Spare Parts business is changing. At the 8th Annual Spare Parts Business Platform, we’ll cover crucial issues of today and tomorrow of the spare parts. The influence of servitization, disruptive technologies and the changing relationship between OEMs and distributors are among the topics we’ll investigate. In efforts to dig into them before Spare Parts Business Platform, we interviewed Veronica de la Torre Diaz. Veronica is the Senior Program Manager at Thyssenkrupp Elevator and one of the speakers at Spare Parts Business Platform. In this interview, she explained how she is transforming the infrastructure to improve the experience of the technicians and customers. Enjoy.

Author Muge Hizal Dogaroglu | Copperberg

Reading time: 5 minutes

Spare Parts business is changing. At the 8th Annual Spare Parts Business Platform, we’ll ask important questions about the today and tomorrow of spare parts.

How does the service transformation affect spare parts businesses? What opportunities can new technologies like AI and additive manufacturing bring to spare parts management? On a more operational level, how can manufacturers develop their parts & service network? And what impact is the growing trend of e-commerce having on relationships between OEMs and distributors/resellers?

To investigate these topics beforehand, we interviewed Veronica de la Torre Diaz, Senior Program Manager at Thyssenkrupp Elevator and one of the speakers at Spare Parts Business Platform. Veronica explained how she is transforming the infrastructure to improve the experience of their technicians and customers. Enjoy.

As the Senior Program Manager at Thyssenkrupp Elevator, can you explain what your role entails? What is your number one priority with this role?

I work for the Headquarters in Essen, Germany.  And we work in a program for spare parts where we are basically transforming the supply chain

My priority is to create an infrastructure to enable our technicians to serve the customers better and create business opportunities. That means helping them get the parts they need when they need them. To do that, I focus on enhancing transparency in every part of the service. Then, I can get the information required to create the infrastructure.

Which departments do you most often collaborate with? How does your role affect these departments and the business processes at Thyssenkrupp Elevator?

I’m constantly collaborating with IT, procurement, field service and manufacturing.

My role is critical for creating transparency and collecting data to create awareness on opportunity or problem areas. I use this data to inform others  about where we are in terms of our objectives, competitors and potential improvements.

What are the challenges you face as Senior Program Manager at Thyssenkrupp Elevator? And how do you tackle them?

There are several challenges. One is project management: keeping the project within budget, on time and having the right skillset.

The second thing is change management. Once you developed a new way of work, then you almost always face a reaction against change. People think; “We have been working the same way for 20 years. Why should we change? Our business is fine.” The challenge is to communicate the benefits and convince people. The management must be committed to change and vocally support the transformation. Otherwise, the employees won’t see the benefit and it won’t work. (Listen to our podcast episode on change management if you want to learn more about how others are tackling it.)

Transparency of communication is also needed. The management should clearly express what the change entails; the gains  as well as the means and the costs to achieve it.

In recent years, increasing customer demands and digitalization have put a lot of pressure in B2B manufacturing companies. How does this affect the way the spare parts business is conducted in terms of technology and business processes?

This is a challenge we intake with data gathering and data management. We need to define our business strategy. Then, adapt our process to achieve it and define the tools that support these processes. We need to bring the Amazon experience of fast response, visibility and next-day delivery to our internal and external customers.

With the emergence of digitalization and customer demands, the question becomes: how can we ensure the availability of spare parts at the right time so that technicians can perform faster and better?

We have to tackle this issue with intelligent programs that can learn from experience and predict from future forecast. We also need to make sure that the relevant data is captured and analyzed. This is what we are working on at Thyssenkrupp Elevator. Data and intelligent systems will be key in delivering better service.

In terms of business processes, we need more transparency in regards to the needs of the technicians. This can be achieved by recording their methodology and process. So we can have this data available to us in real-time. Once we have it, we can use it to predict future needs.

There are several systems/software in the market that provide this information. But the problem is most companies require a program that will cover planning, inventory, capturing the data and the logistics. In short, there are several factors that need to be put together into the supply chain management to make the change happen.

What are the biggest Spare Parts trends in your opinion? And how does Thyssenkrupp Elevator implements them?

The first one that comes to mind is digital technologies and applications. At Thyssenkrupp, we are at different levels depending on all the countries we operate in. However, moving away from paper and going into digital is our first goal. We are aiming to store data digitally to learn more from it.

Correspondingly, we are looking into implementing is a centralized system in which we can track and get all the data needed in a non-complicated way. We use software like an ERP or a customized system but at the end of the day, it is complicated to get the information. Therefore we are aiming to have systems that are easy to get data to avoid manual reporting. (Read our article on integrating EAM and ERP systems.)

Another trend that is relevant to us is integrating preventive maintenance. So that we can know when an elevator is failing and have the part shipped from the warehouse beforehand.

For the future, I believe autonomous vehicles hold a lot of potential for spare parts services. We can think about autonomous vehicles that can bring spare parts to the technicians. Therefore, technicians don’t have to go back and forth to get the equipment. It’s about making the technician’s life easier.

Thank you for sharing your insights with me. Any message you want to share the participants of Spare Parts 2020?

The service industry is a very interesting industry. It’s challenging but at the same time has great potential for the business. I’m looking forward to sharing what I have learned so far in the elevator industry and learn from others!

Interested in learning the best practices in Spare Parts? Check the agenda of our Spare Parts Business Platform that will take place in Frankfurt between 11-12th of February 2020.