Solution based sales are high on the agenda for forklift manufacturer Kalmar. A new digital unit has been established, and an important strategic decision has been made. “Our machines are to be 100% online. And telematics are an important factor,” says Mikael Antonsson, head of the company’s digital unit.
Kalmar sells solutions and services for cargo handling in ports, terminals, distribution centers and in heavy industry. More than one fourth of the containers around the world are handled by a Kalmar solution. These solutions consist of equipment (various types of forklifts), automation, software and services that contribute to energy efficient container management, good logistics and smooth integration of processes.
– We have the broadest product portfolio in the world, with 4,000 online machines globally. Each forklift is a data carrier and with our telematics solutions, we can measure up to 40 key performance indicators on each forklift. All measurements are based on facts, which is a tremendous strength, says Johan Hellström, Digital Business Developer.
Telemetric data are sent to the SmartFleet software, which allows quick access to statistics based on the equipment’s KPIs. Telematics allow customers, and Kalmar themselves, to monitor the efficiency and productivity of the forklifts.
– TelliQ’s equipment extracts data on the detail level. For example, you can see changes in fuel consumption when you make particular settings to a function, says Johan.
Telematics is a given
Kalmar’s customers are expressing increased interest in analyses and results from telematics data. But there is a great variation.
– Some customers are extremely interested whereas others aren’t. Currently, fuel consumption is a particularly hot topic in ports, and this is just the kind of data we can extract using telematics, says Mikael Antonsson.
He believes that eventually, telematics will simply be a commodity, a standard that is built in to all machines and can be used in various ways to avoid downtime, to streamline handling and to increase safety.
“What can be done with the information from the forklifts opens up for tremendous opportunity.”
– Telematics is simply a given. But there will be different levels of connectivity depending on the market and the customer’s needs and conditions. Naturally we have to tailor our equipment to meet customer requirements. We may be able to measure 40 KPIs but if our customer only has need of five, we have to be able to deliver just that.
Research on digital solutions
The establishment of Kalmar’s digital unit is relatively new and according to Mikael, they are on an internal and external development journey.
– We have a strong drive to progress and to be even better at selling solutions. The decision to be 100% online guides the way. To make use of the data securely is actually just the first step. What can then be done with all the information from the forklifts opens up for tremendous opportunity.
– For example, we can sell analyses to our customers and work as consultants and advisors in this area. We can alert the customer to when it’s time for service. And of course, we can use the data for our own product development. I envision that the data and what it can be used for will be part of a greater offering in the future.
– SmartFleet is only one component of what we want to do. We are also researching other services and running a research project on digital solutions with Linnaeus University in Växjö.
Engine for solution based sales
Johan and Mikael see TelliQ as an engine that allows Kalmar to create different concepts for solution based sales.
– We started collaborating in 2014, but it’s only in the last year that we have gained momentum and established our digital unit, says Johan, who is optimistic of an exciting future.
– I’m convinced that telematics will permeate the entire chain from manufacturing and delivery to service and payment solutions. Telematics is like the brain, eyes and ears of the forklift. All at once. It creates possibilities we are only starting to understand, says Mikael Antonsson.
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