Since 1969, Meurer Verpackungssysteme GmbH has been producing high-quality end-of-line packaging machines right through to complete end-of-line packaging lines at its sites in Fuerstenau and Freren. With the machines Meurer sends competent service technicians and mechanics who undertake the installation of the machines, commissioning, necessary maintenance or rebuilding of machinery – and that on global scale. In order to coordinate these different tasks and to provide customers with the best possible service, Meurer becomes a truly global player by running the service organization via so-called “service hubs”.
A focused and well trained Organization is the secret to success
A total of 70 service technicians are employed in Fuerstenau, of which about two-third are dedicated solely to the rebuilding of machines. One-third of the team is responsible for the maintenance of the machines. Regular and reliant maintenance not only stands for good service, but also ensures the availability and uptime of the machine and prevents technical problems.
Due to its global operating and producing customer bases Meurer supplies packaging machines all over the world. Above all, the customers are represented in those countries where the need to automate production processes is high or growing. Meurer has a strong presence in the beverage industry in the field of liquid carton packs, as this sector has long been working with fully automated packaging lines.
With Meurer in the whole world
Coming along with the high technical demands of an automated packaging line service mechanics from Fuerstenau are sent at different places all around the world. However, an increasing number of service technicians are installed in the country, where they are working. Meurers people are situated in Great Britain, Thailand, France, Brazil and Spain – to ensure customer proximity and fastest response times. Also the local language when in collaboration at the customer site is key for the smooth execution of any kind of service activity. Partly they are local workers, partly they are German employees who immigrated to these countries and started a family.
In some countries Meurer is also represented by partner companies in order to provide customer support. In the USA the german company benefits from the cooperation with Hartness (an ITW group division), whose staff has been trained by Meurer and is constantly being trained to take over the service on site. In other countries the service is also organized and taken over by the partner companies themselves.
It goes without saying that being service technician at Meurer is a passion and needs to be well considered. In form of an internship trainees can go to the USA or Scandinavia for four to six weeks and work in partner companies on site. This should enable them to travel to other countries while further expanding their knowledge. In addition, they can already test whether they like the job as a service technician or whether they prefer to work later in the German sites.
Challenges and Chances
The need for local workforce becomes even higher as for several countries a specific labor law needs to be followed. Protecting one’s own labor market is a priority for countries such as Canada. There, the service technicians are only allowed to work as supervisors so as not to threaten the jobs of their own specialists. The situation is also critical in countries such as the USA or Switzerland. Although the service engineers in the United States receive a visa this is limited to 180 days a year. These difficulties do not make it easy for Meurer to fulfil their obligations to their customers.
Nevertheless, Meurer strives and will endeavour in the future to continue expanding its service and to respond to customer demands with and ever improving and aligned after sales portfolio. At present, the company is working on a service station with its own spare parts warehouse in China inorder to be able to cover the needs of its customers even faster, i.e. quick delivery of spare parts to minimize downtime of machines and utilization of the local cost structure to remain competitive in the long run.
Active service where the service proactively contacts the customers is an integral part of Meurer’s service concept. Recommendations and tips can be quickly and easily passed on to the customer. An example would be an upgrade of obsolete parts where customers are informed early and in detail about other options if components are no longer available on the market, e.g. electronical or software components.
Maintenance contracts that are offered as a package with new equipment are a means to provide the customer with annual maintenance and overhaul of all machines within the shortest possible time slot. Following a structured schedule the timely inspection of the machine and proper evaluation of wear and tear enables synchronized maintenance and thus lowest impact on production output.
Even in an acute emergency Meurer is well prepared in times of Industry 4.0: Remote service gives service technicians the chance to help the customer even when they are not around. Remote Access to the machines allows expert maintenance and repair without being present. The service technicians then explain to the customer’s employees what they have to do to remedy any functional issue in order to make the machine run again.
And if all the offerings leave customer with open questions or in need of immediate support Meurers Customers can access the technical service around the clock via the service hotline