KHS GmbH (khs.com), one of the leading suppliers of filling and packaging systems, has been continuously extending its range of services worldwide for many years now. One particular focus at the moment is the expansion of its service network in Africa and the Middle East for even more proximity to the customer. The company from Dortmund, Germany, wishes to continue to strive towards its vision of technological and service leadership by offering more future-oriented services.
Reliability, speed and streamlined processes: these are the attributes KHS wants to score even more points with in the field of service. The decisive benefit for customers is that a sustainable contribution is made to the success of their business through competent KHS consultancy and value-added systems. KHS offers a wide selection of services which range from the fast supply of spare parts through customized maintenance contracts to individual customer workshops on new products and services.
Local presence fosters customer proximity
KHS' worldwide service organization currently encompasses 30 subsidiaries and 41 service centers – a global network which is being continuously intensified and expanded. On the future markets of Africa and the Middle East especially its presence is being constantly increased. Examples include KHS East Africa Ltd., based in Nairobi in Kenya, and the new service center in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. KHS Panamericana is another new company, headquartered in Santiago de Chile in South America.
On some markets KHS is boosting its proximity to the customer through the additional use of service networks provided by select partners. The focus here is on regions with a weaker infrastructure, such as the African continent or in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Tobias Wetzel, head of the KHS Service Division, comments, "The blanket expansion of our services aims to reliably secure our customers' line availability in the production process and is an important factor for them in increasing their level of competitiveness."
KHS' international field service has also been heavily augmented by new personnel in the last few years. Many of the over 200 additional service engineers are concentrated in Asia and Africa. The workforce has also been enlarged on other continents. In conjunction with the hiring of new employees KHS has also specifically invested in the ongoing basic and further training of its service engineers. In order to prepare them for new challenges, regular training courses with a program for the entire Field Service team are held. KHS also centers on line commissioning and service assignments during these periods of training.
This local presence is efficiently supported by the global service key account managers at KHS. They are the central contacts for the company's global customers and coordinate all after-sales processes.
Logistics speeds up supply of spare parts
In order to further increase the availability of parts for lines and machines and to optimize its logistics processes, the KHS headquarters in Dortmund has invested in a new central warehouse known as the KHS World Logistics Center. With over 20,000 m2 of storage and handling space and 60,000 stored parts it gives customers even faster service when it comes to upgrades, spare parts or technology which is to be installed for the first time. In addition to the World Logistics Center, KHS has also set up a number of local warehouses, such as those in China and Nigeria. These help to ensure that international customers are reliably supplied with spare parts on regional markets as fast as possible. More worldwide warehousing facilities are currently being set up or are in the pipeline.
Individual service packages
KHS also continues to forge ahead with the extension of its service portfolio according to requirements. No fewer than four service packages – Start-up, Basic, Advanced and Comfort – assure the maximum availability and efficiency of lines and machines on customer premises. Depending on the particular package, the benefits range from regular inspections and maintenance to the extensive services of an embedded engineer: a KHS service engineer who is constantly available on site. Attention is also paid to the optimization of existing lines. Here, following detailed analysis of their plant machinery, customers are given concrete suggestions as to how to adapt this, enabling them to boost efficiency in the filling process by up to 30%, for instance.
The full spectrum of KHS services includes many other offers pertinent to parts and materials, consultancy, IT systems and service in general. All service packages and individual services can be flexibly used by customers according to their specific requirements. They boost a customer's competitiveness and make a considerable contribution to efficient and sustainable production with regard to the overall operating costs and the total cost of ownership or TCO.
The Bottles & ShapesTM consultancy program, long a fixed feature of KHS Service, is also enjoying increasing popularity. Its chief purpose is to advise customers on how to process lighter PET bottles in the future and thus save on resources. The criterion here is to steer towards optimum production throughout the entire line.
More direct transfer of knowledge
The KHS Group supports its global service activities through intensive communication and dialog with its customers. Examples include regular international customer workshops, where information which is both beneficial and creates added value is shared. These events not only encourage good and trusting relations between customer and supplier; customers also receive details on the full KHS service portfolio. At these workshops KHS also works on further specific ways of optimizing its customer services. Such knowledge transfer sessions also ensure that regional service employees are always kept up to date regarding all new features in the portfolio.
And what does the future have in store? Says Tobias Wetzel, head of KHS' Service Division, "With the continuous further technological development of lines and machines for the beverage industry the demands made of KHS Service are also changing. We have this firmly in our sights and offer our customers specific services which are coordinated to match our latest technological advances, such as the Human Machine Interface or HMI and Nature MultiPack –powered by KHS. Despite this dynamism we still attach the utmost importance to creating trust through performance – which forms the basis of any mutual cooperation or partnership. In the end, nothing is as long lasting as a line which even after over 30 years is still giving its operators reliable service."