- success story
SMS group: Pioneers of the digital service business
The service business is changing
The services offered by the SMS group have changed considerably over the last decades. Whereas in the past the supply of a spare part was already considered a service, today the customer is offered a broad portfolio of services for the entire service life of his plant. These offers already start with the delivery of a plant and include not only the mechanics, but also the area of electrics/ automation, digitization, and other technical services. Customers want to concentrate more on their core activities. For this purpose, the SMS group offers models for components, machines, and ancillary equipment, where customers no longer buy them but are provided with them together with further services. Models such as Software as a Service (SaaS) and Equipment as a Service (EaaS) are already very well received in the market. This makes the SMS group a true lifecycle partner that accompanies customers throughout the entire lifecycle of their machines and plants.
Digitalization at the SMS group
At present, the focus is particularly on digital solutions for collaboration over long distances. On the one hand, this concerns remote assistance, which allows employees to remotely access the system for troubleshooting and optimization after customer approval. On the other hand, customers are supported by means of augmented reality. Here, service technicians can be supported remotely by an expert via video image and audio signal while they are on site or customer employees. The expert sees through the eyes of the person on site and can provide targeted support. For example, this made some modernization work at customers’ sites possible in the first place, despite the Corona pandemic. Digitization will fundamentally change the service business and maintenance, so service is also involved in making the learning steel mill a reality. The SMS group has not only been active in the field of augmented and virtual reality since the beginning of the Corona pandemic, but for about 15 years. In the current situation, the SMS group benefits from the fact that the necessary technologies have already been in use for a long time. Thus, colleagues from China, India and Germany can now be guided through the digital twin and the customer can be supported via his glasses without being on site.
SMS group relies on symmedia
With symmedia‘s service portal, SMS group has a perfect infrastructure for remote support during and after commissioning. In general, SMS group delivers the technical possibility of remote support by symmedia with every new plant. Via the secure connection of the symmedia service portal, SMS group uses AR glasses on the plants and enables a direct exchange with customer specialists via chat, audio, video, or whiteboards. The tool is used during engineering and commissioning. In addition, there is now a mobile version that allows customer employees to initiate their service call directly from their smartphone. Within the global network of the SMS group, both software experts and technologists from the development departments are available to customers for questions. In this way, many ambiguities are solved right away. This reduces overall costs and increases performance.
Strong competition with remote service
As one of the world’s leading system suppliers of plants, machines and services along the entire metallurgical value chain, SMS group produces customized solutions – no two plants are alike. And the competition is tough. Increasing IT penetration, global networking and individual customer requirements are shaping developments in the steel industry. Remote service is the future – Ralf Mackenbach, Vice President Service Electrics/Automation, Center of Excellence Technical Service at SMS group, is convinced of this:
“In our company, we have been steadily driving the networking and digitization of the entire production process forward for years. Our remote service strategy naturally also includes innovative service products. We have been networking with our customers via symmedia’s service portal for more than 20 years and can thus support them during commissioning to make their processes as economical as possible. To be able to put the plants into operation economically, essential support services are provided from the SMS group headquarters. symmedia offers the suitable platform for this.” – Ralf Mackenbach
Worldwide, SMS group stands for future-oriented technology and outstanding service in mechanical and plant engineering for the metal industry. The company uses its 150 years of experience and digital know-how for continuous innovations even beyond its core business – and generates worldwide sales of around 2.6 billion euros. The company supports its customers throughout the entire life cycle of their plants, thereby enabling profitable, resource-saving value chains. Being a pioneer for a carbon-neutral and sustainable metals industry is the company’s declared goal. As a global player with German roots, SMS assumes responsibility for its approximately 14,500 employees.