Lean Service 4.0

Finally, but also supportive in production, is Lean Service 4.0. On the basis of the networked production or real-time machine data of the personnel who are responsible for the maintenance, it is possible to point out the necessary maintenance measures in a targeted manner. In this instance, the approaches of predictive maintenance and smart service play a vital role here. In this context, the integrated, continuous networking of machines or products with the After Sales Service and service technicians is a mandatory requirement. Support can be provided to service technicians in their implementation of the services through the use of wearables such as smart glasses or through the use of handheld devices such as smartphones or tablets. In addition, new service offers or operator models can also be offered after the sale of a product. Altogether, an unimagined customer loyalty and customer care will be made possible in the future.

The significance of After Sales Service

Although “Lean Service 4.0” area is the final pillar in the job execution process, the After Sales Service requirements must nevertheless be taken into account during product development in order to ensure efficient service after purchase of the product. After Sales Service includes the three sub-areas, Parts Service, Customer Service and Accessories. In the area of the Parts Service, for example, aspects of spare parts management, after series supply strategies and scenarios or pricing are analyzed. The customer service department handles the services offered to the customer after the sale of the product. Thus, maintenance, repair, inspection, installation and commissioning, training or financial services are to be mentioned here. The accessories business handles the enhancement of performance or individualization of the products sold. The high economic importance of the After Sales Service can be derived from these three sub-areas. As a result, high margins can be generated through the After Sales Service since it serves as a differentiation factor and is the driver for the profits of manufacturing companies. While the After Sales Service only accounts for 20 percent of the revenue in manufacturing companies, it can nevertheless generate up to 80 percent of the company profits. In addition, the After Sales Service distinguishes itself with the fact that the services within the framework of the After Sales Service continue to be used by customers even in times of economic weakness.

Development toward Lean Service 4.0

Lean Service 4.0 is the definition of digitally networked, internally coordinated and waste-free service processes to increase customer satisfaction and value creation in the three sub-areas of the After Sales Service.

The focal topics include:

  • Networked spare part logistics
  • Smart customer service
  • Accessories on demand
  • Streamlined, digital processes

Topics such as demand forecasts on the basis of networked machine data and real-time tracking are considered in the area of networked spare parts logistics. Likewise, a decentralized supply and on demand production of spare parts through Industry 4.0 key technology, 3D printing, is possible – and connected with this is the elimination of warehouse charges for three-dimensional printable spare parts. Smart customer service aims at enabling employees or customers to solve problems on their own or to be guided through the use of wearables or handheld devices for problem solving. In addition, training can be made available to the customer with technologies such as with augmented or virtual reality prior to the start-up of a machine or plant. On demand accessories support the increasing individualization of products, for example, through the use of 3D printing. Likewise, topics such as software as a service are becoming increasingly relevant in the individualization of machines and products. In general and as in all areas of a company, streamlined and digital processes must be implemented in After Sales Service. This requires a continual, integrated process orientation across the three sub-areas of the After Sales Service. On this basis, a continuous digitization and real-time tracking of machines, products and service technicians can occur.

The benefits of Lean Service 4.0

 Lean Service 4.0 also has a high relevance for industrial practice. As such, needs-based spare parts management and accessory production can be achieved on the basis of the “continuous improvement” design principle (adaptation and optimization of CAD data). In addition, warehousing costs can be saved through 3D printing and the implementation of a decentralized spare parts supply without a supply chain. A quantified benefit, for example, is the reduction of material costs of up to 28 percent in the manufacture of spare parts.

Also in service delivery, process times can be shortened and quality improvements in maintenance and inspection are to be achieved by intuitive employee guidance (“Visual Management” design principle). Time savings of up to 34 percent and error reductions or quality increases of up to 17 percent can be quantified for this practice. Furthermore, internal maintenance can be improved with the training and guidance of a smart customer service staff through augmented reality, virtual reality, handhelds or wearables. This supports the design principle of “waste avoidance” that in practice, leads to downtime reductions of 10 to 50 percent.