Preventive Mainteinance: the importance of entrusting it to those who know your machines


Preventive Mainteinance: the importance of entrusting it to those who

Advantages and benefits of a service based on a schedule of maintenance activities to organize periodic interventions on machines

In July 2020 we launched Solema Service Pack, the Customer Care offer dedicated to our customers: the only service that eliminates the expensive emergency interventions of graphicart and paperboard machines.
Solema Service Pack consists of three basic services created by a perfect mix of technological components and products related to Customer Care:

  • REMOTE SERVICE TOOL, a "portable case" that can be connected to several machines equipped with special interactive glasses that make remote monitoring even more performing and webcam to communicate live with the technical department of the company
  • AFTER SALES PHONE ASSISTANCE, key point to ensure professional assistance interventions in the shortest time possible
  • PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE program, the new service based on a programmed schedule of the maintenance activities of the machines that allows the customer to better organize the periodic interventions on the machines, preventing any sudden stoppages and unexpected breakdowns

And it is precisely on this third service that we want to focus attention in this news. We do it with Cristiano Brignoli, who in the company deals with offering customers the Solema Service Pack with the task of creating Preventive Maintenance programs designed for each specific case.

Cristiano has been working in Solema since 1997. He began his career as a machine assembly worker, then started to work outside the factory in Italy and abroad. From 2001 he has personally contributed to the development of the After Sales Service Department, which has grown over the years and has now a staff of 4 people. In it, Cristiano has the specific task of creating and proposing customized packages for each customer, that could be already acquired or potential ones. Nobody better than him here knows so deeply details and characteristics of each customer, starting from the active range of Solema machines for each of them. This allows him to develop customized and tailored proposals perfectly in line with their needs related to After Sales Assistance.

Cristiano, please tell us what the Solema Preventive Maintenance program is and whom is addressed to.

The Preventive Maintenance program is a new type of After Sales Service specifically designed to ensure the perfect operation of the machines preventing unpleasant repair costs due to sudden failures or malfunctions, thus ensuring a considerable saving of money and time for the customer.
The name speaks for itself: PREVENTIVE
Maintenance as it prevents any breakdowns or downtime due to lack of maintenance – the plan of interventions is scheduled together with the customer, who decides when to do it, for example during the summer closure or during a period of reduced production.
The main purpose of the service is to offer all our customers a series of Maintenance Programs to monitor the components of the machines that need specific periodic checks.
The Solema Preventive Maintenance program provides a detailed plan of direct interventions on the customer’s production site, and in which the following operations are scheduled:

    • periodic checks by specialized and skilled Solema technicians;
    • the preventive replacement of critical items/parts;
    • additional training;
    • phone assistance service for free;

The Program is aimed at new or already acquired customers, owners of both new and used machines, especially if of long date, and all those maintenance activities that require a calendar planning and is particularly recommended to companies with a large range of machines.
I would like to add that all companies that have one or more running Solema machines could benefit from the Solema Service Pack and in particular from the Preventive Maintenance program: this service is obviously to be considered as an integration to extraordinary maintenance interventions that you cannot program because they can happen all of a sudden.

How did you come up with the idea of proposing this particular service?

Everything was born, years ago, from the request of some customers to have a more adequate and continuous support for the maintenance of the machines purchased from us. Here the idea to create a proper service dedicated to After Sales. We started to think about a method that could better satisfy the continuous periodic maintenance needs of the machines. But we had to deal, of course, with customers who already had a machine maintenance department.

We focused on a system that dealt specifically with preventive maintenance of the machines, and that was as much as possible scheduled and organized on the real needs of the customer, designed on the individual machines, built on the actual customer workloads and based on the number of machines.

The first signed contracts led us to refine even better the features of the service, stimulated by the success obtained with customers who had already tried it.
The idea behind the service was to intervene at the most suitable moment decided by the customer, starting from the awareness that not all maintenance is the same and the approaches change depending on the customer’s need and the need of every individual machine.

Why is it so important to subscribe a Maintenance Program?

"Constant and accurate maintenance ensures long life for machines", this is the concept that I always try to transfer to customers.
When the machines work well and run at full speed, customers often tend to give little importance to ordinary maintenance. This is harmful, because not caring and waiting for problems to arrive before intervening, can lead to the risk of generating future repairs often more expensive and complex than ordinary ones.
I like to make the comparison with the cars scheduled service: how many times we forget to do it thinking that, after all, the car works well and there is no reason to take it to the mechanic for the ordinary revision? And how many times do we think we can get away with a "do-it-yourself maintenance" that often turns out to be harmful? Nothing could be more wrong! If a machine works well it is precisely because, every year, it is subjected to a maintenance coupon made by those who know that machine. The same goes for Solema machines.

