Trelleborg Sealing Solutions: Enhanced Customer Experience through Innovative IT Solutions

Date:   Thursday , July 03, 2014

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions\' facility in Bengaluru, Karnataka is not just another global manufacturing business unit supplying precision seals and bearings that can seal, damp and protect critical applications in the most demanding, industry-specific environment, it is also the heart and soul of the IT excellence of Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, housing a team of IT experts, who engage in all activities from research and development to concept through design of innovative tools for web and mobile platforms to enhance customer experience. With its global headquarters in Germany, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions is driven by quality and a passion for identifying new solutions to complex problems. And when it comes to IT innovation, the company recognizes the inherent value of collaboration with India, by leveraging the talent represented in its people and culture.

\"The excitement among the engineers here delights me,\" says Sinanudin Omerhodzic, Global IT Director - Trelleborg Sealing Solutions. On his recent visit to the company\'s IT centre in Bengaluru, he positively validated the growing efficiency and the impact of the team here. \"On every visit, it seems like an entirely new setup, as the team here continues to evolve and manage the job of developing a range of innovative mobile and web applications that would render advanced technology solutions and services to engineers and enterprises,\" he adds.

Through a suite of mobile and web applications that enable a better and faster approach to solve challenges of manufacturing and delivery units, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions is well on its way to keep up with its key strategy-Customer Efficiency Improvement. \"The key to Trelleborg Sealing Solutions\' business success lies in our deliverance of excellent customer service,\" says Claus Barsoe, President, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, who believes in integrating the latest web and mobile technologies with logistical and technical support services for a better business outcome.

Trendsetting Mobile and Web Apps

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions\' IT centre in India, conceptualized in 2010, currently houses 65 proficient individuals across different IT teams for Web, Android and iOS Application development. Subhrajyoti Bose, Global Head Applications, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, is keen on highlighting the IT team\'s efficiency improvements over the last couple of years, \"We have ventured far from the small IT team that we once were. With a second line of leadership, we have setup best practices for efficient project management and have also started developing our first line of mobile apps. In the last couple of years our team has built close to 10 apps, which are now available for download for Android and iOS platforms.\"

\"For every application we design, user interaction and usability plays a key role as what matters the most is for our customers to perceive the app with ease,\" says Mr. Bose. To further improvise on the Digital Enablement Perspective, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions has created a personalized member area, an online portal that provides customized drawing tools among others to help engineers design components and save most of the manual work. Through this portal, the company also offers technical support services to engineers and other customers, and communicates easily by transferring their engineering knowledge, skills and expertise, giving apt suggestions on the right sealing and other hydraulic tools that best suit their requirements.

Mr. Bose acknowledges the challenges involved in getting the top IT talent to build mobile apps for enterprises like Trelleborg Sealing Solutions. \"Most developers prefer to build mobile applications that can be popularized among consumers. Some of the apps which we have built are designed in a way that both enterprises and consumers are benefitting largely from them,\" says Mr. Bose. This comes as no surprise as one of Trelleborg Sealing Solutions\' mobile applications, \"Unit and Hardness Converter\" that helps to convert frequently used units and currencies in an efficient and convenient way has crossed more than 1 million downloads on independent mobile application platforms.

A few of the other apps developed by Trelleborg Sealing Solutions have the unique capability to instigate timely collaboration between the manufacturing companies\' delivery center and the internal backend team. An example includes the SealScan mobile app, which can scan QR codes present on the delivery boxes supplied to customer warehouse and directly send the delivery updates and new orders to Trelleborg Sealing Solutions\' backend system. \"This app was deployed for one of our European customers, where our delivery team went to the customer\'s place and proactively figured out what seals were going out of stock and immediately placed a reorder for those seals; all this took place without the customer having to order them in the first place,\" says Mr. Bose. \"Thus, with the automated process provided by the SealScan mobile app installed on our delivery team\'s smartphone, they no longer have to carry bulky paperwork between the customer place and the backend center, as each and every communication will be updated instantly,\" he adds. This app was demonstrated at the Paris Air Show last year and received very positive responses.

Apart from the mobile solutions, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions develops numerous web-based solutions, which are coded on both JAVA and .Net platforms.

