By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service
REMA TIP TOP AG, headquartered in Poing, Germany, is a world leading company in Tire Repair Products, Surface Protection (Corrosion Protection and Wear Protection), and Material Processing (Conveying Solutions and Conveyor Belts). The company has a hundred-year history and 8,000 employees with locations in more than 170 countries across the world.
Like any company with 100 years of history, customer needs have changed and REMA TIP TOP must channel its legacy to propel the company forward rather than hold it back from the success modernization will bring. This means being open to evolving thinking, approach, and technology use.
Thomas Moser, Head of Product Management for Digital Solutions at REMA TIP TOP is in the midst of a companywide transformation to address the needs today’s customers have that differ from those of the past. He has a vision for how he wants the company to be operating in 2025 but knows that bringing that vision to life starts today.
Customer Considerations Expand
Traditionally, REMA TIP TOP’s industrial customers – companies in mining, for instance – have been focused entirely on output. This has changed as issues related to environmental concerns and safety have surfaced. Customers aren’t any less concerned about output, but they are balancing their productivity goals with the realities of having to consider the environment and the safety of their workers.
“Customers want to avoid the negative attention that comes with environmental impact and safety issues. They’ve experienced some calamities, or have competitors who have, and need to avoid the repercussions of such issues,” explains Thomas. “As a result, they are putting more effort and budget into properly maintaining systems to prevent issues as well as to protect output. Huge mines, for instance, have a key performance of about 10,000 tons per hour. So, if you calculate that maybe one ton of iron ore is about $150 USD, then you can imagine how much money they are losing if this line is down for a week. This is creating more attention around putting effort into predictive maintenance.”
This means that REMA TIP TOP is well positioned to evolve its relationship with customers, because they want to put more focus on predictive maintenance, but they don’t necessarily want – or have the capacity – to manage that maintenance themselves. “This gives us the ability to showcase our capabilities in doing the maintenance and inspection for our customers. We may agree on a service level contract with defined availability figures, so that customers protect output as well as safety without extra effort,” says Thomas.
While the opportunity for REMA TIP TOP to transform from traditional service to an outcomes-based approach is clear, it isn’t a simple undertaking. Not only does the company have to align on the path, but the ability to deliver outcomes is dependent upon a strong technological foundation.
Delivering Outcomes Requires Knowledge
Thomas has been working on creating both the company-wide awareness that an outcomes-based service model holds immense potential for REMA TIP TOP, as well as the operational realities of bringing the vision to life. “Not long ago, our subsidiaries all operated fairly independently. For the company to move to delivering outcomes, we first needed to ensure our customer and systems data was stored in one place,” explains Thomas. “Centralizing all operations on IFS structures our data and allows us to standardize processes and ensure consistent customer quality.”
CCUBE is what REMA TIP TOP has coined its outcomes-based service offering, and IFS technology underpins this offering. “CCUBE is based on IFS technology. It's a cloud-based management system which gives us the capabilities we need for asset management, planning and executions of inspections, and for keeping all of our data and reporting in a single platform,” says Thomas. “The functionality of the IFS platform is what allows us to execute on our claim to keep our customers’ systems up and running. Further, it allows us to maximize the efficiency of our service delivery through the intelligence and automation build into the system.
REMA TIP TOP’s customer shift to an OPEX expenditure in return for the elimination of all headaches related to keeping performance and safety optimized.The company then relies on its ability to leverage technology and data to meet their target in a cost-effective manner. “We can’t accomplish this evolution by selling service packages and offering manpower, because with manpower alone it’s far too expensive to meet outcomes,” notes Thomas. “By monitoring the condition of our customers systems and then using the intelligence and optimization within IFS when manpower is needed, the value proposition of outcomes becomes achievable.”
As the company grows more familiar with the outcomes-based model, its use of technology can expand to continue to improve profitability of the new delivery model. “In the future, automation is a key factor for success – rather than a visual inspection, for instance, we can implement technology to automate inspections,” explains Thomas. “We can also rely more on artificial intelligence to analyze data and create reports that are today done with human intervention. The more data we gather, the greater our ability to mine it to see how parameters are influencing each other and when and where to take actions.”
The Roles of Enthusiasm and Patience in Managing Change
“We have to change – times have changed, our customers’ needs have changed, our products have changed, and technology has changed,” says Thomas. “Gaining the support of the entire company depends on telling the story, explaining the story, showing the vision, and showing the vision really far away, even if at the moment it looks like science fiction. And repetition – telling this story over and over until everyone buys in to it and believes in it.”
There are three characteristics that have proven particularly beneficial for Thomas in leading change: enthusiasm, diligence and patience. “I think the most important part is enthusiasm.,” Thomas says. “Enthusiasm is how we transport our ideas to other people. I’m not invested in this because I have to be, but because I’m really convinced it’s what is right for REMA TIP TOP. Showing enthusiasm connects people to your story, your ideas, and your vision – and diligence in execution is what makes our systems deliver what we promise.”
Patience is also important. Thomas admits that change doesn’t always move as fast as he’d like. “It’s a slow process,” he shares. “There are no wrong ideas, but timing is everything. Sometimes you have to wait until the time is right to change. In 1992, I got my first cell phone. Reactions included, ‘You are stupid. Nobody will need this kind of technology.’ Ten years later, everyone had a cell phone.”
Take Inspiration from Outside Your Industry
On REMA TIP TOP’s quest to modernize, it’s been beneficial to seek inspiration and ideas from outside its own industry. “We’ve learned a lot from other fields,” says Thomas. “If you consider the air traffic control sector, for example, and their use of situational awareness – they know what’s going on and react accordingly. The same applies to what we’re working to do.”
REMA TIP TOP has also found inspiration in its relationship with IFS and the use of IFS’ Tailored Success program. “When we began our partnership with IFS, it was to purchase pure licenses – but we came to the point where we wanted a more all-inclusive package,” says Thomas. “Of course, we do have an IT department, but I want them focused on customer data not service management. I want to concentrate our efforts on customer-facing projects, not maintaining servers. With worldwide, 24/7 operations, I need a professional partner who takes care that my system is up and running all the time and my staff around the world is able to access data and use the platform.”
Does this sound familiar? “It's the same as we offer to our customer. IFS Tailored Success eliminates the headaches of self-management for REMA TIP TOP so that we can focus on the transformation we have underway,” says Thomas. “We depend on IFS for the outcomes of the platform so that we can make progress in offering outcomes to our own customers.”