increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty because they help to fulfil their high expectations. They speed up processes and reduce costs because information is transmitted and processed without any media discontinuities. And they open up new opportunities for increasing sales and profits by offering added value that customers are prepared to pay for. The technological basis for all servicing models is a web-based service portal that integrates seamlessly into the existing system landscape. That is where all the data is made available and processed and the hub through which all processes are organized. Some examples will illustrate the types of things that can be realized.
Digital Machine Data Management: Key to Digital Services
Digital machine data management allows manufacturers to digitize their service operation, increasing customer satisfaction and opening up new sales opportunities.