Doing business in a post-boom market has its challenges, and according to FLSmidth, its newly established Site Services division is allowing the company to get closer to customers and in doing so is helping them overcome some of the issues they face to achieve cost savings.
Since the acquisition of Ludowici and MIE in 2012, FLSmidth said it has been working to integrate their spare parts business with their technical advisory capability and specialized field service offering. The end result is Site Services; a division that allows FLSmidth to offer customers complete life-cycle support for equipment, including turnkey installation, shutdown maintenance, breakdown maintenance and service-based product support in the field.
“The market has proven to be quite creative in its ability to rein in the boom, making adjustments and working with OEMs to obtain cost savings,” said Paul Clifton, FLSmidth’s Australian Site Services manager. “With capital and construction on the decline and maintenance and shutdown on the rise, FLSmidth is in an ideal position to achieve further cost savings for customers and add value to their business through our Site Services division,” said Clifton. “Our parts people, technical advisors and field specialists now work as one team.”
“For example, we had a customer who had an unusually high turnover of a particular spare part. Upon identifying this, our spare parts people called in our technical experts. We were able to recommend a solution that was delivered by our field personnel; the solution not only saw a reduction in spare parts turnover, it saved the customer downtime and a considerable amount of money. As you can see, Site Services is very focused on getting to the root cause of a problem and finding a solution that works now and in the long term.”
“Importantly, despite the integration, we’ve managed to maintain our service levels—we are still very responsive; for example, any customer faced with a breakdown on a Friday can expect to have someone on site by Sunday,” Clifton said. “These are the kinds of service levels you might expect impossible for a large company like us to meet, but our new Site Services division is consistently meeting them.”
FLSmidth’s Site Services division comprises 11 base staff working an 8/6 roster. However, the company can quickly mobilize as many as 140 staff for a major event. On a recent occasion, the team put 6,500 personnel hours into a customer’s major shutdown. The team follows a critical path process that sees jobs completed on deadline.
They also use job satisfaction as their motivator for getting on site and getting things done quickly and cost effectively. “As a service organization we’re in daily contact with our customers so we have a full appreciation of the problems they face,” Clifton said. “We take great satisfaction from solving their problems, assisting in emergency breakdowns, saving them money and downtime and getting things up and running as they should be as quick as we can. For us it’s very much about giving our customers what they want, not what we think they want. We recognize the forces that drive the market and the customer, and we respect these.”
FLSmidth said that Site Services’ work isn’t just paying dividends for customers; it’s also opening up opportunities for the company offshore. “We’re branching into global projects in Kenya, Ghana, Mongolia and Vietnam,” Clifton said. “The work we are doing in these countries isn’t just about lifecycle support; we’re also sharing our skills with the local workforce and in doing so we’re improving the local skill base.”
According to Clifton, FLSmidth Site Services will continue to take a holistic view of all aspects of maintenance, including preventative maintenance. “It’s about providing a complete service, reliable service information, savings and increased value,” Clifton said. “Of course, we need to help customers to understand what value represents. It’s not just about the cost of product; it’s about the cost of service as well.”