Does Your Service Provider Hit the Mark?
Recently a colleague was telling me a story about having repairs done on his home computer, and it sounded like a nightmare. He brought it to a Big Box store where they said they could fix it in “a day or two.” But first they lost the battery. Then they accidentally wiped his hard drive clean. The repair ended up being a multi-week ordeal. Of course this is an extreme example, but it made me think about the pain that people sometimes endure when getting repairs done. And in the machine tool world, we often see shops taking a gamble with third-party providers. I can only guess this must be because they don’t know the advantages of working with their OEM builder for repairs.
Built for Speed
Let’s take Okuma’s Electrical Repair Division as an example. Here we can provide replacement/exchange of electronic units usually in less than one business day, since most of the time we’re able to send you a unit before receiving your return item. This is possible because our distributor network across the U.S. actually stocks repair components on their shelves locally. So in an emergency situation a customer can drive over and pick it up, or arrange for same-day delivery. Our distributors also have highly skilled, Okuma-trained service technicians in place who can come out and make a “house call” without lengthy travel delays.
Look Past the Warranty
Customers are often drawn to a third-party provider because they promote that they offer the same warranty as ours. But there are many more factors that should be considered beyond just the warranty. A third-party vendor can’t use our proprietary parts because they can’t get them, which raises questions about performance and suitability for the machine tool (there’s a reason we make our parts the way we do). Plus I’ve seen situations where using a third-party provider can take 3 to 5 times the lead time versus getting things done same-day with an Okuma distributor.
NEW In-Country Panel Repairs
We continually strive to enhance the cost-efficiency our machine tool service offerings. This year Okuma America and Okuma Europe in Germany will be offering in-country panel repairs to our customers. We’ve purchased test equipment that will allow us to take the panel apart, put it back together and run it through a simulator. This will take the cost of international shipping out of the equation for our customers.
NEW Repair and Return
We also have lots of repair program options for customers, including access to our new parts inventory, certified exchange parts, and our Trade-Up program for drive units. We now offer a new cost-effective option called Repair and Return. Here the customer sends us their unit and we repair it on a lower priority turnaround time, for 20% less cost than the exchange option. This is available for select items, and is a great option for those who keep close tabs on their cash flow.
There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes in our service organization. We spend a lot of time with internal training and sharing of information between Okuma America, Germany and Brazil. We actually had two technicians from Germany here last week training on electrical repairs. And in Brazil we have local service resources, which is important because it’s very expensive to import and export things in that country. So offering you the most efficient and most effective service offerings is a global effort. There’s one more thing we share around the world, no matter what language we speak: a passion for serving our customers.
Mike O’Leary is Planning and Service Parts Coordinator, Okuma America Corporation.
More: Get a behind-the-scenes look at how we jump into action to serve customers in Carlos Neal’s blog post Chuck Norris Has Nothin’ On Us.