Good ser­vice with con­fi­dence and conviction

Good ser­vice by conviction

Aichelin Ofen

Every soft­ware imple­men­ta­ti­on has its own indi­vi­du­al requi­re­ments and spe­ci­fic situa­tions, and yet the chal­len­ges to be over­co­me are often simi­lar. The­re­fo­re, the pos­si­bi­li­ty to draw on expe­ri­ence can be a decisi­ve advan­ta­ge. Pati­ence and per­se­ver­an­ce are also bene­fi­cial, becau­se the intro­duc­tion of a ser­vice manage­ment sys­tem is not a sprint, but rather resem­bles a long-distance run.

Set­backs can­not always be avoided over lon­ger distan­ces. A sto­ry at AICHELIN Ser­vice GmbH (ASG) in Lud­wigs­burg shows that it pays off not to resign immedia­te­ly in case of a misstep. ASG is part of AICHELIN Hol­ding GmbH, a glo­bal­ly acti­ve com­pa­ny that can look back on a histo­ry of almost 150 years and is today one of the world’s lea­ding manu­fac­tu­rers of heat tre­at­ment equipment.

The objec­ti­ve of cross-loca­ti­on planning

While the pro­duc­tion of indus­tri­al fur­naces was trans­fer­red to AICHELIN Ges.m.b.H. (AMD) in Möd­ling near Vien­na in 2004, the after-sales area was con­cen­tra­ted in Lud­wigs­burg, Ger­ma­ny, in addi­ti­on to the Möd­ling site. Sin­ce then, the ser­vices for AICHELIN Group ther­mo­pro­ces­sing plants in Euro­pe have been coor­di­na­ted from the­re. In order to meet the con­stant­ly gro­wing requi­re­ments and to enab­le plan­ning across loca­ti­ons, a ser­vice manage­ment sys­tem was purcha­sed ten years ago.

Howe­ver, the soft­ware solu­ti­on selec­ted at the time did not achie­ve the desi­red impro­ve­ment in cus­to­mer ser­vice pro­ces­ses. Ser­vice Mana­ger Frank Tumin­ski, who has been working in Lud­wigs­burg sin­ce 2009, remem­bers: “We were not satis­fied with it becau­se the sche­du­ling was very com­plex to ope­ra­te and it did­n’t real­ly work well on the cus­to­mer manage­ment side eit­her. Even after three years, adjus­t­ments were still necessary”.

And while the data at the ser­vice con­trol cent­re in Ger­ma­ny was ent­e­red into the ser­vice modu­le men­tio­ned abo­ve, the plan­ning at the col­leagues of the other sis­ter com­pa­nies was only par­ti­al­ly car­ri­ed out using this modu­le. Infor­ma­ti­on was mer­ged from dif­fe­rent sys­tems and pas­sed on via tele­pho­ne and e‑mail. Docu­ments were only sent by mail, an error data­ba­se did not exist.

Frank Tuminski - Serviceleiter

A dif­fi­cult situa­ti­on. A lot of money, time and ner­ves were inves­ted when the soft­ware was intro­du­ced. Des­pi­te the unsa­tis­fac­to­ry per­for­mance, the staff, who had just got used to the exis­ting sys­tem, was not par­ti­cu­lar­ly inte­res­ted in star­ting the intro­duc­tion and lear­ning pro­ces­ses all over again with a new soft­ware solu­ti­on. Espe­cial­ly sin­ce the­re was no gua­ran­tee that such a next solu­ti­on would deli­ver what its pro­vi­ders were promising.

Com­for­ta­ble and intui­ti­ve Resour­ce Planning

This requi­res real per­sua­si­on, and this can best be done by someo­ne who is con­vin­ced of an alter­na­ti­ve solu­ti­on hims­elf, becau­se he has alrea­dy had good expe­ri­ence with it. Frank Tumin­ski has been fami­li­ar with the Ser­vice Manage­ment Sys­tem of Inno­soft GmbH sin­ce 1997 from a pre­vious employ­er and has also intro­du­ced the soft­ware at the com­pa­ny whe­re he worked befo­re ASG. Tog­e­ther with a col­league who had also got to know and appre­cia­te the soft­ware ear­lier, he the­re­fo­re pro­po­sed Innosoft’s ser­vice solu­ti­ons for a new start in 2013. “I knew that the sche­du­ling soft­ware was very com­for­ta­ble and intui­ti­ve to use and also easy to learn.”

A direct com­pa­ri­son also hel­ped in this decisi­on. While a col­league pro­ces­sed a task list with ten ser­vice assign­ments to be plan­ned with the old sys­tem, Mr. Tumin­ski ent­e­red the data with a test licence from Inno­soft. “When I finis­hed my plan­ning, the col­league was just star­ting the third plan­ning. After one hour he was rea­dy.” Last doubts could be clea­red up with a visit to Mos­ca GmbH, whe­re the Inno­soft sys­tem was pre­sen­ted to some AICHELIN employees in pro­duc­ti­ve operation.

Uni­form data exchan­ge with ERP system

In the mean­ti­me, the sys­tem has been imple­men­ted at all the AICHELIN loca­ti­ons with ser­vice are­as. In addi­ti­on to the cen­tral coor­di­na­ti­on cent­re in Lud­wigs­burg, the­se are main­ly the busi­ness units in Möd­ling (Aus­tria), whe­re the indus­tri­al fur­naces are plan­ned and manu­fac­tu­red, and EMA Indu­tec GmbH in Meckes­heim, the group’s spe­cia­list for induc­ti­ve hea­ting and har­de­ning sys­tems. Uni­form data exchan­ge with the pro­AL­PHA ERP sys­tem used throughout the com­pa­ny is ensu­red via a stan­dard interface.

