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How to fast-track your digital transformation plans


A case study in transformation from the world's oldest printing press manufacturer, Koenig & Bauer.

30th Jul 2020
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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to hit fast-forward on their digital transformation journeys. Customers are still customers when they’re indoors – they just need help in new ways. 

What’s remarkable is just how feasible – and crucially, effective – an accelerated path to transformation is. 

In a recent Field Service News Podcast, we heard how Koenig & Bauer have supercharged their digital transformation journey to support customers and employees, while laying the foundations for new and better ways of working after COVID-19.

Here’s a taste of what we discussed:

Are you customer-centric?

You’ll struggle to find any business that doesn’t say their customers are at the heart of what they do. Koenig & Bauer proved there’s a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.

As the oldest printing press manufacturer in the world, they have a history of embracing innovation to stay ahead of the competition, offering customers service their rivals can’t match:

“COVID-19 has taught us customer-centricity is the most important aspect behind any digital transformation efforts,” explained Lukas Fahnroth, Koenig & Bauer’s project engineer for digitalisation. 

For a long time, field service was seen as a purely technical function. Now, more companies understand it can have a massive impact on revenue, profitability and customer experience. Often, it’s one of the main reasons customers stay loyal to a brand.

“We need to help customers help themselves better,” says Fahnroth. "That’s why we’re creating a digital journey that’s effortless and helps them stay productive. And that’s only possible with a 360 degree view and processes.”

We were struck by Koenig & Bauer’s obsession with putting the customer at the heart of every step they’ve taken during the pandemic.

“We start with the outcomes the customer needs, and work backwards from there,” Fahnroth adds.

Now, Koenig & Bauer’s Field Service Engineers (FSEs) can understand customer and asset history through their devices. They can make a report with KPIs and share with the customer electronically in real time.

The team quickly built a package of COVID-19 responses to help customers help themselves.

Customers and employees alike know they can plot the safest and most effective strategy with this knowledge at their disposal. A small innovation (one of many), but one Fahnroth believes will forge even stronger relationships between Koenig & Bauer and their customers.

Cut the time between walking and running

Koenig & Bauer are proof that an agile mindset, with the right amount of courage, can be the difference between helping customers stay operational and going out of business.

The team quickly built a package of COVID-19 responses to help customers help themselves.

This is a time for community and crisp, value-add communication. Koenig & Bauer gave customers free access to their analytics tools and customer community, keeping in constant contact.

As well as being proactive, Koenig & Bauer also reacted quickly to customer demands. “We saw demand spike for our video support services, so that became part of our response package,” Fahnroth explained.

Customers wanted assurance; Koenig & Bauer extended their hotline service, giving access to more subject matter experts. 

“This crisis is a litmus test for leaders,” said Lukas. “How businesses act during COVID-19 will have far-reaching consequences. We need to decide what role we’re going to play.”

To help fulfill their role as leaders, not just in business but as a staple of their community, Koenig & Bauer used their production capabilities to donate to the community in an incredible way (tune into the podcast to find out how.)

The four pillars for success during and after COVID-19

Businesses that keep this momentum and continue developing their digital strategy post crisis will accelerate out of this crisis faster than the rest.

For that to happen, it’s vital to keep training new muscles. To move quickly, establish a minimal viable product, roll it out to customers and iterate as you go.

The businesses that make this happen will have mastery in these four areas:

  1. Customer-centricity
  2. Meeting customers’ needs fast
  3. Giving employees the tools to do more
  4. Proactive and bold leadership

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