At Tetra Pak’s global service organization, it is not just about fixing things that are broken. The service solution portfolio takes a holistic and proactive view to offer customers support for the long run. Bart Spuijbroek, Cheese Service Manager Europe, summarizes the ambitions.
“Our main goal is to allow customers to focus on their passion: to make cheese. Their expectations on us as a company, and rightly so, are to deliver the right plant – and to keep it running,” he says.
The commissioning, and getting new equipment into production, is just the start of the process. Cheese production equipment will run for many years, and during its life it will need new parts and maintenance. Tetra Pak focuses on being involved all the way, throughout the full equipment lifecycle. Todd Stertz, Cheese Services Manager Americas, explains:
“We focus on the customer experience and relations from day one. After commissioning a plant or a piece of equipment, we will continue to work with the customer to ensure their needs are met through the full equipment lifecycle. Our comprehensive service portfolio helps us support those needs by providing parts, training, maintenance, equipment upgrades or anything else the customer would need.”
We provide complete solutions to our customers including components such as pumps, valves, measuring instruments, tank equipment and automation & electrical. These components are sold with complete project solutions or standalone to always stay in tune with customer needs and the latest innovations.
When it comes to maintenance, today Tetra Pak cheese equipment primarily takes a preventive maintenance approach. The long-term goal is to move toward prescriptive maintenance. The basic idea today is that a proactive approach minimizes downtime and costs.
“As much business as possible is local, but we have a global way of working and access to a global center of expertise. All maintenance on cheese equipment, whether it's installed in the US, New Zealand, Germany or wherever, is done in the same way. We have one maintenance system, TPMS – an acronym for Tetra Pak Maintenance System – that can mobilize our field service engineers anywhere in the world. The supply chain is also global. With a number of warehouses in strategical geographical locations to support our business, we pride ourselves in having parts available globally to support our equipment. If a part is needed in the Netherlands, it will be the same quality and specification as the one we deliver in Australia,” says Bart Spuijbroek.
Traditionally, a service technician may be seen as someone who replaces spare parts or simply takes care of whatever needs to be fixed. But Tetra Pak’s service offering also has a more proactive dimension.
“Tetra Pak is on a journey to make maintenance more prescriptive, with machines dictating their own needs and warning when maintenance is required. This technology has already been included in some cheese equipment and we are preparing to take this step with more machines in the future. This new technology combined with our strong competence in parts and service logistics will bring a new dimension of service to our customers,” says Jamie MacKenzie, Cheese Service Manager supporting the Asia and Pacific regions.
When producing cheese, the equipment and the process really need to work as one. By employing leading experts in equipment and cheese technology, Tetra Pak can also provide recommendations to improve operations and changes to equipment to make a plant run better or even to extend the operation to produce new cheese products.
“Maybe a customer already has a plant that's producing well, but they want to find ways to get more yield and improve their operations. Here, Tetra Pak can provide a cheese technology expert to do an audit and make equipment and process recommendations. Our cheese technologists can also make recommendations that can allow customers to make new products or use new technologies on existing equipment. Additionally, as the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), our cheese technologists can work with design experts to upgrade your equipment to the new specifications that you require,” says Todd Stertz.
We also support our customers in implementing Total Productive Maintenance methodology to achieve maximum equipment effectiveness and operational cost savings, through the involvement of all employees and as a result, delivering business value to the whole organization. This is driven through continuous improvement programs addressing product losses, scrap & competence development to name a few.
There is an increasing demand for remote support. Recent times have amplified this trend. But already before the pandemic, many companies strived to reduce travelling to cut costs and adhere to environmental policies.
“A lot of our customers use our automation and information system, Tetra Pak PlantMaster. So when a customer with a 24/7 service agreement has an issue, they also have 24/7 access to automation support through a call center, which connects to an expert if needed. This service is of course more cost-effective than travelling service technicians,” says Bart Spuijbroek.
Digitalization also opens up new opportunities. Todd Stertz gives an example:
“In cheese plants, we also are starting to use data science and artificial intelligence to analyze how the customer can optimize the moisture level of their cheese, improving product consistency and quality and getting more yield out of their milk.”
Bart Spuijbroek sees great possibilities for remote learning. “Instead of training operators in a classroom, we use online tools and videos. Producers can get access to complete databases of training content, which they in turn can offer to their workforce at the cheese factory. This is a more flexible way of competence development, as the operators can do it on demand whenever they want to,” says Bart Spuijbroek.
And as new training modules become available, the customer gets access to these. This long-term, partnership approach is very much the basis of how Tetra Pak’s service organization likes to do business.
“The partnership can also include an innovation perspective. We team up with customers that are interested to work with us to develop and test new solutions,” concludes Bart Spuijbroek.
Digital technology is creating new offerings at Tetra Pak, improving the way we interact with our customers. And customers can still expect the same great service when they need support with anything relating to their equipment.