Digital service transformation at GEA

Syskoplan Reply supports GEA in implementing a cloud-based Omnichannel Solution for the Sales & Service area.

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Service at GEA

GEA is one of the largest system suppliers for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. The internationally active technology company focuses on machinery, equipment, and process technology and components.

In addition to the extensive product range for different end markets, GEA also offers a broad service portfolio. This includes maintenance, repair and spare parts supply, consulting, installation and commissioning. The aim is to provide customers with excellent machines and technical solutions, accompany them throughout the entire life cycle, and help them optimize their performance in production. The importance of the service business for GEA is obvious: excellent service leads to a better customer experience, higher customer loyalty and, last but not least, to higher sales. That is why service orientation is a crucial organizational principle at GEA and an integral part of the corporate strategy.

In a widely ramified service organization like GEA's, the local units play an essential role in Sales & Service Execution because of their proximity to the customer. They must be enabled to run the local business efficiently and with high service quality. They need high-quality data to interact proactively with the customer. Furthermore, they need differentiated digital processes and workflows to implement Field Service standards or collaborate with the regional and global organizational level. The task is to give all local teams worldwide access to harmonized installed base data (structure of machines and plants at the customer) and to provide excellent service tools and standards. This is not an easy challenge, especially in a highly diverse organization against a background of global presence.

The Challenges

To meet these complex challenges appropriately, GEA launched an ambitious Customer Engagement / Experience initiative. Within this framework, Syskoplan Reply supported to implement a new business solution. It is based on cloud technology and CX applications from SAP (Service Cloud, Field Service Management and Integration Suite) and has already been rolled out in parts of the organization. Following key aspects were addressed in this roll-out:

  • Installed Base Data: Easy access and analysis capabilities to consolidated and structured data of customers' machines and assets in SAP Service Cloud, especially to empower local teams worldwide. This includes hierarchies of assets, appliances, components, the customer's production environment, and information on service contracts and warranty agreements according to service levels.
  • Interaction & Collaboration: Uniform and harmonized channels for customer inquiries and internal interaction (service ticketing). Standardized workflows between local, regional, and global levels and between sales and service.
  • Field Service: Global provision of tools and standards for Field Service deployment: precise planning of service teams and dynamic scheduling, the inclusion of additional organizational levels, mobile service execution, digital reporting and feedback, and uniform approval processes.

To break down the entire project into feasible steps the primary service functions named "Service Enablers" like Contract, Ticketing & Installed Base Data were implemented in the first place. These could be introduced autonomously in the various divisions and subsidiaries and are already being used successfully in large parts of the GEA world. These parts of the solution are used on all five continents, in more than 50 countries.

At the same time, Syskoplan Reply extended the solution setup to include functions for field service management (FSM). These are currently being introduced in France as part of a pilot project. Subsequently, FSM will get rolled out successively and globally.

GEA started in divisions and countries with relatively low integration requirements in logistics processes. In preliminary studies and prototypes, various integration scenarios in different existing ERP Backends (AX) have already been developed and tested. Thus, it is planned to provide markets with a greater depth of integration with the new solution soon.

The new tools support GEA's transformation in the service business, from more product-oriented structures and data silos to an integrated service solution that enables local teams to act proactively and make the most of their proximity to the customer by using digital tools. At the same time, the service teams are integrated into the global service organization and can use its resources in their daily business.

  • Global Reach. By using cloud technology, the solution has the necessary reach into all markets of the global organization. This setup provides the technical capabilities to deliver the solution to local teams worldwide in the shortest possible time.
  • Access to data. The local teams have access to information on the installed base at their customers' production sites as a basis for analysis and proactive action in service and sales.
  • Access to digital standards. Furthermore, the service teams can use digital processes, standards and workflows to gain more efficiency and quality: ticketing & customer interaction, mobile solution for field service, sales & service collaboration, integration region and HQ level. In particular, compliance with QHSE regulations (Quality, Health, Safety and Environment) plays an important role here.
  • Efficiency & Quality in Service. Service processes now are handled in real-time. Whether technician or office staff, everyone has access to current data and documents, leading to more efficiency and quality. Examples are:
    • Avoid long waiting times for feedback from Field Service or approvals from the back office.
    • Higher data quality and compliance with process standards through digital checklists.
    • Better data for the technician to prepare and perform service activities. The machines and plants' complete service history and structuring are available via the mobile solution.
    • The ticketing solution bundles all incoming communication channels and increases the quality of customer interaction.

Overall, GEA now has a flexible tool that can be operated "stand-alone" in small markets with a few branches and in markets with integration into existing logistics processes and ERP Systems.

Excellent technical service is an essential building block for an outstanding customer experience. With the service solution we have developed together with our partner Syskoplan Reply, GEA is now very well positioned for further developments.

Patrick Schwarz
Vice President CRM & Commercial Excellence
GEA

The cornerstone of transformation

In a globally operating and widely distributed service organization, as is the case at GEA, the focus of Sales & Service Execution is essentially on the local teams and organizational units, as they have the necessary proximity to the customer. In the respective markets, the empowerment of these teams through access to data and provision of cloud-based tools for customer interaction and process standards plays a significant role. GEA has consistently pursued this path of transformation and laid the foundation for further progress in the service business.

GEA is one of the largest system suppliers for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. The internationally active technology company focuses on machinery, equipment, and process technology and components. With the purpose "Engineering for a Better World", GEA focuses on its customers' sustainable and efficient production processes.

Syskoplan Reply, specialized in consulting services and the implementation of SAP technologies, is gearing its offers towards customers that are preparing for the future and use SAP solutions as the core digital platform for their company. Syskoplan Reply uses the latest SAP technologies such as SAP Leonardo, SAP Cloud Platform and enterprise applications such as SAP S/4HANA, SAP SCM, SAP SRM and SAP Analytics to implement solutions for its customers. The Digital Experience is a core area of expertise of Syskoplan Reply with the SAP C4/HANA Customer Experience Portfolio, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Ariba, Mobile and SAP Fiori.