In the end, the goal of cross-loca­ti­on ser­vice plan­ning was achie­ved. Mr. Frank Tumin­ski and his col­leagues in Lud­wigs­burg coor­di­na­te 80 ser­vice tech­ni­ci­ans, 25 of whom are our own fit­ters, in the ser­vice plan­ning depart­ment. In addi­ti­on, howe­ver, when the­re is a per­son­nel bot­t­len­eck, they can also call on 15 other tech­ni­ci­ans from Möd­ling. “Our ser­vice tech­ni­ci­ans are deploy­ed world­wi­de, but 80 per­cent of the work takes place in Euro­pe,” exp­lains Mr. Tuminski.

In Lud­wigs­burg, they also take advan­ta­ge of the oppor­tu­ni­ty to plan ser­vice calls in a rou­te-opti­mi­zed man­ner, becau­se most of the rou­tes are cove­r­ed by car any­way and the tech­ni­ci­ans have their first-class tools – from mea­su­ring instru­ments to bur­ner set­ting devices – which they need for the com­plex indus­tri­al fur­nace sys­tems, gas bur­ner sys­tems and induc­tion hea­ting sys­tems always with them any­way. As far as spa­re parts are con­cer­ned, AICHELIN “is so pro­fes­sio­nal­ly orga­nis­ed that we can deli­ver any part in stock to the cus­to­mer wit­hin 24 hours wit­hin Europe.”

Con­fir­ma­ti­on of ser­vice reports rea­dy for invoicing

Spa­re parts sales and cen­tral wareh­ouse are also loca­ted in Lud­wigs­burg, as is the con­ver­si­on and moder­ni­sa­ti­on depart­ment with its own desi­gners and auto­ma­ti­on engi­neers. The company’s own tech­ni­ci­ans are also equip­ped on their note­books with Innosoft’s Mobi­le Field Ser­vice and signa­tu­re pads, so that they can report back their rece­i­pts to the head office rea­dy for bil­ling direct­ly after the end of the ser­vice assignment.

Screenshot der Zeiteneingabe eines Technikers
Per­for­mance record with tra­vel expen­se report

The second attempt to imple­ment a ser­vice manage­ment sys­tem has thus pro­ved suc­cess­ful, as Tumin­ski con­firms: “We now have a much clea­rer and fas­ter resour­ce plan­ning and thanks to the con­nec­ted docu­ment manage­ment sys­tem not­hing is lost, orders are stored direct­ly with the assign­ments. All docu­ments are avail­ab­le at hand, every col­league can view all rele­vant infor­ma­ti­on, which is par­ti­cu­lar­ly bene­fi­cial in the inter­ac­tion bet­ween the modu­les Resour­ce Plan­ning and Mobi­le Field Ser­vice. The­se are just a few of the fea­tures that make our lives so much easier.”

About AICHELIN Ser­vice GmbH

The AICHELIN Ser­vice GmbH in Lud­wigs­burg is, in addi­ti­on to the ser­vice loca­ti­on in Möd­ling (Aus­tria), the head­quar­ters for all ser­vices on ther­mo pro­ces­sing plants of the AICHELIN Group, as well as on plants of other com­pa­nies. The Lud­wigs­burg site also houses the cen­tral spa­re parts wareh­ouse with ship­ping logistics and the con­trol cent­re for the sche­du­ling of ser­vice tech­ni­ci­ans. With around 70 engi­neers, tech­ni­ci­ans and logistics spe­cia­lists in the office and in the field, AICHELIN Ser­vice pro­vi­des its cus­to­mers with ser­vices such as repair, pre­ven­ti­ve main­ten­an­ce (espe­cial­ly annu­al main­ten­an­ce), con­ver­si­on and moder­ni­sa­ti­on, inspec­tions and tests, spa­re parts ser­vice, but also with trai­ning cour­ses, semi­nars and indi­vi­du­al trai­ning, as well as consulting.

About the AICHELIN Group

AICHELIN Group – with its manu­fac­tu­ring com­pa­nies AFC-Hol­croft, AICHELIN, EMA Indu­tec, SAFED, BOSIO and Nox­mat – Is a lea­ding sup­plier of high qua­li­ty equip­ment and sys­tems for heat tre­at­ment solu­ti­ons such as indus­tri­al fur­naces, induc­tion har­de­ning plants and indus­tri­al gas bur­ner sys­tems. The ser­vice and sup­port sec­tor is com­ple­ted by the com­pa­nies AICHELIN Ser­vice, Atmo­s­phe­re Heat Trea­ting and Aus­tem­per. The company’s roots go back to 1868.

With a tur­no­ver of 200 mil­li­on euros and 1,100 employees, it is now one of the top 3 com­pa­nies for heat tre­at­ment world­wi­de. Bern­dorf AG is the owner of the AICHELIN Group. With its head­quar­ters in Möd­ling near Vien­na, the AICHELIN Group has a strong pre­sence in Euro­pe with sub­si­dia­ries in Fran­ce, Ger­ma­ny, Slo­ve­nia and Switz­er­land. Its glo­bal pre­sence inclu­des sub­si­dia­ries and bran­ches in Chi­na, India, Rus­sia and the USA, as well as a sales net­work in 22 countries.