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How to make the switch from manufacturer to service provider

  • Posted on May 22, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

Smart, connected products are great for customers. They’re more functional, more reliable and more useful. But fading fast are the days when a transaction ends once a product is sold. Manufacturers are discovering that to stay relevant, they have to do more than just sell their products. They also have to connect to their customers and drive revenue around innovative service. 

With today’s technologies, manufacturers are in luck – if only they harness the opportunity. The internet of things (IoT) can help shape new business models and change the way employees work and serve their customers. For example, anyone can operate a coffee machine – but how do you drive value from it? Well, a smart coffee maker lets you start brewing on demand, and remotely, so you get a higher quality cup of Joe and more control over the process. And to prevent a malfunction, you might get an alert when it’s time to clean your machine.

Equally important is realizing ongoing success, building toward future accomplishments and not just resting on what has already been achieved. BDR Thermea, a leading manufacturer and distributor of thermal comfort solutions, recognized this need for innovation as it seized the opportunity to add services to its business model. In particular, the company saw the potential for product connectivity to help it better understand how customers use its products. Based on this information, it could improve and optimize its boilers and heat pumps as well as enhance customer service and experiences.

To help it unlock this value, BDR Thermea partnered with Avanade to create an IoT platform using standard Microsoft Azure components that would serve as the new fully integrated infrastructure for the entire BDR Thermea Group.

New insights, new opportunities
Our pilot solution exceeded expectations at BAXI, a UK brand of BDR Thermea. It saw a substantial decrease in outcalls, because information provided by the portal was sufficient to walk the customer through a resolution over the phone. In instances when a service engineer is needed on-site, knowing the problem beforehand means he goes prepared with the right parts and equipment to make the repair the first time around. This insight signals new efficiencies in inventory management and is saving the company up to £100 per visit.

In addition to adding value, IoT-connected service is also opening up new market potential. BDR Thermea products now align to the requirements of other service providers, such as property managers and landlords. In the UK, for example, BAXI can now provide the social housing sector with remote monitoring and reactive maintenance enabling future scenario’s such as predictive maintenance to help it address property accessibility, maintenance costs and tenant safety challenges. Its connected products offer appliance monitoring, real-time data collection and intelligent diagnosis to help landlords avoid the costs of repair, maintenance and health and safety violations. Moreover, the end user avoids the worry that comes with a cold home in winter or the frustration of a cold shower.

The more connected manufacturers are to their customers and the more real-time insight they have, the more opportunities there are to build better, more innovative products and customer loyalty. The IoT technology that Avanade is using at BDR Thermea is a market game-changer. The way data is processed and applied is helping to enhance the company’s products, shape new business models and drive value through increased service revenue. It’s preparing organizations across industries to be future ready. Now.

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