IBM ServiceAfterSales Solutions Open Lucrative New Customer Service Markets For Manufacturers And Service Organizations

Help companies reduce warranty cost and increase customer retention and loyalty

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White Plains, NY - 26 Jun 2001: IBM today extended its collaborative product lifecycle management (PLM) offerings with IBM Aerospace-ServiceAfterSales and IBM Automotive-ServiceAfterSales solutions, available immediately.

These solutions integrate design, engineering and production functions with service and aftersales business processes to help companies better satisfy and retain customers after the product has been sold. This improves a company's ability to track product performance and feed change and innovation requirements back into design, engineering and production. These solutions also allow manufacturers and service providers to offer more competitive and profitable service contracts around their products, achieving fast growth in a new market that is untapped by manufacturers.

"It's a win/win solution for us," said Jean Philippe Fournier, Aftersales Technical Director of Automobile Peugeot. "Using centralized assistance with Internet-based remote diagnostics is the means to closely couple the car and garage technican with our experts across the world, to provide a quick solution to our customers."

"It takes 1,000 minds to design a product and 10,000 to manufacture it but only one to service it and either win or lose the customer forever," said Alan A.Chakra, ServiceAfterSales Solutions business unit executive, IBM Product Lifecycle Management. "Extending the product concept and design knowledge throughout the process all the way to field service will enable major reductions in warranty and operation cost and achieve high customer retention at the same time."

"Sophisticated vehicle diagnostic services are a critical tool for ensuring consumer satisfaction and reducing warranty cost," says Saul Rubin, Industry Analyst at UBS Warburg, New York.

IBM has already delivered modules of this solution on a custom basis to several market leaders in the automotive, aerospace and appliance industries. IBM applies best practices and industry expertise to deliver products and solutions for this domain.

"Beginning with the installation of call centers for more than 5,000 Mercedes-Benz dealerships in seven languages and 100 countries, IBM's STAR DIAGNOSIS is playing a vital role throughout our complete aftersales process," says DaimlerChrysler STAR DIAGNOSIS Product Manager, Wolfgang Saum. "Used for a broad range of applications, such as diagnostic information, repair documentation and searches, the STAR DIAGNOSIS system ensures not only substantial increase in efficiency but also a consistent high level of quality on a global scale."

IBM ServiceAfterSales solutions are end-to-end solutions that start with consulting and development and lead to implementation and operation. They include modules for Product Service, Customer Support, Collaboration, Configuration, Diagnostics, Prognostics, Telematic Services, Embedded Software Flashing (controller updating), Service Content Delivery, Business Intelligence and Decision Support, Asset Management, Aftermarket and Parts. IBM ServiceAfterSales solutions are based on an open infrustructure with products such as the IBM Websphere family and products from partners such as Dassault Systèmes and others.

"IBM definitely has unique global end-to-end solution delivery capability," said Manfred Hajek, Head of Development at Eurocopter Germany, Munich. "Together with IBM industry specialists, we have defined a configuration management process that will take our services a step further towards future market challenges."

Populating the database with case-based repair scenarios helps technicians identify and solve problems correctly the first time. This cuts repair time and eliminates the common practice of replacing good parts unnecessarily, while searching for the defect. In addition, online help desks staffed with service experts can be utilized to help diagnose and repair previously unreported conditions. This has the potential of adding new knowledge, that can then be fed into case-based reasoning systems for use by other technicians worldwide.

In addition to warranty and maintenance cost reductions, IBM customers report significant increases in field service engineer productivity along with similar improvements in customer satisfaction and retention.

By extending the PLM solution portfolio into field service and customer support, service technicians can use the product's digital model, access its data as configured and link to a web-enabled database of the product's "as-maintained" records. The records contain a complete service history and can relate repairs made throughout the product's lifetime to the problem at hand. This is particularly useful for highly regulated industries, such as automotive and aerospace, where parts may even move from product to product. In these cases, the service history of a part follows the part electronically and enables technicians to instantly determine its past performance on prior products.

Linking a product to a central database via the Internet opens opportunities for new services and customer loyalty programs. ServiceAfterSales solutions include new telematics services. For example, through on-board vehicle diagnostics and a wireless Internet link, vehicles can report fault conditions to a remote service facility, who then can advise on better usage, send alerts to the end user, or recommend immediate servicing.

IBM ServiceAfterSales solutions not only apply to automotive and aerospace but also to other industries such as transportation, distribution and electronics. For example, IBM and Carrier have recently announced "," the industry's first wireless web-enabled remote monitoring, and control service. (see April 9 release at

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