If the recent pandemic has shown the world anything, it’s that we should no longer take for granted the food that magically appears on our supermarket shelves.
But even as headlines continue to highlight the threat that the Covid-19 virus poses to the human labor throughout the agricultural supply chain, it is worth noting that the continued health of the machines that perform much of the processing work is at risk as well. Oilseed processing machines do not last forever; after all, and when they need repair, recalibration, or simple preventative maintenance, human hands are tasked with doing the job.
This poses a challenge for us here at Anderson, given the broad expertise within our organization regarding the maintenance and upkeep of advanced processing equipment like our oil Expeller, expanders, and extruders. Under normal circumstances, complicated repairs would result in sending a qualified expert to a client’s processing facility, whether across town or around the world. But since travel is nearly impossible and risky in recent months, we have turned to a range of virtual solutions to ensure that our machinery continues to perform at optimum levels. The result has produced a wide range of benefits beyond mere health and safety, both for our staff and our clients’ business operations.
Service from a Distance
After-sales service has long been a core element of our business model. No one knows better how to operate, maintain, and repair our highly specialized machines than our experts. We began using social platforms and video conferencing years ago to help clients with minor issues virtually. However, implementing an alternate way to extend our expertise to a global client base with complex problems became essential. Online communication solutions have proven to be a life-saver in this regard, and we have employed a wide range of tools to maintain robust communications with our customer base. These include the latest in teleconferencing and data-sharing services such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Microsoft Teams, as well as decidedly low-tech approaches like the plain old telephone. In this way, we not only provide crucial support to clients who are essential to global health and prosperity, but we also improve on the traditional support model in several key ways.
Connecting virtually provides more frequent communication with clients, leading to a higher level of engagement than would otherwise be possible. In the old days, maintenance was carried out mainly on a pre-determined schedule to address issues in regards to regular wear-and-tear and other matters. With modern voice and data connectivity, we now stay much more in contact with clients, sometimes daily, to review actual operational data as well as the experiences of those who run the machines. Now, instead of just one or two visits per year, clients get continuous hands-on support.
A second significant benefit is a reduction in support costs. Even in normal times, travel is expensive, particularly when clients tend to be in remote locations. By connecting virtually, we can address the vast majority of support needs without being physically present, and this also benefits the client by not having to pull machines off-line for extended periods waiting for a tech to arrive and suffer our travel expenses as well.
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Our remote service model allows us to provide a more in-depth style of diagnostics that, in some cases, leads to simple shifts in operational behavior rather than an actual equipment repair or upgrade. A case in point was a recent U.S. client who began processing imported soybeans after the local harvest was complete, only to find that their machines were wearing out at a much faster rate.
The culprit turned out to be the beans themselves, which can vary widely from region to region in terms of size, oil content, and the amount of debris present in the raw beans. With a few simple instructions and adjustments, our machines were optimized for the imported beans.
To be sure, Anderson does not intend to forego onsite maintenance and repair entirely. First-person contact between vendor and client is a crucial element in building lasting relationships. But by encouraging clients to embrace our robust remote services model, we have found that we can provide a higher level of service at little cost.
In the end, it’s a win for us, our clients, and the general public.
Contact Anderson today if you are experiencing issues with your oil processing machinery. With a simple click of a button, we can be available to support you.