Customized spare parts ordering platforms increase packaging machinery efficiency
January 4, 2011
by By Simone Bürgisser
The concept of e-business has matured significantly since the early dot.dom days of the 1990s. It is no longer a groundbreaking technology, but instead has become a core foundation for most businesses. Banking, traveling, entertainment, shopping and emailing now all form part of a new trend in which society as a whole interacts online.
What has now become a standard way of doing things in our personal lives has also become reality in the packaging industry. Typically, spare parts as well as modernization kits and field service are provided through supplier service departments. However, in today’s e-friendly world, the internet forms an integral part of modern life and this is changing the way we do business.
The worldwide web is often the first place customers go when researching products and obtaining information to support purchase decisions. Now, the Internet era is also changing the landscape of equipment servicing. By providing services online, such as a portal for ordering spare parts, packaging industry suppliers build a direct, 24/7 interface between their support teams and the customer.
What’s driving the move online? Improved information and convenience. According to research from an online B2B survey conducted by Enquiro, clear price and product information is the Number One thing that purchasers want in all phases of the buying process. An online ordering platform can offer enhanced, customized and more accessible information for customers, while also providing streamlined spare parts ordering, cost-savings and improved operational efficiency.
Enhanced information access is an excellent method of improving the decision-making processes. By facilitating information flow and communication, an online spare parts ordering platform integrated into a customer’s business improves coordination of maintenance efforts between departments and plants as well as on a supplier-to-customer level.
The result can be significant improvements in the efficiency and cost effectiveness of a packaging operation. An example is the E-Portal from Bosch Packaging Technology, a unique online ordering platform for spare parts. With the E-Portal, lists are compiled of all spare parts relating to a customer’s machinery.
Customers have the option of searching for components, inquiring about price and availability, as well as creating baskets for pending maintenance projects. In addition, the system can communicate with various purchasing catalogue systems and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) platforms such as SAP, offering customers greater operational efficiency and information flow.
Technological advances are fueling the demand for customization in our society, a requirement that can be catered for with industrial online ordering portals. Key features are that the portal can be rich in detail and yet easy-to-use—serving as an individually tailored information resource.
For example, when data from a customer’s current equipment set-up is loaded into the system, the need to trawl through irrelevant information is negated. Portals with customized spare parts lists for customers, as well as lists of available upgrades and future spare part requirements, can further speed decision-making and save time.
An online ordering platform can also give customers a higher level of automation for the information collection process when spare parts are required. Instead of searching through printed catalogue files or outdated CDs, up-to-date content is at the customer’s fingertips, including the latest part offers, manuals and information on additional services.
Furthermore, functionality that allows instant availability checks and transparent cost management can add speed and simplicity to the ordering process. It is no longer necessary to phone a sales representative to place an order; once purchasing decisions have been authorized, orders can be placed directly online.
An online resource can also guide customers through the spare part ordering process and assist in decision-making. For example, suppliers can suggest part recommendations on the system, simplifying the assortment of relevant spare parts. This information can then be made available through the customer’s internal purchasing IT system.
In addition, there are often several individuals involved within the purchasing process and their level of interest in certain types of information can vary depending on their role. With an online system, it is possible for engineering management functions to access higher level information than the local operators, as required.
Packaging machinery experts that provide the technology, a personal service and a support structure can help manufacturers and packaging companies alike in freeing up time and resources. A service offering that includes human interaction with the supplier’s support team, bolstered by an online platform, offers many benefits for customers throughout the spare part selection and ordering process.
Bosch, for example, offers a worldwide network of service hubs to provide customers with maintenance and support services. This is enhanced with the company’s advanced E-Portal, exhibiting Bosch’s commitment to service refinement and technological innovation. With 24/7 availability, eight language options and total customization, the streamlined platform caters to the varied demands of modern customers in a global marketplace.
Customers who have Bosch packaging equipment can request access to its E-Portal by visiting the Company’s website. More details are available at www.boschpackagingservices.com