The Future of Service: 3 Key Facts from the Aachener Service Conference in Germany

3 key topics, 8 hours, 20 presentations: Here are the issues that are currently shaping service in Germany.

Our German colleagues are sharing their insights from the Service conference. 3 main topics, 8 hours, 20 presentations: These are the most important topics, presentations and highlights from the 26th Aachen Service Forum. 


Digitalization. Transparency. Customer centricity. Data security. Sustainability. These were the central topics of this year's Service Forum in Aachen, Germany. Live from the RWTH Aachen Campus, world market leaders such as Carl Zeiss or Thyssen Krupp, as well as new innovative companies like oculavis shared their experiences, best practices and innovative solutions and presented their path to sustainable revenue generation as well as increased demand and customer satisfaction.

Brilliantly led by Dr. Lennard Holst from FIR e.V. and Dr. Maximilian Schacht from the Center Smart Services at RWTH Aachen University, the following 3 main topics have emerged for us in the different presentations and respective sharing of challenges and problem solving strategies:

1. Digitalization and transparency create add value in service.

Machine manufacturing and, consequently, service today must be made digital. Digital solutions are no longer a mere 'nice-to-have,' but have evolved into a 'must-have' in order to remain resilient in the long run. Numerous presentations, including DMG Mori's implementation of TULIP in particular, highlighted the added value that digitalization and the accompanying transparency bring to service: processes become more efficient and understandable. Particularly in after sales, companies need transparency - about internal processes, competition and also as intelligence about the market. However, the basis of all digital solutions and services is using data in the right places.

2. The customer is at the center of all service processes.

Ultimately, what every service effort, every digital solution and each service is aimed at is customer satisfaction. As Judith Kötzsch from Rittal vividly pointed out, it is not enough to use smart services to increase products and efficiency. A service is only intelligent when it meets the needs of its customers and users. Actively engaging with one's target group and knowing the challenges is one of the key factors behind a successful service business that can identify and offer targeted solutions. With digitalization and the increasing use of innovative tools within service, a transformation in customer interaction is taking place as well: What drives business success are and will continue to be customers. Successful service is therefore changing and is taking place less as service for the customer and turning more into service with the customer. 
Regardless the industry, it is becoming evident that what customers are demanding is not just remote services, digital solutions and subscription models. Above all, the aspect of sustainability is slipping more and more into customer awareness and, as a result, the demand for sustainability must play an increasingly important role in the corporate goals of machine manufacturing companies.

3. Sustainability is a key driver of corporate success.

Sustainably increasing revenue and customer satisfaction - we at MARKT-PILOT are not the only ones who have made this our goal by implementing market-based spare parts pricing. Sustainability in service means, above all and in general, using relevant and digital solutions for the customers' greatest benefit.
As with Carl Zeiss, this can mean achieving greater efficiency and sustainability by protecting resources and actively involving the respective service on site, or in the example of vehicle manufacturer Bernard KRONE GmbH & Co. KG, sustainable service can also be ensured through the intelligent use of data-based prognoses and defect analytics in operational processes. With regard to digital solutions, it is apparent that sustainability in terms of long-term improvements is just as important as sustainability as an aspect of resource conservation and the intelligent use of existing materials, structures and existing solutions.
The next big topic in service? The integration of cutting-edge software and digital tools into existing systems. Fulfilling the aspect of sustainability with digital services doesn't just translate to generating more revenue and profit. The most important aspect here is to not simply equate revenue with sales, but to recognize that digital services have great untapped potential in the form of cost savings and efficiency enhancements.

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