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New sales and after-sales structure

03.04.18 - As reported before, TRACTO-TECHNIK is structurally and organisationally realigning itself under the motto "Fit for Future" with regard to the needs of customers and markets by means of a large number of measures. For this reason, for example, NODIG's production facilities in Lennestadt will be merged to create a modern line assembly facility, linked to a state-of-the-art logistics centre. Simultaneously with these changes in physical structure, the structures and responsibilities of the various organisational units were adapted accordingly. Because the customer is always the centre of attention, the most extensive changes affect sales and service for the entire product range. In recent months, numerous strategic measures have already been implemented there to guarantee effective, fast and sustainable national and international service before, during and after the purchase of a machine. We talked to our National Sales Manager Kai Bernhardt and after-sales manager André Gwosdek about the purpose and content of the individual measures and how they interact. Tractuell: Mr. Bernhardt, a lot has happened in the Nodig sales department, both structurally and in terms of personnel. Please tell us more about it and how exactly our customers will benefit from these changes in the future.

K. Bernhardt: That's right, a lot has actually changed. After all, we have recognized in our in-depth analysis of the existing structures that we need to reposition ourselves strategically in order to be able to react as quickly and comprehensively to the needs of our customers as we demand of ourselves. With this knowledge, we have then taken decisive steps in sales and service. The decisive factor for both areas is the bundling of expertise within the scope of "directional and non-directional drilling technology". On this basis, we have established sales product management in order to be able to react more quickly to market developments and to take customer requirements into account as far as possible in the development and optimisation of products and accessories. Since the beginning of the year, we also possess a digital quotation configurator which allows our sales staff to compile machines and equipment according to customer requirements. And in order to offer our customers even better local services, we are upgrading our nationwide branches so they can serve as Customer Centres.

Tractuell: What are the effects of these structural changes on the staffing level, have there been any alterations or are they to be expected?

K. Bernhardt: Of course, all this has an influence on the staffing. On the one hand, we have increased our staff and hired an experienced Used Machine Manager to achieve the best possible trade-in price for our customers. In addition, we have already arranged for medium-term succession planning in the field of sales force to achieve smooth periods of transition and allow the customers to get to know their new contacts in good time. And last but not least, we have restructured the German sales sectors and bundled and boosted our competencies in the interest of faster regional availability. In parallel, a new service structure was anchored in the After Sales department, for which André Gwosdek is responsible.

Tractuell: Mr. Gwosdek, how did you proceed to set up after sales service optimally and what measures did you take? What will be new or better for the machine user?
 
A. Gwosdek: First, we also analysed precisely to find the weak points and make out what can be done to ensure an even more effective service from a single source for our customers all over the world, especially after a machine sale. Keywords here are "spare parts supply" and of course the "maintenance and repair service" at our locations and the customer's site. We have set the strategic course for this by assigning the organisation of the sectors telephone service, Customer Centre, service training, accessories, locating technology, truck assembly and complaints management to the after-sales department. This means that all areas required for effective service are joined together under one roof.
 
Tractuell:  How did you proceed with the practical implementation, what are the focal points?
 
A. Gwosdek: Of the large number of specific steps that we have developed on the basis of this service structure, the first to be implemented were those from which customers benefit immediately. One of the first was the introduction of new used machine and follow-up warranties under the heading "GRUNDOplus". Another important step was the engagement of Manuel Reichling as a Service Trainer. As a result, we are now in a position to systematically train our own service technicians as well as those of our sister companies and sales partners in directional and non-directional drilling technology. For our customers, this means faster trouble check and repair. As the next important step, we have set up a central service hotline to forward all enquiries to the right contact person at once. In order to be able to provide on-site help even more quickly in the event of warranty or damage, the teams for warranty settlement and decentralised service have been increased. This lays the foundation for an ideal service but, as was mentioned before, these are only the first steps.

Tractuell: Particularly interesting for established and potential customers in Germany is the new structure of the Customer Centres and sales regions. How is this structure going to be represented in the future and why in this way?
 
K. Bernhardt: As a Customer Centre, our branches will be the central competent contact for all customers in the region with their demands and questions, but also for the service of the entire product range. In the course of upgrading regional competencies, it was only logical to reorganize the sales district Germany accordingly. The outcome of this was four sales regions with ten sales districts which move us closer to our customers so we can react without delay. As already mentioned, we differentiate between directional and non-directional drilling technology, so that there are two distribution channels. The sales staffs of both channels are familiar with the complete product range and can advise on any article, but the customer has only one contact person - depending on his own focus on drilling technology. In this way, our employees have more time for the customer's concerns and can support them in an even more targeted manner.
 
Tractuell: To what extent does this reorganisation also affect the after sales and service for the users of our NODIG systems?
 
A. Gwosdek: As Kai Bernhardt has already said, the Customer Centres will offer the complete service for directional and non-directional drilling technologies in the medium term. This is particularly advantageous for our customers in the fast-growing field of HDD technology, which we can provide for with greater speed and more comprehensively with regard to maintenance, repair and supply of spare parts and accessories. In order to better coordinate our own capacities and activities, we have divided Germany into two service districts - northeast and southwest. The Customer Centres therefore belong to one district, which bundles and allocates all inquiries. This speeds up our internal processes enormously and also the reaction time for our customers.
 
Tractuell: You have really invested a lot of time and effort in setting up both fields of business activity in the best possible way for the future. Hence the final inquiries to both of you, do you have a message for the customers?
 
K. Bernhardt: We know that not everything is running perfectly yet and that there is still a lot to be done until we can meet all demands. Therefore I just want to say "thank you" to our customers and ask them to continue placing their confidence in us.
 
A. Gwosdek: Even though we have already achieved a great deal, we are aware that there is still a lot of untapped potential for an optimal and modern after-sales service, like including digital services in our range of offers. We hope to be able to present concrete products at the Bauma 2019.
 
Tractuell: Mr Bernhardt, Mr Gwosdek, thank you for the interview.
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