The worldwide localisation of service and spare parts management are the main elements in the KHS’ service concept for 2020. The way this works in the field is illustrated by KHS Machines Nigeria (KHS).
Fuchs, the service and spare parts manager at KHS has been working at the company in Lagos for six years. Since 2013, Fuchs has been responsible for service in the West African region. He says 14 years ago, three engineers from Germany launched the service point in Nigeria.
‘It goes without saying, for most inquiries additional engineers had to travel to Nigeria from Germany. This is only necessary in the most rare cases,’ Fuchs notes.
He currently heads a team of 31 electronics and automotive engineers, including mechanics, one of whom is from Germany. The rest are locals.
Michael Kloss, the managing director of the West African branch of KHS says the amount of local staff employed by KHS is a great stride for the company. Its team consists of 70 employees, and Kloss says, ‘Fuchs is the right man in the right place’.
‘Thanks to the commitment of our young service manager, we’ve become faster and flexible. Our local service staff are more loyal than they used to be and extremely motivated in their work because they now feel much more integrated,’ he adds.
This development is primarily attributed to the intensive and constant training measures implemented by the company. These are to professionally prepare KHS engineers for their assignments with customers and boost their confidence.
In 2016, a total of 250 training days took place for the team in Nigeria.
‘We’re on the right track,’ adds Kloss.
Finding the right personnel
Fuchs was aware that developing and upskilling the Nigerian team over a short period would be a challenge. The sheer volume of applications that had been triggered by KHS job offers surprised him.
‘There were about 5 000 applicants for each position. Although many people want the jobs, it is not easy to find suitable expert personnel. In 2015, we planned on hiring four electronics engineers. We ended up hiring three. At the end of the day our selection process proved its worth; the people we ultimately opted for are so good that we can almost send them straight out to the customer,’ he explains.
In addition, Kloss says the challenge is getting employees to stay with the company for the long term. ‘Employees are very salary oriented in Nigeria. Loyalty to the employer is sometimes a secondary concern.’
Jörg Beckmann, head of service sales and field service coordination at KHS in Dortmund and Hamburg, says the company’s central aspect of its service concept for 2020 is localisation.
KHS is expanding its local offices, which includes the number of personnel and company scope.
‘In doing so, we’re bringing the machine expertise in different regions up to a level that accommodates our customers. Besides creating greater proximity to the customer, the concept also aims to cut down on the travel times for engineers to reach remote destinations. This saves on time and costs, and drastically reduces reaction time to customers’ requests,’ he concludes.