Many companies, however, still fail to grasp the real benefits of a good maintenance service, also because especially in Italy, the ‘culture’ of maintenance is not so spread. For example, a correlation that is still difficult to fully understand – for the customer – is that it is better to have an external and reliable assistance service than to entrust it to internal staff, at the risk of suffering damage due to lack of experience and training.

The main feature of Preventive Maintenance is that it is agreed and scheduled in advance following customer workloads to avoid waste of time and downtimes. It is stated that our planned interventions greatly reduce the risks of sudden failures and optimize workflows and timing.
At last, a proper Preventive Maintenance, if planned at best and on the individual machine, not only allows you to avoid high costs for the replacement of equipment and unplanned downtime, but it also improves the safety of working environments by reducing the risks for machines, equipment and installations.

Let’s go deeper into the details of the service: what are the phases before the signing of the contract and how does your intervention develop?

We start from an important consideration: our department knows perfectly all the machines in possession of our customers and this facilitates and directs the type of intervention to be proposed. In any case, every time we receive a request from a customer, even already acquired, the first thing is to go at its premises (generally a specialist technician and me) to personally evaluate the state of the machines by detecting the individual criticalities and understand the "health conditions" of each machine. In the case of a new customer, we ask to have the detailed list of the fleet before the visit.

The next step is the creation of an articulated proposal of intervention with the estimated necessary days: then, I personally take care of drawing up the detailed list of components that need targeted maintenance, of those subject to periodic replacement, and of those that may represent the focus points of subsequent interventions. Within two days, the customer will receive the quotation with schedule and costs.

What are maintenance packages based on?

The packages are scheduled "daily" and travel "hourly" depending on the customer needs and the volume of his fleet. Generally we consider the number of machines, their use and their years of service.
Here is a practical example: when a customer bought from us an automatic palletizer Pluton five years ago, then we make the complete analysis of the machine, including a careful assessment of the average hours of use per year, then we propose a personalized maintenance package, which can be divided into a certain number of visits per year.
During these days, it is possible that the customer would be asked to have an operator available to be with us during a "real production" to provide him at the same time with both assistance and detailed and personalized training on machine regarding its management and maintenance. The single maintenance intervention includes also a training and support service by our skilled technicians.

The contract may also include additional hours relating, for example, to assistance for a particular production or to specific instructions on certain controls that the operator couldn’t manage due to lack of time and knowledge.
I finish by pointing out two peculiar features of our service: the first is that after every visit onsite, we send a detailed report of the interventions made for each machine, with indications of pieces that need to be changed and the interventions that should be done lately, with relative quotation (report is included in the price). The second is our tendency to customize the service to the maximum, making sure that the same Solema technician would always follow the same customers, so that they can always deal with the same person.

Are there any discounts or advantages for those who sign a Preventive Maintenance contract?

The Preventive Maintenance contract provides a lot of advantages for subscribers. The most important concerns a special discount – agreed on a case-by-case basis when drawing up the contract – on all the spare parts purchased during the validity of the contract. The discount applies not only to spare parts, but also to all parts of the machine that could be damaged suddenly during the contract period.
In addition, there is a special discount on all technical interventions planned at least one month in advanceAnd, last but not least, there is free Telephone Assistance for the duration of the contract.

Even if the customer calls you 10 times a day?

Yes, as long as the calls are from 7:30 to 18, from Monday to Friday. So, on a matter of fairness and transparency, I would like to point out that Telephone Assistance is free but not 24/7.
In the absence of a Preventive Maintenance contract in progress, from January 1 st, 2021, all calls are charged.

Is there a price list?

In Solema we do not have a predetermined price list, because we always create customized packages based on the precise needs of the customer and his initial requests.

Talking about the prices, could the cost of the service be an obstacle?

The price, as always, could be seen as an obstacle. As I mentioned before, in maintenance the customer’s mental approach is very important, because there are still few companies that recognize the real benefit of a good service and even less those that can imagine the real results.
A good Preventive Maintenance service clearly reduces the number of urgent technical interventions. And this is a tangible advantage for every customer.

Give us three good reasons why a customer should subscribe to the Preventive Maintenance service.

The first reason is that the service increases the reliability of the machines, it is stated that a cared machine automatically acquires value. With an initial investment, the service is the right and convenient way to keep the machines efficient over time at maximum performances.
The second is that you have a proactive return, intended as a discount on spare parts and services that the customer already bought previously and that will buy in the future.
The third is that it improves the quality of the machines and consequently their yield and productivity, precisely because we are the only ones who put our hands on the machines, who designed, assembled and installed them.

Last consideration: the real strength of our Preventive Maintenance lies in the fact that it is based on a customer-proven After Sales service. I want to say this because there are many companies that offer the same service at lower costs, but then, once delivered the goods, leave the customer alone struggling with the arduous task of managing the machines independently and with often harmful results.
That’s why you have to trust those who know the machines and give the guarantee never to turn the back to customers.

Thanks Cristiano. Good job.

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