Service that looks forward

-- FROM THE FULL PICTURE MAGAZINE -- Response time and quality service are key factors to providing customer satisfaction. Kongsberg Maritime focuses on both, by getting closer to customers and by offering a more proactive approach to global service.

By 2016, Kongsberg Maritime will be servicing around 17,000 vessels worldwide. So, if there is anyone who needs to be at the top of his game, it would be the company's head of Global Customer Support, Lars Kristian Moen.

Kongsberg Maritime customers expect support that gives them an opportunity to plan necessary changes and upgrades in due time. To make this happen, Kongsberg Maritime will increase focus on Lifecycle Management during technology and product development, the delivery phase and the operational phase of each Kongsberg project. Planned, preventive maintenance has been identified by customers as one of the main factors for reducing service-related costs.

"For many of our large customers, downtime is by far the most expensive aspect of any service," says Moen. "Anything that can be done to prevent downtime pays off."

Moen points to Service Level Agreements and increased, improved communication as key ways for Kongsberg Maritime to enhance support for its customers.

Regional Service Hubs

Kongsberg Maritime has established a global organisation with Regional Service Hubs in Norway, Singapore, the United States and Brazil. The Brazilian hub, though relatively new, is undergoing rapid growth. In addition, the company runs dedicated offices in China, Korea, India, Dubai, Italy, Poland, Germany, Holland, the UK and Canada.

"We're steadily increasing our local presence. This year we will add dedicated Kongsberg offices in Greece and Mexico to accommodate the growing markets in these regions," says Moen.

Kongsberg has set up 24/7 on-call availability from its four service hubs, and Moen indicates that this capability will be pushed to additional markets.

Customer Relationship Management

To provide more efficient and accurate support in a global market, Kongsberg Maritime will introduce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) throughout its global organisation in the summer of 2011. CRM will store information related to the customer and the installation from initial sales to After Market Support. CRM will ensure that everyone in Kongsberg Maritime – from sales and marketing through the project delivery team to Customer Support – is on the same page in terms of specifications, the scope of supply, the services made, as well as past and on-going communication with the customer.

Access to the same real-time information means improved communication between Kongsberg and time-strapped clients. CRM information can be made available to customers who want to follow the status on their own installations through web-based access.

Key Support Managers

Kongsberg Maritime has for many years developed and delivered Integrated Automation Systems (IAS), including, for example, functionality such as Dynamic Positioning, Power Management Systems and Safety Systems. To support the large number of installations with IAS delivery and to meet the needs of customers operating internationally, more Key Support Managers will be appointed to focus on dedicated customers and ‘Full Picture' deliveries within applications such as Drilling and LNG.

"The Key Support Manager will also contribute to bridging the transition from the building and commissioning phase to the operational phase," says Moen.

Currently, this is normally a priority for fixed and floating installations with a large communications infrastructure, but it's being pushed into steadily more scenarios. It will one day be a must for everyone in the industry, but right now a few factors are slowing implementation:

  • Security: Operators are concerned that the IP links might not provide enough protection from unwanted access.
  • Benefit: Proven benefit from remote diagnostics compared with traditional ‘in person service'.
  • Expert-to-expert: Unfortunately, many early implementations have not involved two operational experts talking, but two IT guys sorting out communication issues related to, for example, Firewall configuration.

Predictability reduces downtime

Clearly, the theme for Kongsberg Maritime's customer service is changing from ‘incident and response' to 'plan and pre-empt'. By moving the service agenda to address technical issues before they are problems, both Kongsberg Maritime and clients benefit from predictability and reduced downtime.