I remember having discussions in the last quarter of 2011 with colleagues from around the globe, customers and business partners about what 2012 might hold for us. The unanimous answer was no-one had a clue! Everyone had a very cautious view on budgets, markets and future plans and felt it was going to be much like 2011.
For us at Biesse UK it has been an incredibly busy year, in terms of installing numerous big projects won last year, whilst not compromising our core business of SME machine supply and support. Both sectors have been buoyant in 2012 which is encouraging amongst all the bad news in the press.
"I’m not saying that we have it 100% right yet, but we are relentless in our pursuit of 100% customer satisfaction and not afraid to implement changes – in fact we actively encourage it"
Steve Bulmer, managing director
We have several thousand machines in the field, with the number increasing each year and we are continuously looking at our operation with a critical eye and making, where possible, changes to enhance our services and support, to both existing and new customers.
In 2012 this has included among other things: additional skilled technicians being added to the team; half a million additional spare parts on the shelf in Daventry – bringing our inventory to over £2.5m; a new service management team to drive our plans on market support; our total care programme giving five years’ protection and service standard with every new machine.
I’m not saying that we have it 100% right yet, but we are relentless in our pursuit of 100% customer satisfaction and not afraid to implement changes – in fact we actively encourage it.
The machinery supply business is changing, but in my opinion not quickly enough. The focal point for many years has concentrated on the cost of purchase. I think this is historic because decades ago machinery was very basic and so you bought it, then only fixed it when it broke. Technology and user requirements have meant that all machinery now has higher levels of technology and complexity, so it is critical to have regular maintenance to keep your asset earning you money. We focus more on cost of ownership, which is what I would want if I was using machinery.
Our total care programme gives peace of mind for five years. It allows you to get on with your business, confident that your cash flow is protected, your machines will be regularly serviced, and any breakdowns are quickly resolved by skilled staff. Your monthly outgoings are stable, your budget is controlled, and you don’t have to keep a fund of several thousand tucked away for that rainy day when the machine crashes!
We have worked for a couple of years to put the total care offering together. It is not an off-the-shelf insurance package that has been available for many years. It is really about giving the customer what he wants and more importantly what he needs to keep ahead of the game in this extremely competitive market.
The £2.5m spares on our shelves, is not only about next day delivery, it’s also about having the opportunity to be prepared to solve the issue with only one visit. It’s not a good situation to have to wait 24 hours for a part then find that it does not solve the problem.
Our skilled help desk allows us to indentify the problem and understand what spares could be needed to resolve the issue. Having UK stock allows our engineers to carry all these parts and simply return to stock those not used during the intervention, vastly increasing a one visit fix rate. This is not so easy if your only option is to ship parts across Europe. Incidentally we ship same day from our UK stock more than 80% of every single part ordered spanning machines sold more than 20 years ago to the current day – more than 3000 machines! We monitor this every week.
Our help desk has more than 58 years’ experience between them, so 85% of issues are resolved with a phone call, usually free of charge, inside and outside of warranty. This is monitored each week.
This help desk support is now extended to 24 hours a day upon application for customers wishing to have this service – ask us for details.
We have implemented a training school for new customers so that when their new equipment arrives they are ready to run and existing customers wishing to have additional or refresher training can join these programmes, or have a tailored course for very specific needs. This all helps to get the very best from your investment.
We are concentrating on adding value whilst reducing unnecessary costs and lost time to the customer. When you purchase a machine from us, you now get as standard: five years’ warranty, five years’ servicing, pre-installation site inspection, delivery, offloading and positioning – by contracted specialist machine movers, commissioning and training.
Our building is paid for, we have no overdraft costs, and we are not making large profits. After all we are a subsidiary of a large group and our primary goal is that we want to give the best possible services at very competitive prices and continue to improve our market share while adapting to customers’ needs.
Where competitors are reducing UK spares holdings, trying to dismiss our service offerings as gimmicks, I say the proof is in the results and the levels of repeat business we enjoy – the market decides this. Help us to shape your future, tell us what else you want and I promise we will meet your requests where possible. Pick up the phone and arrange to come and meet the team, see the facilities we have in Daventry, tell us what you else you need in a partner...we are all ears.