Exchange of experience helps industrial companies increase servicification

Article · 2021-04-29

Automation Region's service business network brings together product-focused companies that want to develop their service operations. Two of the network's participants are Fredrik Gustafsson, Väderstad, and Fredrik Oskarsson at Westermo. They act in different lines of business but in the network, they work towards a common goal – to make everyday life easier for their customers by developing their service portfolio.

Fredrik Gustafsson, Väderstad, Fredrik Oskarsson, Westermo and Elin Asplund, Automation Region.

– We want to make everyday life as simple as possible for our customers and we see great potential in developing our service business, says Fredrik Gustafsson, commercial product manager at Väderstad. New technology and smarter machines give a lot of new opportunities that we can hopefully take advantage of. In the network, we get the opportunity to discuss service issues with other companies, exchange experiences and discuss ideas. It helps us to move forward our own development.

Väderstad wants to create added value for its customers

Väderstad is a product-oriented company that manufactures agricultural machinery for tillage and sowing. Product sales have long driven Väderstad's business, but now Fredrik Gustafsson sees an opportunity to commercialize services to create added value for customers. To get support in that transformation, Väderstad has joined the service business network.

– Since service business is a relatively new area for us, it is valuable to meet people from other companies who work with the same issues. One thing I have brought with me is how different, both large and small, companies work and that the opportunities for service provision are different naturally depending on the industry. The network includes companies that has come a long way, they already assume that the service is central rather than that they produce and sell products on occasion.

"We have good conditions for a more service-oriented business"

Automation Region's member company Westermo develops industrial network solutions and data communication products. A couple of years ago, the company decided to develop its service business, and now Fredrik Oskarsson, product manager services, has joined the network.

– Historically, we have been very focused on our products, says Fredrik Oskarsson. We are good at value-added sales, but we have lacked a clear service offering. We are now experiencing a growing interest in customer service arrangements and at the same time we see great potential to generate higher and more stable revenues by entering into more long-term collaborations.

Westermo has so far developed two areas in its service portfolio, support services and training services. They are now working with several other areas to be able to offer customers a more solution-focused business, rather than individual products.

– We have employees who work with business development and value creation for customers and we always deliver value in the form of knowledge, says Fredrik Oskarsson. We can take care of customers' data in a reliable way. Therefore, I think we have very good conditions for switching to a more service-oriented business.

The competence network for Automation Region's member companies has been developed as a complement to the course Service business - a training that support product companies’ servicification. It is also the teachers of the course who direct the continued exchange in the network.

– I think it is great that the network is led by two people whose experiences and focus complement each other, says Fredrik Oskarsson. Christer Nygren at Mälardalen University is focused on theory and presents very many interesting ideas, while Bernt Gustin from Cordevo AB has made this journey working with Ericson once upon a time. Their accumulated knowledge and experiences often lead to very interesting discussions.

Interested in joining our network?

The network was started to give Automation Region's member companies the opportunity to develop knowledge, exchange experiences and work in a structured manner with external monitoring of issues concerning the service area.

– Through the network, contacts and collaborations are created between the member companies. They brainstorm ideas and have the opportunity to discuss their challenges with other companies that work with the same issues, says Elin Asplund, Head of Business Development at Automation Region.

Are you interested in being part of a similar network, within the theme of service business or any other area? Then contact Elin Asplund.