Cimcorp may be one of the world's leading automation providers to the tire manufacturing industry, but its approach is not about delivering capital equipment as much as it is enabling positive experiences. The company's turnkey automation systems maximize uptime, equipment utilization and traceability for its manufacturing customers, in turn helping their customers and end customers experience fast and error-free deliveries and consistent product quality.
Focusing on these customer experiences rather than just net product sales was the challenge facing Cimcorp as it planned its next technological steps.
For one Chinese tire manufacturer, Cimcorp increased production by 3,800 more tires daily, lowered labor costs 75% and achieved overall plant utilization to 96.5% by replacing manual operations. Cimcorp gantry robot technology maintains a strategic buffer between tire building machines and curing presses, eliminating constraints. This combines with a warehouse control system to make up Cimcorp's Dream Factory solution.
Cimcorp plans to pull data out of automation systems, which is siloed away from operational data, and expose it in customer portals to help them improve their operations. Turning maintenance and operational history into something of value will enable Cimcorp to servitize its solutions — adding a value-added service made of the massive stores of data generated by the systems it provides to customers.
Assuring Cimcorp's ‘moment of service'
For Cimcorp, this servitization of its products and the data they generate is about delivering a moment of service — that point where everything comes together to create value and better outcomes for its clients, whether they're in its Ulvila, Finland base or across Europe, or in its Canadian and US subsidiaries. The data has value to the customer, but it cannot be leveraged unless it is put into the context of operational data in IFS Cloud.
Cimcorp has been through previous phases of digitization, including bringing information scattered across the business into one system, reducing operational inefficiencies and removing unnecessary workload. The company is entering this new phase, adding value to customers — not by selling more capital equipment, but packaging data intelligently for customer decision support.
This is also about Cimcorp helping its customers to deliver the moment of service to optimum effect for their own end customers. This means every internal process must have taken place successfully, on time and to high quality so the service or product customers have paid for comes to them when they need it and exactly how they expect it. Tero Peltomäki, CEO at Cimcorp explains:
Ultimately our customer experience relies on the happiness of the end-customer, how our customers can serve their customers the best. As an automation provider, we enable things. In this fast-paced world consumers expect fast and error-free deliveries. We provide turnkey automation solutions for our customers, which enables fast deliveries, and ensures maximum uptime and full traceability.
The road to servitization
As a high-tech and development-oriented company in a competitive segment, Cimcorp acknowledges the importance of being a few steps ahead of its customers. With that in mind it has launched ‘Success Services', a range of wrap-around solutions — including a customer engagement center driven by an AI-driven omnichannel communication offering — for customers' after market needs. Many Cimcorp customers are longstanding and use the automation systems designed for them for years and sometimes even for decades. Cimcorp plans to leverage its next generation business software to capture and present customers with insights on their equipment and operations using an enhanced internet of things (IoT) data ingestion processes. They will also use data-driven insights, mobile work orders and other software to streamline after-sales processes for shorter delivery times and better pricing the parts and services. As Ilpo Nummelin, VP, Corporate Customer Support at Cimcorp, explains:
The ability to offer more equipment condition data and statistic-based services or parts to customers will widen our service portfolio. These new services can be also transferred to existing customers to benefit their operations and to create new revenue for us. The more we have data available, the more we have tools to provide value added services. Data is the key.
Innovation out of the box
The introduction of servitization and un-siloing of data is a crucial part of transitioning to a moment-of-service architecture. In Cimcorp's case, the company opted for a transition to IFS Cloud. The ability to access transformational technologies out of the box is central to Cimcorp's development roadmap — it wants to be a front runner serving existing customers well and gaining new ones, not to sit in the pack and mop up what the front runner leaves behind.
To maintain its momentum, Cimcorp must be agile and forward looking. It must provide customers with the services they need and develop new offerings, so they are ready before customers realize they want them. This had been a challenge as while Cimcorp's enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution enabled integration with IoT data flows, it lacked tools to use that data to train machine learning models and help the system learn and improve recommendations or insights over time. This and other capabilities are built into its new platform to speed time to market for new data-driven servitization offerings.
This forward-looking ambition, which prioritises the moment of service, can only be achieved when data is free of silos and able to be put to its broadest yet most focused use at every opportunity. When the goal is reducing unnecessary work, saving time and money, and helping customers realise their own ambitions, the future is not about building pipes between product category and vendor silos but about blowing up the silos through a controlled demolition so a company is free to solve problems more quickly and easily.
Find out more about the Cimcorp story at the launch of IFS Cloud on 10 and 11 March.