A recent factory acceptance test (FAT) on one of SKF’s stabilizers is a great example. FATs are an important step in fabricating and delivering stabilizers and other equipment. During a FAT controls, alarms, and other functions are tested, while the customer has a chance to look over a product to ensure it meets the agreed specifications.
With the global disruption, however, international traveling is not an option, and social distancing makes on-site inspections difficult. SKF’s new build team had to find a new solution.
Several cameras provided bird’s-eye views of the factory floor while a team member with a hand-held camera walked around the facility during the call, showing customers a more detailed picture of the stabilizer’s components and functionalities.
Both customers and SKF Marine were satisfied with the approach. The stabilizer passed the FAT, and the project is moving along as scheduled.
“There are some benefits to the approach, especially when you consider CO2 and the cost of traveling,” says Dieter Winkler, a Senior Manager at SKF Marine’s Stabilizer and Steering Gears Service Department. Winkler was pleased with how well the setup worked, and that the team were able to offer a positive customer experience despite the inability to meet in person.
“I miss shaking hands and the personal contact a little bit, but this is the future,” Winkler says. “I think the younger generation will not have a problem with adapting to the technology.”
- SKF service technicians continue to travel internationally for services and repairs where possible, for example to Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands.
- Our worldwide network of certified service partners continues to offer on-site support.
- SKF’s online webinar and e-learning courses offer product and maintenance-related learning.
- Our warehouses in Germany and Singapore with spare parts are open for business.
Which new technologies emerge to support remote services is also something to keep an eye on. SKF’s Director Business Unit Marine Mathias Rusch believes the crisis will further drive the industry’s digital transformation. “This affects the product and service level, but also how sales and service communicate with customers,” he said.
Services like condition monitoring are even more critical now than they were pre-crisis. They work as an early warning system that can help operators better plan their maintenance ahead of time and navigate potential part shortages.
With the industry facing unprecedented headwinds, and the possibility that some companies may not survive, the ability to plan ahead and react to challenges with flexibility and agility becomes an even bigger advantage.