Customer Service MySPARES - How it all began...

Welcome to the new MySPARES blog.

Let me introduce myself shortly. My name is Ralph Viebrock and I am leading the Customer Service department of LOESCHE in Düsseldorf. I joint LOESCHE in November 2000 and worked in the so called 'After Sales Service', supporting customers to keep their mills up-to-date. After a few years I took over leadership of the spare part department.

In 2015 I was convinced that the LOESCHE Customer Service should have a platform where all kinds of service-related digital interaction are provided. I introduced my ideas to the LOESCHE management and received green light to create electronic spare part catalogues and make them available via an online service platform.

Everything started with MoSCoW. We kicked-off in early 2016 and did a brainstorming with six core team members. The catalogue for easy part identification and quote requesting was of course our main topic. But how should the look and feel be? Which features were required and which were just nice to have?
'Must' or 'Should', 'Could' or 'Won't' - short: MoSCoW.

It sounds easy, but that was already a first challenge for us. During the coming months a few of our 'Shoulds' turned into 'Coulds' or were just postponed to a later stage as they turned out to be much more complicated as expected.

During the concept phase six to eight teams worked on different aspects in full-day workshops every week.
One team took care of SAP, another one worked on price-related issues, platform and interface development, homepage and content topics, and so on.
We had to discuss, review and sometimes dismiss and rework nearly everything. We created workflows from scratch or revised existing ones. It took finally six months to finish the blueprints for the prototyping phase and to present the concept to the steering committee at LOESCHE.

The challenges continued, even after the prototype phase started. This phase required another eight months of programming SAP transactions, creating content, editorial and illustrative work, and - of course - troubleshooting. We started the evaluation of a first release of our service platform including the very first two catalogues in March 2017. One cannot believe how many small things went wrong or required minor or in some cases even major revision. But with a small delay, we could finish this prototyping phase successfully.

Our pilot customer helped a lot during evaluation and we could release his electronic spare part catalogues and start the operative phase in April 2017. Guess what? Our pilot customers feedback elongated the list of 'Should' or 'Could' even more. I am excited to start working on the next feature release.

Right now we are busy creating more catalogues to serve more customers. It is a challenging and time-consuming process but definitely worth the effort. We aim to finish approx. 200 catalogues for publishing until 2018.

In September 2017,  LOESCHE celebrates 111th years of innovative engineering with a great Symposium at the Maritim Hotel in Düsseldorf. I am proud to present our platform and the spare part catalogue during Session 1 on the 7th September. I will keep on blogging and let you know how it ended up.

Cheers, Ralph