Intralogistics is all about complex, long-term relationships with multiple personal contacts at every stage, from warehouse layout design to implementation to lifetime service. To achieve operational efficiency, maximum availability and rapid response are essential. Service providers in all industries consider their top priority to be making customers' everyday lives easier. The standard service package for intralogistics includes 24/7 technical support, call out support, preventive maintenance, reactive support and a long list of other services. With the introduction of Industry 4.0 and also remote tools, such as SSI Augmented Support, communication became clearer and respond times became shorter.
For us at SSI SCHAEFER, Customer Service & Support (CSS) means building long-term partnerships that focus on the customer. For this reason, SSI SCHAEFER has invested heavily in CSS growth in recent years, and its further development worldwide. Currently, we have more than 1,750 service specialists in more than 70 countries who perform approximately 60,000 support activities annually. SSI SCHAEFER understands the importance of service and support requests and commits to approach each based on the customer’s individual needs.
For the material handling industry, there are 3 main areas and touchpoints where SSI SCHAEFER CSS can support the customer.
Both speed and quality matter.
When technical issues cause a business interruption, it affects every aspect of the business and can have serious consequences. Stopping the production line for only one minute can result in hours of delays to the next steps within the process design, and possibly days of delay in delivery to the end customer. For the customer, what counts most in these situations is the time taken to recover full-capacity operations. We at SSI SCHAEFER specifically focus on being available around the clock, maintaining an extensive local presence and training our professionals to be the experts for the client's business needs. Therefore, we have local service and support employees who speak the local language and are eager to help the customers solve any challenges, at any time.
It is always cheaper to detect a potential weak spot before it interrupts the system.
What is preventive maintenance? Here's a simple example: Let's say you have a car. You can take it to the mechanic several times a year according to the manufacturer's specifications. The car is checked, any problems are fixed, and some possible future problems are identified. You pay for this service and get back on the road. Now it is relatively unlikely that your car will break down anytime soon.
Another approach would be to continue until the car breaks down and you are forced to take it to the mechanic immediately. This often happens at the wrong time and in the wrong place and incurs high costs. Your car would also be unusable for a few days or longer.
The first scenario was preventive maintenance. The customer arrives in time so that the problem doesn't occur in the first place and has the condition of the vehicle checked before more serious steps are required. Looking at the big picture here, services conducted today help avoid stress, disruption and costs in the future. This is true in any industry, as technology is included in almost everything these days. Expensive high-end equipment, complex IT, cutting-edge technologies - these are just some of the aspects that the intralogistics industry deals with on a daily basis. Therefore, for intralogistics, preventive maintenance is vital.
Upgrading the existing system instead of buying a new one.
Global Spare Parts Service
Thanks to a well-thought-out layout and sophisticated sequencing, the system operates as a very complex organism consisting of many interconnected parts. At SSI SCHAEFER, we ensure that we have spare parts in stock to support the long-term operation of our customers' equipment and solutions.
After a customer’s solution has been serving their business for a long time, the time will come when it is no longer sufficient. Whether the reason is growing demand in the industry, rapid technology change in the market, or a required change in the solution, the CSS team is the right contact.
An international dairy company recently returned to SSI SCHAEFER to order an extension to their existing system which was built in the millennium. The original concept of the system already considered possible future expansion, which became necessary due to constantly growing demands and the increase in production. The goal was to increase storage capacity and operational efficiency, integrate the expansion with the systems already in operation while continuously running the warehouse at full capacity. In this way, processes and storage space were optimized while costs were saved.
At SSI SCHAEFER, we know how important it is for companies to have their equipment, components and software up to date. Therefore, our team not only checks and updates the systems we install, but also supports customers to upgrade their purchased equipment. Our customized solutions help extend the lifetime of the system.
E-commerce is growing rapidly, allowing customers to explore unlimited marketplaces with a huge range of products. This is creating a completely new environment for companies in nearly all industries. With customers’ expectations being higher than ever, companies are guided towards increasing the agility of all their operations. This is only possible if the customer is aware of basic functions such as logistics and supply chain. With good customer service, a customer can focus on the big picture and develop and pursue their business goals while ensuring that the system is equipped to meet those goals.
About the author:
Elie Zita completed his technical education at the "Bac Technique Mathematique" in Lebanon. In August 1986, he started his professional career at SSI Schäfer in Graz, at that time still known under the company name P.E.E.M Conveying Systems. When SSI Schäfer took over the company in 2001, Elie Zita also assumed responsibility for the Customer Service & Support (CSS) department and successfully built up this area. Today, Elie Zita is responsible for more than 1,750 SSI SCHAEFER service experts worldwide in more than 70 countries, who perform around 60,000 support activities annually, ranging from Preventive Services to Reactive Service and Life Cycle Management.