- New highly connected press technology for proactive services
- Pre-installation meetings through post-installation remote maintenance ensures total press availability for maximum throughput
- Enhanced service programs addresses market needs for operator training
For a top-notch service department to excel and exceed the expectations of its clientele, it requires a variety of critical key components: experienced and skilled service technicians, committed service managers, and a well-established firm quickly providing parts, new customer-centric technology, and an outstanding relationship paired with advice and guidance. The service team at Koenig & Bauer continues to display all of these attributes and capabilities that span the customer experience from its first pre-installation meetings throughout the entire duration of the press installation and operation providing customers with long-term service solutions to ensure their outstanding success.
“Our service department’s ongoing commitment is to our customers and their success and our people, who make the difference,” says Chris Talbert, vice president of service and operations of Koenig & Bauer. “We focus on training our customer’s team to ensure that they are achieving the highest uptime and throughput. We form partnerships with our customers and continue to advise them about new technology and advancements. Our unique philosophy is to provide a tailored solution for each of our customers. What sets Koenig & Bauer apart from other press manufacturers is our investment in pro-active connected services to support a printer’s long-term success.”
Talbert, who has risen through the ranks at Koenig & Bauer for the past 15 years, has a three-pronged goal to provide the highest level of service: regionalized approach, pro-active response, and positive customer-centric attitude.
“It’s extremely important that we address a customer’s needs quickly,” says Talbert. “We’re a critical department within the company that is built upon knowledge, skill, and continuous education. In today’s fast pace, our department requires a pro-active approach where we evaluate the demands of our customer to improve their productivity and pre-emptively address concerns. We know that customers need to deliver print products faster than ever before. For them time is money. Press uptime is a critical factor. Any type of press downtime has to be resolved in the shortest time possible.”
Talbert and his team maintain a close relationship with their German counterparts and foster camaraderie between the two countries. In addition to daily communications, German management and technicians visit customers and the Dallas headquarters on a monthly basis contributing and sharing ideas and experiences.
“Our effort is to ensure that the customer feels comfortable and connected when interacting with the service department,” says Talbert. “This starts with our pre-installation meetings where all of the coordination takes place before the press arrives. Our service team meets with the customer’s team well before the new equipment arrives at the facility, starting with a unique and custom-designed pre-installation meeting and a new relationship is formed Every pre-install meeting is unique and custom-designed for each customer to ensure a seamless and on-time startup. Our job is to lessen the customer’s pre-installation concerns. We want our customer to feel comfortable when calling us throughout the entire process.”
Talbert continues to strengthen his team with talented technicians that are serving as pro-active coordinators who implement his specific regional approach. Earlier this year, Koenig & Bauer welcomed two new regional service managers: Kevin Dorsett and Josh Tod who exemplify the knowledge as well as the values of a 200-year old company. Dorsett has a B.S. in Computer Engineering Technology from the University of Houston and was previously the director of customer support for an international digital inkjet press manufacturer where he was responsible for all service activities in the US / Mexico and led a team of 22 field engineers. Tod was promoted to the position of regional service manager. He brings over 17 years of highly technical knowledge and experience with Koenig & Bauer as well as management experience as a former customer.
Under the watchful eyes of Michael Eichler, sales director of Service Select, a team of five experienced and accomplished customer service specialists with well over 100 years of combined experience have been chosen to represent the company across the country. They work hand-in-hand with the firm’s sales department offering technical advice such as upgrading to new advanced equipment. They also offer retrofits programs and system upgrades to improve make-ready times, enhance print quality and increase overall equipment efficiency to help extend the life span and efficiency of the press. Among other offerings are press inspections to proactively identify problems before a downtime event occurs, along with print quality tests to ensure high standards are maintained.
“Each of my team members has slightly different backgrounds and unique skills,” says Eichler. “But as a team, their combined unique backgrounds utilize that experience to cross-train each other and share that knowledge. Our goal is to be pro-active and provide early recognition service solutions by offering advice on press performance, operating cost savings, better efficiency, and enhanced productivity, all in an effort to meet evolving customer demands, introduce new innovation and product development, and increase the performance of the press.”
Eichler’s team encompasses all regions of the U.S.: Steve Oswald, who has more than 30 years of experience, was hired for the Midwest territory after serving as a plant manager of a commercial printer; Richard Donato is a UV specialist who joined the company after serving as a technical director of manufacturing for a Koenig & Bauer UV printer; Stefan Schwarz oversees the West and brings electrical knowledge and press performance analysis skills; and both Matthias Olk and John Starratt, who handle the south-central and southeast respectively, were previously Koenig & Bauer print demonstrators who transitioned into customer service roles.
Koenig & Bauer’s service department prides itself on leading the industry with the latest technology systems to improve a customer’s quality and production. Its remote maintenance hotline, available at any time, whether by phone or e-mail, is one such vital tool. Remote maintenance experts can call up diagnostic software and control data via a direct online link. Almost 80% of all cases are solved successfully by remote maintenance, says Talbert, and it ensures that the correct parts and technicians are sent to the customer site, if so needed. The online link via VPN guarantees maximum data security through special hardware encryption measures, therefore, the firm’s remote maintenance experts can secure fast and cost-effective access to a customer’s installed machines.
In addition, Koenig & Bauer offers an enhanced remote service package that includes Visual Press Support. Modern augmented reality technologies bring intelligent support directly to a customer’s mobile device (smartphone or tablet). Through its new interactive live video tool Visual Press Support, the team of remote maintenance specialists has exactly the same view of a customer’s machine as the local technician and can thus provide optimum assistance and instructions to analyze and resolve problems. At the same time, a customer’s technician can communicate directly with the remote specialists by phone or chat – all from any point on the actual production line, without needing to interrupt work.
“When a printer purchases a new Koenig & Bauer press, they know they’ll always have professionals at their side throughout the entire life cycle of the press,” says Talbert. “As we contend with shorter response times, higher customer expectations, and more technologically advanced equipment, the customer service department becomes even more integral in the total success of the company. Taken another way, think of a triangle with the customer solidly in the center and at each point is service, sales, and operations working together to give them the best experience possible. Our approach is to create trust and long-term loyalty to the Koenig & Bauer brand.”