ANDRITZ, headquartered in Graz, Austria, is an international technology group providing plants, systems, equipment, and services for various industries. The company is one of the global market leaders in the hydropower business, the pulp and paper industry, the metal working and steel industries, and in solid/liquid separation in the municipal and industrial segments. With almost 170 years of experience, approximately 27,800 employees, including 750 internal field technicians, and more than 280 locations in over 40 countries worldwide, ANDRITZ is committed to helping its customers to achieve their corporate and sustainability goals.
As we’re seeing across industries, ANDRITZ has recognized changes in what those customers’ needs and expectations are – as well as has taken note of the evolution of technology that can help spur the company forth in meeting those new and different needs. As such, ANDRITZ has created and begun executing on a Digital Transformation roadmap to equip the company to seize the opportunities of creating advanced and new services to meet today’s – and tomorrow’s – customer demands.
Evolving Customer Demands Equal Massive Opportunity
Klaus Glatz, Chief Digital Officer at ANDRITZ summarizes customers as “wanting more and more knowledge and assistance than they ever have before and being open to new solutions.” Klaus explains that ANDRITZ customers historically would employ talent that was experts in the equipment themselves, but as that talent ages out and becomes harder to replace, those same customers are seeking more guidance, insights, and advising from ANDRITZ.
“Our guidance and ability to help customers optimize their facilities is increasing in demand and so is the transition to guaranteed outcomes and more predictive service,” says Klaus. While ANDRITZ currently serves customers that span the gamut from those who do still have internal expertise to those seeking greater guidance and advisement to those looking for guaranteed outcomes, Klaus is clear about the future of what ANDRITZ seeks to offer. “The idea is that, at some point, we can offer our customers fully autonomous machines,” he says. “This will completely alleviate their need to hire and retain talent to manage our equipment.”
The growing needs of ANDRITZ customers for closer partnerships and more assistance presents the company with a significant opportunity when it comes to expanding its service offerings. “Service is a huge focus area for ANDRITZ,” says Klaus. “Across all businesses service generates the highest margins, and if we can keep innovating to meet these expanding customer needs it presents a lot of potential for our business.”
Digital Transformation is The Great Enabler
Klaus recognizes the fact that this ultimate vision cannot be achieved without ANDRITZ fully embracing Digital Transformation. In fact, the entire migration from the historical ways of engaging customers to this new world of acting as business partners and guaranteeing outcomes has been enabled by Digital Transformation. “Digitalization is key to our ability to meet the growing needs of our customer base and to expand our ability to serve them,” notes Klaus. “The insights demanded, and information needed, the ability to minimize downtime, the transition to predictive service – none of it is possible without digitalization.”
ANDRITZ has a number of projects underway in its Digital Transformation efforts – the company has worked to create more autonomous equipment, has introduced IoT to glean insights from its equipment, and is working to further use AI and ML to bring the concept of full autonomous machines to life. But another major focus area for the company has been the introduction of IFS Field Service Management to replace local homegrown service management systems not up to the tall order of how the business is changing. “Field service is key in our mission to expand and build upon our service offerings,” says Klaus. “Downtime wreaks havoc on our customers, and better managing our service operations is critical in minimizing and preventing that downtime. Furthermore, equipping our frontline workforce with more sophisticated technology allows them to take on more services responsibility, create greater trust among customers, and act as a business advisor.”
For ANDRITZ, two of the main attractions to IFS FSM 6 were the mobile interface, which would take the place of the use of a laptop for technicians and the dispatching functionality that would replace Excel-based methods. “IFS FSM 6 gives us much faster access to data, a simple integration into our back-office systems which allows us to accelerate closing and improve working capital, and has tremendously improved the access field technicians have to important knowledge on site,” says Klaus. “Moving to a mobile solution versus a laptop has dramatically simplified the life of our field technicians. And with the solution being deployed globally, it is driving process optimization and standardization which results in a far more harmonized experience for our customers.”
By introducing IFS FSM 6, ANDRITZ has greatly reduced the time the technicians need to prepare for a job and eliminated the administrative work that existed for technicians following a job. This not only enables field technicians to get to more jobs, but to focus on the customer experience rather than administrative tasks. Klaus estimates that when IFS FSM 6 is fully deployed, ANDRITZ will see an improvement in efficiency of approximately 30 percent.
It’s important to note, though, that this is only the beginning. With the foundational service management system in place, Klaus states that there is a lot potential in expanding functionality to derive further optimization and greater customer impact. For instance, ANDRITZ plans to introduce a customer portal that will easily present all the data and insights a customer is interested in finding. The company is also focusing on self-service, the incorporation of augmented reality, and has digitized all of its spare parts processes. These are all steps on the ultimate vision of fully autonomous equipment, and Klaus’ ethos is “think big, act small.” He says doing so enables you to start in small steps and prove what’s working, then build upon your success.
Klaus suggests that as you navigate your own Digital Transformation journey you keep two things in mind – first, that data is key. “Not only is data key, correct data is key,” he says. “You have to ensure you are putting clean data in to get the outcome you are working toward.” Second, the value of process harmonization can’t be overemphasized. “The more process variance you have, the greater complexity you have,” Klaus states. “Not everyone needs to do things exactly the same, but the more you can streamline and harmonize, the simpler things will be.”