The first day of Copperberg’s Aftermarket Europe was an eye-opening experience for me. Not only I experienced the core of what we do as a team but also I got to meet the people whom I’ve been writing for in person. Hearing their thoughts, challenges and plans for the future was an invaluable opportunity for me to take our content to the next level. However, what struck me the most was the friendly environment and how everyone was so open to sharing their knowledge with others. I truly believe this is what makes our events unique and as you can guess, I was looking forward to the second day.

Author Muge Hizal Dogaroglu | Copperberg

Reading time: 5 minutes

The first day of Copperberg’s Aftermarket Europe was an eye-opening experience for me. Not only I experienced the core of what we do as a team but also I got to meet the people whom I’ve been writing for in person. Hearing their thoughts, challenges and plans for the future was an invaluable opportunity for me to take our content to the next level. However, what struck me the most was the friendly environment and how everyone was so open to sharing their knowledge with others. I truly believe this is what makes our events unique and as you can guess, I was looking forward to the second day.

As I arrived at the venue in the morning, I could already see familiar faces and it seemed to resonate with our participants as well. After a night of go-karting, beer tasting and just socializing during and after dinner proved to initiate new friendships and contacts. Following a few ‘experiments’ with our camera (I never been particularly good with digital or manual cameras) and having my morning coffee, I started preparations for my interviews of the day.

copperberg team

My attempt at taking a team photo with an actual camera.

A new day full of interviews and sessions

Since our participants and speakers have experienced a day at Aftermarket, I was curious to learn their impressions so far. As some of my interviewees were already familiar with our events, I wanted to know what made them come back. For those who were first-timers, what was the initial reason?

To my surprise, their answers were more or less the same: content and networking. Hearing this made me feel really happy because it shows that we are focusing our efforts in the right places. I witnessed first-hand how much effort my colleagues put into creating the agenda and ensuring that there is plenty of opportunities. Therefore it makes me really happy when I hear things like this:

‘In my team, we participate in a number of events each year. We agree on where to go and then share notes. Normally, I don’t attend the same event each year but I decided to attend Aftermarket because of networking and the content. The fact that it focused on digital made it for me.” – Thomas Andersen, Vice President, Service Development, Assa Abloy.

A real business case on the one-stop-shop experience

Following my interviews, I rushed to attend the session of the day; Kai Uwe Mietzner’s presentation about how Siemens Mobility achieved the seamless digital chain in material supply.

I really wanted to listen to Kai present his business case because the one-stop-shop experience or providing an ‘Amazon-like’ customer experience was something that I heard and read everywhere regarding the transformation the manufacturing industry going through. And for the first time, I had the opportunity to listen to a real case study that shows how it’s done.

His presentation really exceeded my expectations in the sense that how easy they made the purchasing process for their customers. Through their online shop, customers can not only get what they need, regardless of the brand, but they can also identify the parts they need by taking a simple photo. I believe this is a great example of how to materialize the concept of customer experience in real life.

I will write a dedicated article on Siemens Mobility’s ‘one-stop-shop’ experience as my conversations with our community members revealed how important it is to have a solid business case to move things forward in their own organizations. So, make sure to read it once it’s published!

Sharing is caring: participants listening and helping each other at the Roundtable sessions

After having a light lunch, it was time for the round table sessions. There were nine tables in total in which participants had the opportunity to choose the ones they wanted to sit in beforehand. I wasn’t as organized as our participants, so I improvised and just sat on those which had an empty place for me.

The first table that I sat on was all about preparing spare parts management and planning for the future. Therefore, aftermarket professionals from different companies and industries talked mostly about their struggles and potential solutions in deciding what is the right technology, business model and practices can be for their own business. One of the things I found quite interesting was the suggestion of Anne-Marie Lamers, the Global Planning Operations Manager at IBM, to use blockchain as a solution of creating more transparency in spare parts logistics and management.

The second table was hosted by Kris Oldland, Editor-in-Chief at Field Service News. Here, the conversations focused on the findings of Field Service News which delved upon the crucial KPIs service leaders are tracking and how these metrics are evolving in a world of servitization and industry 4.0. It was definitely worth hearing how different companies and industries had different measures when it comes to KPIs and how almost all of them were rethinking their KPIs as they are updating their service offerings and business processes.

Overall, I found the round tables to be quite useful to understand how huge concepts such as servitization and digitalization influence our community in very tangible ways. I also realized that having peers in a close setting allowed our participants to open up more about their unique position and form closer conversations throughout the event. After the round tables, I headed to one of the tech labs, facilitated by Sabrina Schiele, Head of Data Analytics at Vaillant Group.

“AI is not doing all the thinking for you”: much-needed facts delivered by Sabrina Schiele

I will be honest here, I already knew Sabrina’s presentation would rock. I interviewed her in my first months at Copperberg for an article about data management and I was completely struck with her dedication to her field, her friendliness and articulateness. (You can find the article here). I also had the chance to talk to her during the ice breaker session and had no doubt that her tech lab would be eye-opening and inspiring.

Sabrina started her presentation by declaring that the AI in the title was to attract attention. And that even though AI has been around for some time, the revolution is still being awaited. In fact, only 8% of firms engage in practices that support the widespread adoption of AI. The good news is, she told, you don’t necessarily need AI to make the most of your data.

I’m also planning to write a dedicated article on Sabrina’s tech lab but here are a few key things I learned from her presentation:

  • It’s pointless to collect huge amounts of data and then ask what can we do with it? First, you should have a specific question in mind. Then look at data to get an answer.
  • The only measure of the value of data, how it is able to answer your questions.
  • Despite increased connectivity, we are living in a non-connected world. And mapping the non-connected world to a digital one is still a challenge.
  • Humans and their expertise are still very important. Therefore, focus on upskilling your company and creating a learning culture.
  • When it comes to collecting and analyzing data, start small but don’t do PoC. Be fully committed to using the results for constant change.
  • Start small but make sure to compare your results with your big vision to understand where you are.
  • Lastly, the enemy of data analytics is to try o get it the right first time.

After Sabrina’s session, my second day has come to an end. As I was on my way to catch the train, I was already thinking about what to do with all the information I learned that day. I was astounded by the fact that I learned more about our business, community and aftermarket in these two days than months of researching. I guess that’s why our participants attend our events as well.

If you would like to know more about my experiences at Aftermarket, read Part 1 and stay tuned for Part 3 of my impressions on Aftermarket which will be available in the coming days.