KBA-Sheetfed Solutions AG & Co. KG in Radebeul is putting its money on innovative service solutions. The machine-specific 2D online spare parts catalog was generated using CATALOGcreator® software and is now available to customers worldwide on any end device via the KBA customer portal.
KBA-Sheetfed Solutions AG & Co. KG in Radebeul, near Dresden, is the largest business unit of Koenig & Bauer AG, founded in Würzburg in 1817. It is responsible for the development, construction, distribution and aftersales service of all Rapida sheetfed offset presses. That includes digital sheetfed printers for printing packaging and other equipment for print finishing.
The project entitled “Electronic Spare Parts Catalog” was initiated in 2003 at the KBA office in Radebeul. Spare parts had been ordered from print or PDF catalogs as standard up to that time. Creating the catalogs was a laborious process. Not only that: the catalogs accurately reflected the machines’ development only at the time of issue.
KBA set about making machine-specific spare parts catalogs with daily updates available online. At the beginning of October 2007, KBA launched its first machine-specific 2D online catalog for a test customer in Ukraine. Thereafter, the electronic spare parts catalog was subject to continual improvement and is now standard for all sheetfed offset printers in the “Rapida” series.
Nowadays, upon delivery of its products, in addition to the usual documentation, the customer also receives an “online access” letter with information on accessing the KBA portal, including web address, login and password. Thanks to a login tailored to his needs, the customer sees only the machinery he is actually using.
“We have been working intensively on the topic of “mobile communication” within our company over the past three years. The aim of the current project in collaboration with TID Informatik GmbH, with whom we have had a very good working relationship over a number of years, was to display the online catalog on the widest possible variety of mobile end devices with touch functionality”, explained Jörg Hennig, Technical Documentation Group Manager. He emphasized that the success of such a project also requires close internal co-ordination spanning various departments and areas.
The 2D spare parts catalog has now been optimized for platform-independent viewing on desktop computers or mobile end devices and can be accessed via the KBA customer portal. Using a touch screen, users can navigate the catalog on their mobile end device with ease.
Users of the Rapida series not only have the option of ordering spare parts by phone, PC or laptop; they can now also order direct using the app on their tablet or smartphone. The KBA portal functions like a “cloud” and will play an even greater role in future communication with the user.
The CATALOGcreator® software for electronic spare parts catalogs offers a further benefit – up-to-the-minute data. Any amendments made to the machine will be updated in the spare parts catalog, rendered afresh and made available online via the KBA portal. Consequently, the user has access to his carefully maintained, up-to-date catalog at any time. In this way, the process of ordering spare parts has become a good deal more reliable and secure.
Another advantage is that the online catalog corresponds entirely with the itemized parts list and is therefore 100% machine-specific. This will result in the minimization of incorrect deliveries. In addition, the software allows for machine-specific lists to be created, e.g. of worn parts or consumables.
And this is how it works: The online catalog for spare parts offers an attractive user interface. Active images with hotspot functionality allow for intuitive navigation. Taking the machine as a whole as his starting point, by drilling down to units and modules the customer can find the part required. That is placed in the shopping basket and the order request sent to the company.
Use of the search and ordering functions for the spare part is similar to how one would expect from one’s experience of online shopping. Each order is generated as an email (or, alternately, as a fax) and forwarded to the relevant KBA branch office responsible for the customer. After receiving the request, the branch office checks that the order is feasible and provides the customer with an offer tailored to his specific needs.
Experiences and Outlook
The service department compiles statistics to see how many hits the online catalog receives. This allows analysis even of the number of hits received in the territories covered by individual branch offices. The tendency to access the online catalog has grown disproportionately in recent years. The Technical Documentation Manager traces this development back to customers’ private lives, in which mobile communication methods and possibilities have greatly increased and will continue to do so.
One important realization during the project was that not only did we want to provide a new way of ordering products; we also wanted to actively communicate with internal and external target groups about it. KBA uses customer and employee newsletters and information events for employees in the service department, for example, to continuously bring the online catalog to their attention.
KBA has already determined its next goal: Developing a more “proactive service”. Apps that communicate digitally with printers will offer further opportunities to simplify and accelerate work processes in the foreseeable future and inform customers in advance of upcoming maintenance or repairs. Additionally, the project team is testing if it is also possible to create 3D spare parts catalogs in future.
Collaborating with TID Informatik GmbH has always produced very good results and has been ideal for projects implementing the KBA-Sheetfed Solutions AG & Co. KG electronic spare parts catalog. “It would be unimaginable for us to return to the way things were prior to the introduction of CATALOGcreator®. We feel that we are in good hands with TID Informatik GmbH and that they understand our needs, including those in relation to future projects”, summarizes Jörg Hennig, Technical Documentation Group Manager.
“The processes used to create spare parts catalogs have been greatly streamlined since the introduction of the electronic versions and its benefits have improved significantly: up-to-date, machine-specific online catalogs, a reduction in incorrect orders, and apps available across any type of end device.” In the summer of 2016 KBA went live with the latest version of CATALOGcreator® and the mobile apps. At this stage, the company had already made more than 1,300 machine-specific spare parts catalogs available on its system.