The Web is the future – also for ESAB service

The Web is the future – also for ESAB service

ESAB-Schweißprodukte bieten den Technikern auch für schwierige Anforderungen die passende Lösung

The glo­bal­ly ope­ra­ting com­pa­ny ESAB can look back on a suc­cess sto­ry span­ning more than 100 years and, with its inno­va­ti­ve solu­ti­ons, has beco­me the world mar­ket lea­der in the pro­duc­tion of wel­ding con­sum­a­bles and equip­ment for wel­ding and cut­ting pro­ces­ses. For more than 15 years, the com­pa­ny has reli­ed on Inno­soft GmbH soft­ware solu­ti­ons for its cus­to­mer ser­vice. More and more the trend goes to the web.

As recom­men­ded by the Dort­mund soft­ware house in most cases, ESAB also built up the IT envi­ron­ment for con­trol­ling the ser­vice pro­ces­ses step by step, the modu­lar struc­tu­re of the Inno­soft Ser­vice Manage­ment Sys­tem favors this approach. The cen­tral pro­gram Resour­ce Plan­ning — at that time still in the clas­sic desk­top ver­si­on — was intro­du­ced in 2003 at ESAB Wel­ding & Cut­ting GmbH in Kar­ben, Hes­sen. Five years later, the sys­tem was expan­ded with the Cus­to­mer Manage­ment and Sta­tis­tics modu­le, fol­lo­wed by Docu­ment Manage­ment in 2011.

In the fol­lowing years, addi­tio­nal exten­si­ons were gra­du­al­ly imple­men­ted, inclu­ding the Report Gene­ra­tor, with which own report forms can be easi­ly crea­ted, adap­ted or exten­ded, as well as the rou­te opti­miz­a­ti­on tool GeoMap and Main­ten­an­ce Manage­ment in 2013. In 2015, when the nume­rous aut­ho­ri­zed dea­lers were con­nec­ted to the Ser­vice Manage­ment Sys­tem via the Cus­to­mer Ticket Sys­tem and the company’s inter­nal ser­vice tech­ni­ci­ans, who car­ry out instal­la­ti­ons, repairs or main­ten­an­ce work on site at the cus­to­mers, with the Mobi­le Field Ser­vice, the cir­cle was com­ple­te. From the plan­ning of acti­vi­ties at the customer’s pre­mi­ses to the trans­fer of reports to the bil­ling depart­ment, the ser­vice pro­ces­ses at ESAB could now be seam­less­ly cove­r­ed with Innosoft.

Maschine schneidet Metall
The Telerex panel machi­ne with up to 33 meters track width is used in all lea­ding shipyards

The Inter­net makes trans­at­lan­tic and intra-Euro­pean com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on easier

And this did not only app­ly to ESAB Wel­ding & Cut­ting GmbH at the Kar­ben or Lan­gen­feld loca­ti­ons; in 2015, the inter­na­tio­nal roll­out of the ser­vice soft­ware solu­ti­ons was also dri­ven for­ward. “Sin­ce 2015, we have been working with Inno­soft throughout Euro­pe and to some extent alrea­dy in the USA,” reports Chris­toph Krebs, who works at ESAB in Kar­ben as Con­trol­ler Field Ser­vice and Cus­to­mer Sup­port and “inci­dent­al­ly” took over the admi­nis­tra­ti­on for the Inno­soft Ser­vice Manage­ment System.

The advan­ta­ges of trans­at­lan­tic and intra-Euro­pean net­wor­king are obvious. While many mul­ti­na­tio­nal com­pa­nies expe­ri­ence pro­blems with cross-bor­der data exchan­ge wit­hin the com­pa­ny becau­se each coun­try uses dif­fe­rent IT sup­port, ESAB’s expe­ri­ence and eva­lua­tions can be exch­an­ged and com­pa­red across con­ti­nents. “Yes, that is qui­te an advan­ta­ge,” con­firms Chris­toph Krebs. “Due to the iden­ti­cal pro­ces­ses, not only can reports be gene­ra­ted much more easi­ly, but also all machi­ne data, docu­ments and tickets can be acces­sed and pro­ces­sed worldwide.”

For cross-bor­der coope­ra­ti­on, it is obvious to use the Inter­net as a con­nec­ting ele­ment. In 2016, the con­ver­si­on of the ‘big’ Win­dows instal­la­ti­ons of the Resour­ce Plan­ning and other modu­les of the Inno­soft Ser­vice Manage­ment Sys­tem to the slim­mer web ver­si­on was fur­ther advan­ced. This allows simp­ler and com­pa­ra­tively fas­ter access via a con­ven­tio­nal brow­ser without having to install pro­gram soft­ware on the user’s devices. “In the mean­ti­me, ESAB’s ser­vice depart­ments almost exclu­si­ve­ly work on the Web,” says Mr. Krebs. Only in the design and pro­duc­tion depart­ments the desk­top ver­si­on of Resour­ce Plan­ning with its wide ran­ge of func­tions is still used, and the crea­ti­on and admi­nis­tra­ti­on of main­ten­an­ce con­tracts with the Main­ten­an­ce Manage­ment and the admi­nis­tra­ti­on of set­tings with the Admin Tool are also still car­ri­ed out offline.

