Trade fairs such as the Interphex 2016 are more than mere platforms for presenting new machinery. They also offer the opportunity to exchange information with regard to current requirements on technical support and consulting. In New York City, Fette Compacting will be availing of the opportunity to interact with American and international pharmaceutical customers in order to find out what they expect of a machine manufacturer: from individual service through around-the-clock availability to secure digital networking. Insights into this issue are provided by Lars Plüschau, Director Global Customer Support.
Mr Plüschau, what do you want to know from visitors to the Interphex?
We want to talk to them about what they expect in the line of support by the machine manufacturer. How should an after-sales service be structured nowadays? What expectations do customers have, especially for the future? In practice, these requirements are often very individual which is why Fette Compacting has aligned Global Customer Support in such a way that each user can compile services which are optimally tailored to his respective requirements.
What requirements do customers in the USA in particular make of Support?
Pharmaceutical production in the USA is characterized by both high piece numbers and frequent product changes. The US market remains one of the most important markets for us. This was what we were counting on 25 years ago when Fette Compacting established its first subsidiary in New Jersey. And our breakthrough was successful that same year thanks to new tablet presses featuring quick-change rotors. Until today, the issues of flexibility and speed still determine service in the USA. We continue to work intensively on this, for example, in the form of numerous training offers for optimal expertise on the part of users. In addition, the future will see us reduce delivery times worldwide for punches, dies and segments with our newly-established Tableting Tools Business Unit. And last but not least, we have aligned the range for optimizing plants even more strongly toward the customer - likewise worldwide.
What is new in terms of plant optimization and what benefits do customers have as a result?
What's new is that our experts offer tailored packages for optimizing plants enabling us to specifically increase machine availability by revising Tool and Maintenance Management, for example. We can concentrate on output by improving the coordination of products and machinery. But product quality and overall performance are also key parameters which we can significantly improve through specific consulting. For customers, this means that they can further increase their efficiency even when processes are already running very well. This enables them to ensure that the performance potential offered by their plants is in fact exploited in full.
What advantages does around-the-clock support offer your customers?
Fette Compacting has established a global network of service technicians in order to offer comprehensive support. Key hubs are represented by our Competence Centers in the USA, Brazil, Germany, India and China. Particularly swift support is made possible by the remote service offered by the digital service portal which we operate in collaboration with our partners at Excellence United. In the event of a fault, qualified technicians can swiftly make diagnoses via webcam and remote access, and guide the user in terms of troubleshooting. This dispenses with a technician travelling to the site and the machine is back in production mode faster.
Is the service portal of particular interest for the American market?
That is one of the questions we would like to clarify with visitors to the Interphex. The network is available and the new machines have already been equipped as standard with the requisite hardware and software for the past twelve months. Most older machines can be easily upgraded. We merely need to extend the service technicians' response times to include the time zones of additional customers - a task we can reliably solve in terms of manpower.
Considering all the reservations associated with data protection, how secure is the portal?
The portal is TÜV IT-certified and therefore complies with the maximum safety standards. A connection between the server in the machine and the client - in this case Fette Compacting - can only ever be set up by the user, for example. Accordingly, we implement the four-eye principle recommended by IT experts which involves remote maintenance only with the customer's approval. Once a connection is set up, it is encrypted and must be authenticated via role-specific SSL certificates. All user actions are stored in LOG files to protect from manipulation. This enables us to guarantee entirely secure remote maintenance.