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Hoerbiger's three-step model to digital transformation: An IoT and field service story

1st May 2019

Technology firm Hoerbiger has improved its operations and customer service thanks to its programme of digital transformation. So what did it do?

In 2017, Hoerbiger, a leading player in the field of compression technology, drive technology, and hydraulics, shared their digital transformation story for improving field service. Hoerbiger’s compression technology division leases approximately 400 wellhead compressor units (WHC) offsite, which require regular service checks ups.

Hoerbiger decided to go digital with their processes and needed more visibility into their units. They also needed to eliminate manual tasks and reduce wasted time spent by their field service technicians.

Mapping paths: Three-step model to digital transformation 

1. Get connected

One big challenge Hoerbiger faced was that their units were located far away from their workshops. The field technicians spent a large amount of wasted time traveling daily to worksites to perform routine checks and ensure the machines were in working order. 

The service level agreements between Hoerbiger and their customers were performance-based, so it was critical to reduce any downtime of these compressor units. By collecting data from the units’ IoT sensors, Hoerbiger was able to perform remote monitoring of health scores without requiring technicians to go onsite.

By helping the field technicians stay connected to the units’ performance, they saved an average of two to three hours of time, allowing them to also resolve any potential issues much quicker, translating into better customer service.

2. Monitor and maintain

Hoerbiger was also challenged by how to get value from the data generated by the remote monitoring of their units. By leveraging a service cloud that integrated maintenance into the cloud, they were able to monitor the maintenance activities of the sensors in their units.

Whenever a unit was failing, a ticket was automatically created in the maintenance platform and assigned to the field service technician responsible for performing repair activities. This transformed a fully manual process that involved maintaining excel sheets into a truly digital process.

3. Integrate to the backend

Hoerbiger realised that going digital not only meant managing the performance of their units in the cloud, it also meant integrating a full end-to-end process with their backend systems. Specifically, this meant assimilating their billing process. 

They leveraged their current ERP system for the full connected process into billing, and are now able to systematically show KPIs that were formerly calculated via multiple spreadsheets. Customers can also able approve monthly billing in an app and transfer the data back into the ERP system. 

By going digital and following this three-step model to digital transformation, Hoerbiger has already realised multiple benefits, including: Workforce and stock optimisation, automation of processes through IoT, mobility for field service technicians, faster reaction to machine failures, reduction of manual data entry, and automated billing with direct integration to ERP.

The end result is better operations and better customer service.

This article originally appeared on The Digitalist Magazine

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