Stan­dar­di­zed ser­vice pro­cess in 22 countries

In total, a good 250 users in 22 coun­tries in Euro­pe and the USA work with Inno­soft solu­ti­ons at ESAB. “The ser­vice pro­cess has been stan­dar­di­zed and is now the same at all loca­ti­ons, whe­re­as pre­vious­ly each coun­try had its own pro­cess and dif­fe­rent forms,” says Chris­toph Krebs. In Euro­pe, more than 450 aut­ho­ri­zed dea­lers of ESAB pro­ducts are also con­nec­ted to the Cus­to­mer Ticket Sys­tem, which was also intro­du­ced in 2015. They can use the sys­tem as a machi­ne and address data­ba­se and add a machi­ne to their ticket by cli­cking on the cor­re­spon­ding but­ton. “Almost the ent­i­re war­ran­ty pro­cess from the dealer’s app­li­ca­ti­on is then hand­led in Inno­soft,” exp­lains Mr. Krebs.

The pro­ce­du­re is as fol­lows: “The request, i.e. the ticket, is auto­ma­ti­cal­ly sent to the respon­si­ble hel­pdesk after the mer­chant has ent­e­red the infor­ma­ti­on. The lat­ter can then appro­ve it in advan­ce, for examp­le to release the parts nee­ded for the repair. The dea­ler can then repair the sys­tem and re-sub­mit the requi­red working hours, i.e. the cos­ts incur­red, in the ticket, and in the end it must be final­ly appro­ved by us via the hel­pdesk. All this infor­ma­ti­on is then sent to our QM sys­tem, and the dea­ler also issu­es the invoice after our appro­val”. But this invoice will be pro­ces­sed in ano­t­her sys­tem, the amount in the end will only be com­pa­red with the amount appro­ved in Inno­soft. For the who­le pro­cess hand­led in Inno­soft the cur­rent sta­tus is tra­cked at any time.

Con­ve­ni­ent working due to high flexibility

Among the advan­ta­ges of the Web, Chris­toph Krebs also counts the ” incre­a­sed user-friend­li­ness” and the fair­ly uncom­pli­ca­ted con­fi­gu­ra­ti­on opti­ons of the solu­ti­on. With a litt­le effort, the views can be tailo­red to the needs of the user and redu­ced to what is essen­ti­al for him. Chris­toph Krebs has adap­ted reports or views hims­elf to the cur­rent requi­re­ments of ESAB, but even for users who are less well ver­sed in IT issu­es, the fle­xi­bi­li­ty of the solu­ti­ons means that the Inno­soft pro­ject mana­gers are hap­py to assist customers.

Mr. Krebs also points out that the addi­tio­nal data that was pre­vious­ly avail­ab­le sepa­r­ate­ly is now always visi­ble at a glance, and he par­ti­cu­lar­ly empha­si­zes the eli­mi­na­ti­on of many manu­al ent­ries: “Whe­re­as befo­re, every tech­ni­ci­an had to fill in various forms by hand, for examp­le ser­vice reports, time reports or tra­vel reports, and all times were then che­cked manu­al­ly in the back office and trans­fer­red to the Resour­ce Plan­ning for fur­ther tre­at­ment, today an ESAB tech­ni­ci­an only has to enter each time into the sys­tem once, and the infor­ma­ti­on is then auto­ma­ti­cal­ly used for all reports and for the cus­to­mer ser­vice accoun­ting. The times alrea­dy che­cked by the sys­tem and released by the back office flow direct­ly into the time record­ing sys­tem for payment.

Cock­pit view in the Web Cus­to­mer Manage­ment of Innosoft

Quo­ta­ti­ons and main­ten­an­ce con­tracts at the push of a button

In addi­ti­on to the times, other data gene­ra­ted by the ser­vice tech­ni­ci­ans via the Mobi­le Field Ser­vice, such as the acti­vi­ties per­for­med or the mate­ri­als con­su­med, are immedia­te­ly avail­ab­le to all dis­patchers in the Resour­ce Plan­ning. Fur­ther­mo­re, it is no lon­ger necessa­ry to wri­te an e‑mail to the tech­ni­ci­an for each assign­ment. Moreo­ver, the sche­du­ling func­tion in the Web SMS enab­les a quo­ta­ti­on to be gene­ra­ted with a simp­le mou­se click direct­ly from an assignment.

