The economic shockwave of the last 2 years or so shows some signs of passing, most of our customers are notably busier than in previous months with production patterns returning to what might be considered more normal levels. We have yet to see what permanent damage will remain and what gaps in knowledge remain. In our own industry several companies have reduced their support capability, through forced staff reductions. I am pleased to note that Mori Seiki UK made no such reductions and has remained focussed on support during these difficult times and ready for the better times to come. This long term commitment and approach has been seen by some as bold and is based upon our belief that people and the knowledge of our products and the training we have carried out is the correct foundation for our future business.
With every cycle of the economy the conditions change and the demands become greater, always based upon a ‘more for less’ approach meaning that engineering activity needs to be done better. Along the way some of the activities which are good practice but taken for granted are lost and at some point need to be re started. We find that many customers do not prioritise basic machine maintenance and associated training, also as a result of staff changes the knowledge of machine maintenance or operation is lost or much reduced.
In the search for greater cost savings many companies see the use of local independent maintenance companies (often individuals) as the appropriate route forward. We see a gradual increase in the calls to attend machines which have been out of production for some time whilst repairs are attempted and eventually fail resulting in a call to us to make a quick repair.
The approach to certain products of ours needs a new view and in the product set handled by UK Service these are some of the changes.
Preventative Maintenance: For sometime we and others have offered Preventative Maintenance based upon a one size fits all approach. Whilst the standard checklist will still suit many we will now offer a configurable list allowing customers to select the items which they would like us to carry out and identify those items which they can complete in-house.
Training: We would like to encourage customers to attend maintenance training courses. There are many tasks which with some training customers’ staff could carry out making machine recovery quicker and less expensive. This is particularly applicable to re aligning lathes/turning machines following collisions. We can provide training at your site or at one of our two UK locations or at our European Training Centre in Stuttgart. Courses can range from introductions up to the courses our own people attend to learn about new products or techniques.
The general approach to customer support has been to wait for your call to us. We would like to move towards a more proactive approach where we express greater interest in our products in use. To this end we will ask our field based service staff to make contact with customers on a regional basis. We hope that we will be able to learn of any questions you have and offer solutions to your difficulties though either our support services or introduction to our current range of new machines.
Finance has been a difficult topic recently and Mori Seiki UK have recognised this and have established an in house team and facility to assist in your purchase of new machines both Mori Seiki and Taiyo Koki.
It does appear that the manufacturing community in the UK is again gearing up, it will no doubt present challenges not least because the overall knowledge of machine tools and their correct use is diminished. At Mori Seiki UK we are working to make sure that we have the knowledge and processes to support you in the use of our machines. In parallel I would draw your attention particularly to products to limit your exposure to breakdown and more likely accidental damage.
We have invested in the difficult times because we want to grow our business and market share. We believe that our machines are world class and that we can help you in your manufacturing business.
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