Syncron: developing cloud-based software in manufacturing

David Reiling , Chief Customer Officer at Syncron speaks with Business Chief to discuss the use of cloud based technology in manufacturing, as well as industry trends and 2020 predictions.

Could you tell me a little bit about your company and your role at the company?

Syncron empowers manufacturers to optimise their current break-fix after-sales service operations as they simultaneously lay the foundation for the inevitable shift to delivering products-as-a-service (PaaS).

As Chief Customer Officer, I am fortunate to spend time with customers around the world and I am always amazed at the expertise and passion I encounter, especially as the world becomes more service-centred. At Syncron, we not only believe that an optimised after-sales service organisation accelerates manufacturers’ journey to servitisation, but also drives top and bottom line results, expands the company’s global leadership and accelerates the pace of change within the manufacturing industry as a whole.

What are the current trends within your industry?

Manufacturers are at a pivotal moment in time. Customer attitudes and preferences are changing – we’re seeing the rise of PaaS in many industries, like Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Building Advisor and Porsche Passport. The modern customer is less concerned with ownership of a product, and more interested in buying access to those products via subscriptions, in a trend known as servitisation.

Servitisation is quickly approaching and making manufacturers’ service organisations increasingly strategic for future success. Servitisation is placing greater emphasis on the ability of manufacturers to maximise the uptime of their products. To achieve this, they’re having to move away from the traditional break-fix models of service towards using sensor-based technology that enables them to pre-emptively prevent issues and equipment failures before they ever occur. I would say this is the major trend right now and manufacturers’ ability to adjust to these cultural and technological changes will play a big part in shaping the future of the manufacturing industry.

What makes your company competitive?

We carried out some research earlier this year which indicated that 98% of customers want to see maximised product uptime prioritised in their manufacturers’ service agreements, but only 33% currently do so. Customers are calling for uptime and manufacturers are aware of this – and we’re the glue that brings them together. This type of after-sales service has long been an under exploited revenue stream. More than anywhere else in the customer journey, it’s where manufacturers can convert one-time buyers into a  loyal, long-term customers and subscribers. Our focus in this area is what makes us and our technology highly competitive.

What innovations has your company been developing during 2019?

According to a recent IDC survey, 40 percent of manufacturers have some sort of IoT project underway. However, most OEMs’ deployed products are disconnected, or not IoT-enabled.  These are products that were sold several years ago and will be in service for the remainder of their lifecycles – decades in some cases. Optimising traditional repair and maintenance operations in parallel with deploying new PaaS business models will complicate OEMs journey to the future.

Leading manufacturers have already recognised that accelerating this transformation to PaaS can only be accomplished if the core of their current service operations – service parts inventory and price management – are fully optimised. Flexible, scalable technology is a key accelerator and enabler to selling PaaS and we are well on our way to expanding the Syncron Service Cloud with enhancements to both Syncron Inventory and Syncron Price to accomplish these important objectives.

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We also recently announced the launch of Syncron Uptime – a new product which integrates Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies into the analysis of our real-time sensor data. This will allow OEMs to carry out a more forensic examination of the status of their equipment.

Syncron Uptime takes advantage of rapid improvements in IoT, AI and ML, as well as increasing data-transfer bandwidths (5G). It’s paving the way for OEMs to better facilitate predictive and prescriptive maintenance, maximising product uptime more efficiently than ever before.

Technology will accelerate the journey to servitisation and Syncron provides the solutions that evolve and scale alongside manufacturers as their needs change and mature over time.

What are your predictions for the industry in 2020?

I think 2020 will be a critical year for many manufacturers. Servitisation is an inevitable future, and manufacturers must optimise their businesses now. Additional predictions include:

1. By 2030, the majority of OEMs’ business will be centred on delivering products-as-a-service

2. OEMs must transform to a subscription-based uptime business model to align with consumer preferences, or risk fading away like Blockbuster

3. The fear of change will be OEMs’ biggest barrier to success in the shift to servitisation

4. Technology will be the key accelerator of servitisation

5. Governments and customers will push for manufacturing to be more environmentally sustainable

Is there any exciting news you’d like to share with our readers at Business Chief?

We are very excited about the updates to the Syncron Service Cloud mentioned earlier.

In addition, I was personally very excited to recognise the recent winners of our inaugural Syncron Service Excellence Awards. The Service Excellence Award winners were recognised at Innovate2019, a first-of-its-kind executive summit focused on facilitating conversations and providing insights for manufacturers exploring the inevitable shift to servitisation. Recognised for their global leadership and accelerating the pace of the industry, Service Excellence Award winners included:

  • Inventory Management, Global – ABB: Recognised for optimising global service parts inventory management and quantitatively demonstrating success, including significant decreases in excess and obsolete stock and increases in service part fill rates.

  • Inventory Management, Retail – Volvo Construction Equipment: Recognised for achieving a high level of efficiency in their dealer service operations, increasing customer service levels and part availability while reducing manual efforts.

  • Price Management – Kubota: Recognised for transforming its service parts pricing strategy to be more automated, optimised and responsive to the marketplace while maintaining – or increasing – customer satisfaction

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