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Extending the life of the Elevators

Through forward-looking modernization, the lifecycle of an elevator can be extended by 10 to 15 years. Market demand is growing and thyssenkrupp Elevator is gearing up. New modernization packages and digitalized solutions will enable sales staff to approach customers more proactively.

An elevator, like any device, is naturally subjected to aging.

When brand-new, it is at the height of its performance, however, after a few miles and years, the first aches and pains appear with the regular maintenance check. Later, even larger components will have to be replaced. And if you neglect this for too long, you might unexpectedly reach the point where it just needs to be replaced.

The total service life of an elevator is around 30 years on global average. Of course, this depends on the level of usage, the Quality of the product, the installation executed, the service maintenance carried out or even changes to technical regulations. Usually the first upgrade of major parts is usually necessary after more than 15 years of operation. Or even less, because the trend today is for electronic components to be increasingly short-lived.

For this purpose, tk Elevator is running the global Modernization business (MOD), which is dedicated to the renewal of more complex parts of elevators and escalators. A dedicated group of about 700 MOD sales representatives are located in the branches and offices worldwide, serving existing and acquiring new customers.

The demand of our customers for modernization is growing: With an increasing number of elevators worldwide, more elevators will soon reach their "MOD age". In addition, the demand for MOD is being fuelled by ongoing technological evolution and a global trend towards stricter safety regulations.

From reactive to proactive modernization

In the past, "modernization" often meant replacing a customer's elevator is on the verge of failure. In contrast, partial modernization relies on the upgrade of individual components, which fail earlier, in order to maintain the service life of the entire unit.

"Our approach is to proactively approach customers and work with them at a very early stage to identify the parts to be modernized, keeping their needs in focus." explains Juan Miguel Lahoz, who is responsible for the global MOD business strategy.

The company relies on the life cycle analysis of the individual components. Following that logic, the life cycle of an entire elevator is divided into four phases:

1. New Installation stage: In the first 5 years after installation, an elevator works at its optimum.

2. Maintenance continuous stage: Service technicians perform standard inspections and replace individual parts as required. Service ranges from reactive repair to predictive maintenance with the IoT MAX solution.

3. Partial Modernization stage: Whether drive machine, doors or controller. After prolonged use, more complex modernization packages become necessary in order to ensure safety (updating the elevator to the latest regulation) to improve performance, change aesthetics, increase comfort and efficiency.

4. Full replacement stage: Only in the final phase can comfort, performance and safety be achieved by replacing the entire unit with a new unit.

New product solutions offers

Be it maintenance or modernization; From the customer's point of view, its main interest is naturally that its unit runs as long-lastingly, comfortably, safely and cost-effectively as possible. To help the organization understand this focus, the concept "SPACE" (Safety, Performance, Aesthetics, Comfort and Efficiency) emphasizes the basic requirements and needs of every customer to create benefits.

"Two things are important to ensure this," explains Lahoz. "A clear range of modernization solutions that address exactly those components that are reaching the end of their lifecycle. And second, a Salesforce together with our service technicians that informs and trusted customers about this spectrum of products at an early stage - with the help of state-of-the-art tools".

"Every part of the elevator has its own lifespan," explains Stefan Pitzer, who is responsible for the standardization of modernization solutions. "We are trying to design modernization packages that replace these shorter-lived parts at a certain point in time."

For example, tkE will offer a standardized package to replace gearbox-machines with gearless traction, resulting in less noise and energy consumption of the elevator. Another example will be a focus on new controller units. These are advantages that might catch the customer.

But those can only be selected examples, because the global range of products and components is so large. In the future, we will rather increase) numerous local solutions suited to the respective market conditions and regulations. These solutions will then also be bundled in new product brochures that inform the customer about the lifecycle of his elevator and the different modernization solutions.

Focus on customer communication

In terms of organization, thyssenkrupp Elevator employs a motivated sales force that covers the MOD segment. It is also key to proactively approach the customer and starting a sales process based on the “EAGLE methodology”.

However, the roles in our sales organization still vary from country to country - this also follows the logic of the market conditions. In the USA, for example, there exist dedicated specialized MOD Sales Representatives; in other countries such as France and Spain individual colleagues have responsibility for several business lines at once.

"In Germany, we also rely on selected sales people who are based in our service branches”, explains Ralph Peters, head of the MOD business in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. “The MOD sales representative then receives the important information from the technician supervisors, because the technician is the one with the most regular customer contact."

The "World’s Easiest modernization experience"

Looking to the future, however, it will also be important to strengthen customers' points of contact and at the same time integrate the entire division into IT-supported processes. The new brochure or a web page with our MOD solutions is just the beginning.

A whole range of interlinked IT tools will merge Business Flow and Customer Journey as seamlessly as possible. A separate MOD section is planned for the Global Customer Portal, which is linked to the VIEW service tool and the MAX predictive maintenance solution. This will make it way easier for customers to stay informed about special offers and local sales campaigns.

A salesperson who identifies a modernization opportunity in VIEW can promptly begin the EAGLE process to follow the opportunity. Our research center in Gijon is working on further solutions to make the customer experience even more digital, relying on the HoloLens technology. At the same time, the MAX predictive maintenance solution makes it possible to identify necessary modernization services more quickly. A dedicated MOD-Store will empower the customer to put together modernization solutions in an uncomplicated manner.

Although all this is still under development, the goal remains to offer our customers the "World’s Easiest modernization experience", in other words, “become the easiest choice for our customers”.