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The value of support whenever you need it

20 April 2018

Food Processing spoke with Colin Maher, sales manager at Minebea Intec, about how and why the company has ramped up its product inspection equipment service offering to provide a 24/7 service. 

Q: What prompted this decision to introduce a 24/7 service?

We have known for some time that, in order to maintain our high level of service, we would need to offer 24 hour cover to our customers. The food industry has had to meet ever greater demands year on year, with most running at full capacity and 24 hours a day. The one machine that is guaranteed to stop a production line if it fails is foreign contamination inspection equipment. We introduced the Premier Plus level of service in 2015. This offered customers guaranteed response times and a dedicated number that provided technical support from 8am until 8pm. The 24 hour service was a natural progression from this.

Q: So, what happens when a customer needs a callout?
The engineers are on a weekly rota and our customers have a dedicated number to call between the hours of 8.30 – 17.30. They will be put through to the engineers dispatchers. It will be displayed on their screens that the call coming in is from a Premium Plus 24 hour customer so they know it is a priority. After 17.00 and up until 8.30 the following day the dedicated number is automatically diverted to the on call engineer. Again, the call will be displayed as coming from a Premium Plus 24 hour customer. We are lucky that we have so many engineers because we also maintain industrial weighing equipment, tank, hopper and vessel weighing systems. This means our engineers are multi-trained to work on a wide variety of equipment. We offer guaranteed response times from as little as six hours 24/7. Of course not everyone needs such a quick response so we have four levels of contract to suit all requirements.

Q: Are there any other customer benefits offered with the service?
Yes, we appreciate that our customers are busy people so we also include a faster method of getting an engineer to site with a dedicated SMS text message service. Premium Plus and Premium Plus 24 customer can send a text message highlighting a problem and then they will receive a telephone call back within two minutes of sending the text from our dedicated customer service.

Q: What is the service cost to the customer?
As part of our move from Sartorius Intec to Minebea Intec we had the opportunity to bring sales and service closer together, one of the benefits of this was that we could offer guaranteed discounts on new equipment to our service contract customers. The level of discount depends on the level of service contract. For example, if a Premium Plus customer buys a new combination checkweigher or X-ray they can save several thousands of pounds which can offset the cost of the service contract. The nice thing for us is that this also rewards our customers for their loyalty. In addition we have guaranteed discounts on labour and spare parts the level again dependent on the level of contract.

Q: What if an engineer arrives and he does not have a part to fix the equipment?
Part of the 24 hour service contact ensures that critical spare parts are stored on site. Our customers engineers must be classroom trained to at least level 4 of our training curriculum. Training is very important but is often overlooked. A poorly trained operator is likely to blame the equipment rather than their own skill levels so all our training is a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ scenario and comes with our own certification to allow them to work on the equipment.

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