GEA showcased a new cloud-based platform for digital services for the first time at IFFA 2019. This supplier-independent portal provides customers modern service solutions like remote maintenance, data analysis and comprehensive e-commerce and enables them to seamlessly integrate all their supplier interactions in one common platform. GEA won a key customer for a pilot project, starting with e-commerce for ordering spare parts, smaller components and technical service from GEA. The platform also includes a documentation part, where the customers are being provided with certificates, operating manuals and training documents, for example. The new portal will be launched in July 2019 for the first German customers, additional services will be implemented until the end of 2020, like Condition Monitoring, PLC connections and video support, just to name a few.
Digitalisation as a core innovation driver for GEA
One of GEAs core approaches is helping customers to use their plants in the most efficient manner to continuously increase quality and performance – rather than having to worry about keeping pace with changing trends. ‘Digitalisation will be a game changer in enabling to meet customers’ requirements especially as it facilitates more and cross-linked processes. Digitalisation is not just another buzzword. It’s a core innovation driver for GEA and our customers,’ explains Steffen Bersch, executive board member at GEA. ‘Regarding the new customer portal, we’ve taken a big step forward on our digitalization journey at GEA,’ he continues.
GEA Advance: new umbrella for digital solutions
‘Digitalisation has a customer-facing and an internal company related perspective. To develop our service excellence in both directions, we started the Advance initiative for GEA Service, which serves as an umbrella for all the new digital solutions we offer to our customers,’ adds Kerstin Altenseuer, head of Service Development at GEA. ‘The digital cooperation project enables us not only to create a new customer portal, but especially to understand the customers processes and optimise the collaboration by means of digital infrastructures. We do not want to do digitisation just for her sake – all our products shall be designed to provide the best possible service to customers,’ she concludes.
Functions of the customer portal in detail
As one of the sponsors of the start-up program MassChallenge Switzerland, GEA developed the digital cooperation channel for its service business with the winner of the 2016 competition, MachIQ. The MachIQ solution is supplier-independent and can also be integrated with most ERP systems, enabling seamless digitization from the customer to supplier. The MachIQ portal itself has two functional modules, one for the Customer Machine Management and the other for the Supplier Service Portfolio Management. Both solutions are running on a cloud-based platform in secured, private areas. There are two fundamental advantages with this IT set-up, one the customer can connect to any number of suppliers with the same portal and the second is that the customer decides what data should be shared with each individual Supplier and which OEM services he wants to consume.
Great demand for comprehensive solution
Various GEA customers already confirmed the demand for this open platform. For example, one of the 10 largest dairies in Germany has already procured the license for the MachIQ-portal for all their production sites. Also, one of the biggest supermarket chains in Germany and key customers in the beverage and food industry show keen interest in using the system and are clarifying technical details with GEA and MachIQ.