The world’s most successful companies have always been the ones that keep their customers in focus as their markets and businesses change. Their goal is to build long-lasting relationships with their customers that are based on trust, through good times and bad. What is Konecranes’ attitude towards its customers? Here, three senior managers at Konecranes offer their insights, knowledge and opinions on how to be a customer-focused company in today’s complex, fast-moving and truly globalized marketplace.
In today’s business world, putting the customer at the heart of a company’s business strategy, with direct effects on day-to-day operations, is the key to success. It’s the close contact with customers and keeping business promises that lead to trust and strong customer relationships. The strong customer relationships, meanwhile, provide the insight needed to create excellent products, backed by excellent service. It’s a virtuous circle of repeat orders and healthy, profitable business.
For a company like Konecranes, which provides both equipment and service around the world to thousands of customers in many different industries, trust must be earned every day. As industries become ever more global and complex, customers are becoming more demanding. They simply need more: lifting equipment that makes their processes more productive, reliable and safe; service that reduces the lifetime operating cost of the equipment; state-of-the-art technology and digital connectivity across globally uniform technical platforms, and products and services that fulfil increasingly stringent environmental considerations. Recognizing and appreciating this, Konecranes has been bringing the customer closer and closer to the heart of its operations.
Fulfilling specifications is not enough
As Head of Industry Applications at Konecranes, Jari Myyryläinen is responsible for crane applications around selected industries such as steel manufacturing and pulp and paper manufacturing. Konecranes has assembled a team of specialists to serve these industries with deep knowledge of the production processes and industry requirements, supporting Konecranes’ frontline salespeople.
“The industry specialists help our frontline salespeople to explain our product features and benefits. They also bring customer requirements to our product development teams, so that we can improve how our products perform in these industries,” says Myyryläinen.
Myyryläinen notes some basic differences between the industries that Konecranes serves. “In the container handling business, for example, the customer base is global but defined. There are a few hundred customers and everybody in the business knows who they are. But when we go to the industrial and manufacturing side, there are tens of thousands of customers. The challenge here involves organizing ourselves so that we can serve all of these different customers, of all sizes, locally, regionally, and globally.”
The key for Myyryläinen is to build an understanding of who is who. “We segment our customers by industry and requirements, and develop segment-based product and service models.”
Increasing the focus on service
Myyryläinen makes the point that historically, the equipment and service sides of Konecranes’ business have been quite separate. This has been changing greatly in recent years. “We have created visibility between the equipment and service sides, with the understanding that we are often serving the same customers. We have organized ourselves and our operations around our customers and their needs, be they local, regional, or global.”
- Does Konecranes have a strategy involving customer segmentation?
Jari Myyryläinen, Head of Industry Applications:
"Yes, we do. We have built customer segmentation models and harmonized them across all of our business units. Our goal is to deliver an excellent customer experience across all industries."
- How do you educate customers with regard to the technical properties of Konecranes products?
Tuomas Saastamoinen, Sales Director, Port Cranes:
"We want to get to our potential future customers early enough to explain that our technical platforms are globally uniform, and that we can utilize our pool of knowledge globally. We want to tell them why we can do it and what concrete benefits it provides to them. We have the volume, scale and platform technologies to excel on a global scale."
- Are there methods or tools you use to assess customer relationships?
Antoine Bosquet, Sales Director, Port Cranes, EMEA:
"We have new analytical tools to help monitor and measure the relationship between Konecranes and our current and potential customers. We need to measure customer relationships on many levels. If our business is to continue growing in size and profitability, potential customers need to like our way of doing business and understand the extra value that our products and services bring."