WMF Professional Coffee Machines is putting the customer first with the roll-out of a consistent global service concept.
When purchasing a fully automatic coffee machine, a business owner must base their decision on more than just the device itself. Functionality, quality, and consistency of the machine are of course important, but so are the services the manufacturer provides.
With this in mind, Southern German fully automatic manufacturer WMF Professional Coffee Machines aims to help its customers generate success through the life cycle of their machine.
“In order to live up to our mission of being customers’ first choice, we are further developing our current position of leadership – and service has an important role to play in this respect,” says Christian Nolte, Vice President Global Service of WMF.
“What sets us apart from competitors is our long-term commitment to making our customers successful with their business concepts. With 100 years of experience, we understand the needs of customers like no other.
“Our solutions are always developed with three things in mind: end customer satisfaction, the commercial success of our customer, and the smooth day-to-day operation of the coffee machines.”
As such, WMF has significantly expanded its core expertise in this area, and has established a broad portfolio of services which can be adapted to customers’ individual needs. Beyond the technical services you would expect, this includes providing advice on optimising operations, offering integrated monitoring solutions and financing options.
“When customers are looking to advance the way they operate, we are right by their side to support them,” Nolte tells Global Coffee Report.
To bring these services to life, WMF has established a global network with around 800 service employees across 11 countries and a further 200 service partners. The core of this decentralised service organisation is formed by competence centres in its headquarters in Germany, Switzerland, and the United States.
“The service data provided by our network is a key support pillar when it comes to continuous product improvement. As a result, any service call – no matter where in the world – is clearly documented and assessed in detail by the service and quality teams,” Nolte says.
This information provides WMF with valuable insight into the practical applications of its machines, which it uses in product development. Nolte says over the last two years, this has shone a spotlight on serviceability as a unique selling point of WMF.
“For the next machine generation, we will therefore be focusing on an optimised service concept to reduce the amount of work for our technicians. The lower operating costs associated with this will generate clear added value for our customers,” he says.
“Our technicians are our ambassadors. And this will continue to be the case in the future. Nevertheless, the digital opportunities we are developing will increasingly enable us to work on machines from a central location – or even automatically. This dynamic approach will allow us to pool the advisory and service expertise our team possesses, lightening the load placed on technicians in the field.”
Nolte believes it will enable WMF to continue providing personal support while redistributing some of the capacity of its technicians to work on improving overall service quality and new developments.
The WMF CoffeeConnect digital telemetry platform has been a huge driver of productivity and efficiency in the manufacturer’s day-to-day business.
Carrying out detailed analyses allows WMF to provide customers with high diagnostic depth of information, and almost real-time monitoring. Nolte says this will make something that was previously only possible in isolated customer cases available across the board.
“The associated improvements regarding controllability and process reliability of machines as well as proactive care and maintenance are greatly appreciated by our customers,” he says.
“This is also apparent when we look at the figures. With a connected base of around 65,000 machines worldwide, we have established the largest telemetry network in the industry by some margin – and with the size of the network growing rapidly, it is becoming the centrepiece of our modern service portfolio.”
With customer centricity top priority, WMF has focused its digital services on three areas: increasing end consumer satisfaction through high availability and consistent quality, supporting the economic success of its customers, and addressing the challenges of day-to-day business. Nolte says this last point encompasses issues such as personnel fluctuation and regulations regarding hygiene and occupational health and safety.
“To enable customers to overcome these hurdles in daily operations, we offer operating concepts, for example, which ensure a high degree of process reliability and flexibility, meaning that, ultimately, personnel and machines work hand in hand,” he says.
In the same way new technology is influencing the complexity of coffee machines, Nolte says service roles are developing too and manufacturers must adapt. For example, WMF has shifted the training focus of personnel from the role of electrician to that of mechatronics engineer.
“When we examine the opportunities that digitalisation brings, instead of latching onto short-term trends, we focus on making sustainable improvements to the coffee business for ourselves and our customers,” Nolte says.
“When we look at the new technical aids that can help our day-to-day service operations, the main draws are remote and video support. Technologies such as augmented reality are also in use in specific customer projects and are being tested to see how they could be applied more broadly.”
Increasing digitalisation not only boosts the services WMF can offer its customers, but what their customers can do for the end consumer.
“Our customers operate in a very fragmented market and are therefore forced to actively differentiate themselves and generate competitive advantages. This means they need to have optimum control of their processes from an economic perspective and focus on how they present themselves publicly,” Nolte says.
“Our digital solutions enable customers to optimise their business management and accounting processes. In addition, digital functions – such as those used for ordering and payment – help customers to showcase their innovative strength.”
While automation and digitalisation, alongside other new and interesting trends, will prove to be valuable tools in the future, Nolte expects service to remain at the core of the coffee industry.
When asked, how the market will look in 20 years, Nolte summarises: “The foundations of our business are built on the millions of customers across the globe who want to enjoy a cup of coffee every day.
“Just like with many other technological improvements, we are using digitalisation to further enhance this enjoyment and to make it simpler and more cost-effective. Thanks to their great innovative strength, our services will be playing an increasingly important role in the years to come.”
For more information, visit www.wmf-coffeemachines.com
This article appears in the November/December 2020 edition of Global Coffee Report. Subscribe HERE.