“We have to offer 24/7. This is the future.”
Insights into SLS
A dialogue with the management
Siempelkamp Logistics & Service GmbH (SLS), operating since 2010 as an independent company in the market, is going through a comprehensive expansion phase. In an interview with Bulletin, Thomas Dahmen and Stefan Wissing, Managing Directors of this Siempelkamp subsidiary, summarize the current development of this service specialist and the continuous effort regarding the service standard in a nutshell.
Bulletin: “Driven by perfection” – this is a very confident statement. What does SLS do to meet this demand on itself and its services?
Stefan Wissing: We must operate to benefit our international customers. To do that, SLS has to continuously develop and has to remain up-to-date. This development not only means that over time we have assumed and will continue to assume new challenges. It also means that we have received and will continue to receive and pick up suggestions and ideas for new service products from our customers. This process is ongoing.
Thomas Dahmen: The requirements and expectations of our customers on SLS have significantly changed over the last few years. The manufacturers expect minimum reaction times from us as a spare parts specialist. Today they are satisfied if we react to their request within 24 hours, tomorrow it will have to be within 12 hours and eventually within one hour. That is why we have to offer our remote service 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and have to further optimize our spare parts service accordingly. This is the future.
Bulletin: This means that SLS must reinvent itself constantly. What consequences does this continuous development have? Specifically, how do SLS customers benefit from it?
Stefan Wissing: We are in the midst of a learning process: Our experiences with industries such as the automobile industry, which has a higher service demand than the wood industry, are applied to our customers in the wood industry. The automobile industry will say: “You cannot deliver within 24 hours? Then you are no longer our supplier.” And that’s the end of it. If excellent service is possible for such industries, then it is also possible for the manufacturers of wood-based materials.
Thomas Dahmen: The essential prerequisite here is optimal logistics. The requirements for such are ideal in Bad Kreuznach. This location provides a direct connection to the highway (Autobahn) and is in close proximity to the Frankfurt airport. With new storage buildings planned at this location, we will once again significantly raise our quality standards in terms of service and logistics. If SLS can deliver quickly and at market-appropriate prices, our customers might even be able to do without their own storage facilities in the future.
Bulletin: What other measures are on your agenda? What new service products will SLS customers be able to count on in the future?
Stefan Wissing: Currently, we are orientating the personnel structure of SLS towards the future. Since April 1, we have been implementing a new setup which provides our service with more drive and will help to establish us more firmly as a partner within the Siempelkamp Group and also with Siempelkamp customers.
Thomas Dahmen: An important step in this direction was the introduction of our barcode system which is absolutely unique in our industry. The machine engineering industry cannot yet be compared to Amazon, as an example, where you order goods today, receive them tomorrow and in between you are able to check the status of and track the delivery. However, such traceability of the complete service chain, ranging from the order to the installation, is currently a big topic for us. This is what we want to achieve.
Stefan Wissing: What we have in mind is the complete traceability of each individual part that we supply to our customers. Where, in the logistics chain, is the part right now? Has it already been ordered, has it been delivered, has it been installed? For the amount of parts that our machines and plants are made of, this system is ideally suited to keep track of the current condition. And not just that. Such a system would furthermore allow the monitoring of the installation process at the construction site. What progress are we making? Are the parts installed in the correct order? Is everything installed completely?
Bulletin: And with that we come to the buzzword of "Industry 4.0" and the computerization of manufacturing technology. Is Siempelkamp service a major player here?
Thomas Dahmen: To answer this question, I want to once again reference the comparison to the automobile industry. Here, nowadays, it goes as follows: lift the hood, hook up the test plug, and two minutes later you have your result. This is how it is also going to be in machine and plant engineering in the future. One day someone will walk along the press and will receive on a terminal device, via RFID technology (Radio Frequency Identification), from the gearbox the message that it needs to be maintained. I believe until then five to ten years will pass. However, here at SLS we are on track to implement this technology to the benefit of our customers.
Stefan Wissing: Even though RFID is not a topic yet, our barcode system as a maintenance system certainly is. If the barcode is appropriately integrated into the maintenance management of the customer, it provides optimal control functions for our customers. They receive a detailed overview of which maintenance or service measures are required. I am convinced that we can develop so much more from this barcode system.
Thomas Dahmen: By the way, for a machine and plant engineering company of this size, this is completely new territory. However, despite an impressive team of 120 employees, SLS is still small and flexible enough to effectively press ahead with such developments. This, once more, emphasizes our claim of “Driven by perfection”.