Service over the course of an entire instrument’s lifetime
by Brabender, Germany
With its 5-Star Service, Brabender strives to keep downtimes as short as possible and the customers' operating costs low. The German lab equipment manufacturer, based in Duisburg, is offering a number of additional benefits in the category of 'Value-Added Services'. The company's principle, 'where quality is measured', not only fits perfectly to the material testing equipment but also to Brabender's services.
'We deliver more than just devices,' jokes Kai Kunicke, with the humor that is typical for the Ruhr region. With a wink, the Director of International Service at Brabender refers to the extensive service area of the highly traditional company.
'With our customer service, we want to be able to guarantee that our customers will get measurably high availability of their Brabender equipment. To this end, we feature various offers and are also developing new ones, partly with our customers.' The Brabender 5-Star Service includes five service areas that are all closely intertwined.
Star One: On-site service – Prevention instead of standstill
Inspection, maintenance and repair – Brabender offers these services at its customers' locations. Kai Kunicke clarifies, 'the worst case is when the device won't work at all, or no longer works flawlessly. This results in a standstill, necessary replacement parts have to be procured and the device must be repaired.
"This is why we take the precaution of replacing components when they are close to the end of their lifecycle. Sometimes this depends on the condition, but we also do this according to plan. That is how we avoid or minimise possible downtimes, which might result in significant follow-up costs for the customer. If you make well-considered provisions, you can avoid a standstill.'
After every inspection, maintenance or repair, Brabender service technicians write a detailed maintenance report that can be archived 1:1 in the equipment log, kept for the test equipment management.
'We have over 60 partners worldwide, most of whom also have their own service personnel with workshops. All in all, our 5-Star Service spans a tight net across the globe,' says Kai Kunicke.
Star Two: Spare parts – Using devices for the long-term
Brabender has continued to improve the logistics of its replacement part division over the years.
'Our customer service represents a replacement part supply that goes far beyond the ten years expected on the market. Our customers also get replacement parts for devices that are 20 years old or more,' Kunicke says proudly, for good reason.
Customers of the lab equipment specialist can trust in professional consultations, as well as the quick selection and delivery, of the required part. As the central contact point, the employees of the 24/7 service line help with the organisation of original replacement parts and consumables from the start.
To expand a device's range of functions or bring it technically up to date, Brabender offers upgrade kits.
'They are a solution for staying operational when suppliers have canceled replacement parts,' Kai Kunicke adds. 'With our replacement part service, our customers benefit from the long-term usability of their device and a predictable parts supply over many years.
Star Three: - Service line – 24/7, always available
To keep the downtimes of devices as short as possible, the customer service can always be reached – 24 hours, seven days a week. If there is a problem, the service line employees get all the gears moving to solve it for the customer quickly and conveniently.
As personal representatives, they support customers with the diagnosis and finding a solution, as well as in the selection and procurement of the required original replacement parts and consumables.
The employees of the 24/7 line are also involved in the coordination with the Brabender experts in Research and Development and in the organisation of service assignments – whether this is through remote maintenance or personally at the customer's site.
'Of course there is also the option to schedule a guaranteed response time with us,' Kai Kunicke explains. 'This happens as part of a service agreement. It clarifies that we can only implement this if the accessibility is given.'
Star Four: Factory service – Sophisticated rejuvenation
Every device must be overhauled at some point. Then employees of the factory service at Brabender's service shop repair the defective parts. They use original parts from Brabender, in this process, to extend the lifespan of the devices while also maintaining their value.
'When we complete the services on our premises, the customers won't have to pay the sometimes significant travel costs of a service technician. Wherever possible, we provide a loaner device so that work can continue without interference during that time,' the Service Manager, Kunicke, says about the Brabender Factory Service.
'We're not just speaking about a repair but also a sophisticated rejuvenation of the devices. If needed, our specialised department will also install new wiring and, if desired, apply a new finish.'
If customers have older devices, for which Brabender no longer has replacement parts in stock, Brabender offers a production according to the original drawings.
Kai Kunicke adds, 'In the end, we hand the customer an overhauled and operational device with a functionality and measurement ranges that largely meet the specifications of its construction year.'
This is extremely invaluable: all the data collected on the device by the customer with measuring methods that have been customised over the years can be used just like before.
For measuring devices that are no longer needed, but still functional, Brabender has set up the free sales platform Brabender Marketplace. All you have to do is register. In this way, the company contributes to sustainability.
Star Five – Value-added services
With a series of other benefits, Brabender offers added services that are truly special. Customers who want to go easy on their budgets, and still test the condition of their devices within the defined timeframe, can utiliseBrabender's inspection and maintenance contracts.
'A regular check-up ensures constantly correct measurements that are necessary for a flawless, continuous production process,' is how the Brabender Service Director describes the high benefit of the maintenance contracts.
'In the end, the customers can then avoid partially significant expenditures for handling complaints, not to mention damage to their reputation and image.'
Individual or standard – Reliability is what counts
Brabender customers can decide, individually, in which scope and how often the maintenance and inspections should take place.
'We generally provide solutions that follow the needs of the customers. The smallest service we can offer is an inspection. This can be upgraded to the Standard Preventive Service (SPS). In this process we replace parts, calibrate and perform control measurements. This package, in turn, can be expanded to include emergency responses with the Premium Service (PS), and with a guaranteed replacement device and short response time to the Full Premium Service (FPS).
'Everything can be combined – exactly as the customer wishes. For new devices, of course, this also includes an extension of the guarantee with an optional warranty extension,' the Service Director explains.
In the cycles for preventive maintenance, the Brabender 5-Star Service also shows flexibility: whether on a quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis – in addition to these customary repetitions, agreements with a two-year interval are available.
Kai Kunicke knows the benefits: 'If you have a maintenance contract, you can specifically plan the costs for each budget year. Many customers often have separate budgets for such expenses. The budget for repairs can then be freed up. '
As part of a maintenance contract, customers can get updates for the Brabender application software. The benefit is obvious: this avoids incompatibilities and the device's evaluation possibilities are improved. As an add-on for preventive maintenance, the Brabender service team offers emergency responses and remote maintenance. Both can be added to a maintenance contract for a fee.
Calibration Kit – Reference material for food and chemistry
The so-called Brabender Calibration Kit is a special 'service'. Brabender customers can use it to compare the projected and actual values on their devices by themselves. It consists of reference material, procedural instructions and the measurement result of this material as a reference that was obtained on master machines. They are used only for this material and must always deliver the same results.
This means that, anywhere in the world, devices that are tested with this reference material correspond with the master device, the 'original meter'. If this is ever not the case, the customer can discuss possible solutions directly with the customer service. From the measurement results, in turn, the Brabender service employees can draw important conclusions about the condition of the device.
At the same time they receive a catalog of procedures to return the device to the required condition. Regular checks with the Calibration Kit are possible for various devices in the food and chemical business areas and are easy to perform. It's worthwhile: if it goes well, the control measurements prevent expensive complaints, unnecessary waste or even damage to the company's reputation.
In the end, Brabender understand the sentence 'We deliver more than just devices' very well. The Brabender 5-Star Service offers comprehensive services, throughout the entire lifecycle of the devices. Even in case of complex problems, the experienced and competent service technicians always strive to help as quickly as possible. This deserves five stars, in the truest sense of the word.