The main­ten­an­ce mode also allows addi­tio­nal machi­nes to be quick­ly and con­ve­ni­en­t­ly inte­gra­ted into exis­ting main­ten­an­ce agree­ments at the push of a but­ton and even to gene­ra­te a com­ple­te­ly new main­ten­an­ce con­tract, “inclu­ding the actu­al con­tract, the machi­ne check­list and the cus­to­mer let­ter direct­ly from Inno­soft,” as Mr. Krebs con­ti­nues. “Inno­soft cal­cu­la­tes the total pri­ce for the cus­to­mer on the basis of a few ent­ries such as machi­ne num­ber, cus­to­mer num­ber and a few opti­ons such as whe­ther the main­ten­an­ce should be car­ri­ed out with or without coo­ling water chan­ge and then pro­vi­des the cor­re­spon­ding PDFs. And the check­list is immedia­te­ly gene­ra­ted to suit the respec­ti­ve machi­ne con­fi­gu­ra­ti­on. Sta­tis­ti­cal eva­lua­tions such as KPI reports, which pre­vious­ly had to be gene­ra­ted manu­al­ly in a cum­ber­so­me man­ner, can now be crea­ted with three simp­le clicks.

ESAB is cur­r­ent­ly working on inte­gra­ting the returns pro­cess, inclu­ding e‑mail hand­ling, into Inno­soft, and plans to trans­fer the Main­ten­an­ce Manage­ment, cur­r­ent­ly still used as a clas­sic modu­le, to the web in the near future. It is also advan­ta­ge­ous to use the web as a medi­um for licence acqui­si­ti­on, becau­se thanks to the con­cur­rent-user princip­le, whe­re only one licence is blo­cked for each user cur­r­ent­ly log­ged in, employees working in dif­fe­rent time zones can use the same licence. And sin­ce no instal­la­ti­on on the end device is necessa­ry, vir­tual­ly unli­mi­ted users can be set up for the Web modu­les. The­re­fo­re, it is often inte­res­ting for cus­to­mers who want to con­ti­nue using their exis­ting licen­ces of the desk­top modu­les to purcha­se some addi­tio­nal licen­ces for the Web in order to incre­a­se per­son­nel flexibility.

Wel­ding and cut­ting com­pe­tence under one roof: Main ent­ran­ce of ESAB head­quar­ters in Karben

About ESAB

The ori­gins of ESAB Wel­ding & Cut­ting GmbH, which has its Ger­man head­quar­ters in Kar­ben, Hes­sen, date back to the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tu­ry, when engi­neer and inven­tor Oscar Kjell­berg deve­lo­ped the world’s first coated wel­ding elec­tro­de and foun­ded “Elek­tris­ka Svets­nings Aktie­bo­la­get” (ESAB) in Swe­den. Thanks to his inno­va­ti­ve solu­ti­ons, the com­pa­ny has deve­lo­ped over the years into a world lea­der in wel­ding pro­ducts and com­plex cut­ting sys­tems. The Kar­ben site spe­cia­li­zes in cut­ting tech­no­lo­gy and stan­dard wel­ding machi­nes, while the branch office in Lan­gen­feld in the Rhi­ne­land is respon­si­ble for wel­ding auto­ma­ti­on at ESAB Wel­ding & Cut­ting GmbH.

Sin­ce 2012 ESAB Group, Inc. has been a whol­ly owned sub­si­dia­ry of Colfax Cor­po­ra­ti­on, one of the world’s lea­ding diver­si­fied indus­tri­al manu­fac­tu­ring com­pa­nies. ESAB is acti­ve in almost every coun­try in the world and has more than 8,700 employees and pro­duc­tion faci­li­ties on four con­ti­nents. The wide ran­ge of pro­ducts and solu­ti­ons for almost all wel­ding and cut­ting pro­ces­ses and app­li­ca­ti­ons is divi­ded into the key are­as of manu­al wel­ding and cut­ting equip­ment, wel­ding con­sum­a­bles, auto­ma­tic wel­ding machi­nes and mecha­ni­zed cut­ting sys­tems. The glo­bal indus­tries sup­plied by ESAB inclu­de the auto­mo­ti­ve indus­try, pro­cess indus­try, gene­ral manu­fac­tu­ring and con­struc­tion, trans­port and mobi­le machine­ry, ship­buil­ding and off­shore, tube rol­ling mills and power generation.

ESAB Wel­ding & Cut­ting GmbH

Robert-Bosch-Stra­ße 20
D‑61184 Karben

Ph.: +49 6039 40–0
Fax: +49 6039 40–301


Eco­no­mic pro­duc­tion in the high-end sec­tor: Oxy­fu­el cut­ting with up to twel­ve tor­ches simultaneously