Two years ago, I sat with the customer technical support team of a large machine building company (OEM) at their headquarters in Uzwil, Switzerland. We were brainstorming ideas of how my employer at the time, a leading supplier of automation components, could help OEMs support their customers better.
I was amazed by the OEM’s commitment to achieve zero downtime for its customers. They often went beyond contracted SLA’s to ensure that their customers never suffered from outages. Coming from the technology world, I took for granted all the tools that we used – smartphones, instant messaging, video calling, file sharing, screen sharing and social networks. I assumed all these tools were at play in the industrial technical support workplace. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Most OEMs still support customers via telephone calls. Often, its impossible to diagnose issues and repair complex machines if one can’t even see them. The popular solution then is to fly engineers onsite at very short notice to aid their customers. Heroic maybe, but is it still the best means available? The technologist in me said why don’t we just adopt IoT and connect all these machines and remotely monitor all these machines with state of the art visualization technology so we can predict failure even before it occurs? Yeah, right!!!
During the next few months, I spoke to several small manufacturers – from catering companies in France to rice millers in rural India, from breweries in the Czech republic to automobile component manufacturers in Germany. I discovered the disconnect between the world reimagined by folks in Silicon Valley and the reality of many small manufacturers. While we cite trends like IIOT, Industrie 4.0 and IT/OT Convergence, the vast majority of players in the industrial world tend to be small/medium businesses with little or no IT. NO ERP, NO CRM, NO SCADA! It was a re-education of sorts! The path to connected manufacturing will be a long one with change management required at epic levels. Guiding small companies on this path became my personal vision.
I was fortunate to find a collaborator who was as amazed by the disparity in the use of technology in manufacturing. Together, we wondered what if?
- What if small OEM’s could use modern tools to deliver technical support remotely?
- What if they could seamlessly connect with their suppliers to help them diagnose and solve problems inside their customer’s machines?
- What if any customer can access support at the click of a button without the hassles of finding customer support hotline numbers and without emptying office cabinets to look for warranty documents?
- And more profoundly, what if all this can be done without the need to invest in long painful IT projects?
We have been so fixated by these questions that we had to build the answer. And so we built MachIQ, an industrial equipment and services marketplace with integrated tools to deliver remote technical support.
At MachIQ, we decided to adopt every OEM’s obsession as our own – ZERO DOWN TIME. We want to help Small/Medium sized companies buy better equipment at more competitive prices from more reliable suppliers who share our drive for unbeatable customer service. We are committed to offer suppliers the most powerful tools available for offer presentation, pre-sales interactions and remote customer support. All our services – our marketplace, our advanced chat rooms with video calling & screen sharing are accessible anywhere and from any device. Today, we are launching MachIQ and throwing it open to the world. We are going to build the largest knowledge-base for servicing equipment from any brand. We invite OEM’s, components and supplies manufacturers to join us by listing their products and services to reach out to our users. Come and interact with your customers on www.machiq.com like you have never been able to before.