Developed in 2014, Liebherr Mining's Service Excellence program aims to improve and maintain the organisation's global service standard, by defining best practice within the areas of customer support, local production and parts business.
Liebherr's three mining factories, over 16 mining affiliates, and 12 authorised dealers are assessed against continuously evolving criteria that reflect the expectations of industry and customers, as well as being aligned with the company's own strategy, product, and service developments.
Despite being an internal process, the Program has customers at the forefront with the recommendations and improvements having indirect and direct benefits on the customer's experience with Liebherr.
As an OEM that directly supplies and supports their products and services, the Service Excellence program is an integral initiative within Liebherr Mining's global strategy.
This is particularly relevant for affiliates like Liebherr-Australia with its six national branches that support mining customers, creating an additional challenge for consistent service delivery.
Paul Hyham, Service Excellence project leader, who has worked within Liebherr-Australia for over ten years, found that his background within the affiliate provided a different perspective to the Service Excellence program when he started the role in mid-2019.
"It's really important to look at the service experience holistically to ensure all areas of the business, both factories and affiliates, are playing their part in improving the bigger picture.
"The great part about the Service Excellence program is that each Liebherr Mining affiliate is learning and improving from everybody's collective experience.
"No single affiliate has the perfect solution to everything, but we can all learn something from each other and adapt it to suit the local market," Hyham commented.
Liebherr-Australia, which is arguably one of the more mature mining affiliates with a large portion of Liebherr Mining's equipment worldwide, is able to assist younger Liebherr companies by submitting best practices in the Service Guide.
Hyham continued, "Liebherr-Australia excels in the customer support area with their customer interaction, product improvement processes from the technical support group, local technical training, and other support initiatives setting the standard for Liebherr Mining worldwide."
One of the most significant initiatives implemented and lead by Liebherr-Australia in collaboration with major mining customers is the modular maintenance concept: a process that decreases machine downtime during major component changeouts by up to 50%, saving customer's valuable time and money.
This initiative is now a benchmark within the Service Guide, and has been implemented by other affiliates, and is promoted globally within Liebherr Mining.
As has been the experience across the wider mining industry, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new challenges and, for the Service Excellence Program, this meant fast-tracking their project to implement online "virtual" assessments, rather than in-person.
"We are now at the stage where we have successfully completed online "virtual" assessments in countries including Panama, Indonesia, Russia, India and China, with a similar level of in-depth results and findings as if we were to conduct them in person.
"This initiative is something that we will continue into the future, with the plan for a combination of "virtual" assessments and in-person assessments, to streamline and make the Service Excellence process more efficient," said Hyham.
With the introduction of new digital services and product developments across the Liebherr Mining product line in the coming years, the Service Excellence program has some challenges ahead to ensure affiliates are supporting customers with these developments to the best standard possible.
The Liebherr Group is also participating in the working group for a new ISO standard "Excellence in Service", joining representatives from globally recognised companies including Toyota, IBM, and Vodafone.
"We are very excited about the future of the Service Excellence program within Liebherr Mining, not just helping affiliates and factories improve, but improving the Program itself to stay on top of the constantly evolving nature of the industry.
"The improvements we make to our everyday practices will ultimately ensure our customers are supported to the best of our ability," Hyham concluded.