Platforms for IT Innovations

A key challenge faced by the manufacturing sector is the efficiency in managing knowledge transfer programs, as this would involve high dependency on a veteran to transfer the knowledge on maintenance of machines to new generation employees, which in itself is a long and time consuming process. To overcome this issue, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions\' Technology Centre for Excellence, which is mainly responsible for innovations, is developing a use case that would use \"Augmented Reality\" to seamlessly help transfer knowledge to new recruits, at a faster rate. \"We are researching on an application that would render a 3 dimensional view of the machine it is pointed to, and show the details of specific parts of the machine in a touch sensitive manner, making the knowledge transfer process much smoother. We look at innovation in multiple dimensions-firstly, innovation in terms of user interface and usability, making the biggest impact on the applications; and secondly a focus group for niche technological advancements, which is responsible for driving innovation on large scale,\" says Mr. Bose.

Their usability groups meet on a monthly basis to discuss about the latest trends on both mobile and web platforms. Additionally, Trelleborg Sealing Solution has a Centre for Excellence for architectural activities such as solution architecture definitions and reviews for all the applications, where they try to bring in best of innovation in terms of architectural models and technology frameworks. And lastly, they have established a governance model, where people from the Technology Center of Excellence as well as other IT departments often discuss and take decisions on architectural challenges for on-going projects in Trelleborg Sealing SolutionsIT.

Strengthening the Internal Business Processes

In order to improve the efficiency in serving customers, the visionaries at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions have undertaken a large scale business process re-engineering initiative. \"We refer to this re-engineering process as \"ease of doing business\", which means simplifying the internal processes such that customers find it very easy to do business with us,\" notes Mr. Omerhodzic. The company has taken forward this business initiative through Project Symphony - which implements a state-of-the-art business process management platform, where they can design processes based on varying market transformation needs and also retain ample flexibility to change the business processes anytime, without affecting the entire system.

The purpose of the Symphony project is to establish a Business Process Management discipline and integrate all IT systems across business units and product areas in Trelleborg Sealing Solutions. The resulting concept is a \"Single Access Point\" for customers, sales personnel and users of back-end processes to reduce non-value adding process time across all end-to-end processes.

Talent, the Bedrock of Innovation

\"Establishing a partnership in India needs a good understanding of its cultural aspect. One of the biggest challenges recruiters face here is to get the right people on board,\" says Mr. Omerhodzic. For new recruits, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions provides a well-structured induction program to make sure they get a clear view on the company\'s various IT as well as business processes. \"We also take our new members for a field trip across IT and marketing offices, warehouse and other manufacturing units,\" notes Mr. Bose. Through IT, sales, production and other departmental units collaborating on a closer level, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions makes sure that these types of business and IT induction programs are beneficial to their employees.

Dr. Vamsi Mohan Vandrangi, a Delivery Manager at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions India, recalls his dilemmas in joining an IT division of a manufacturing company, and his exposure towards cross pollination of business and technology ideas imbibed at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, \"I initially felt it was risky to join a manufacturing company as I was under the impression that it was one of the least IT advanced sectors. In the very first week I realized that Trelleborg Sealing Solutions\' leadership position in manufacturing precision seals and hydraulics was supported by a strong foundation of internal IT systems and processes. It creates a lot of interest among new recruits when they undergo workshops, not only from an IT perspective but also interms of core domain of the sealing business.\"

Mr. Bose believes in building a strong internal team within Trelleborg Sealing Solutions as this would not only reduce the outsourcing requirements but also help in implementing a faster approach towards development of various solutions. \"What differentiates us from other MNCs is the approach we have taken towards building a strong internal IT team. Our goal is to do everything internally, but currently since the company is still growing, we do outsource whenever there are not enough resources available to address specific business requirements,\" says Mr. Bose. That being said, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions has arrived at the first stage of iron-cladding the internal IT team and has successfully designed multiple mobile apps for engineers, without the need to outsource the projects.

Exciting times ahead

Today, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions has a global presence with 24 manufacturing units worldwide, 9 R&D centers in Europe and America and 56 marketing companies that offer high quality Sealing systems and market leading engineering support in industry segments like aerospace, automotive, railways, industrial applications, power, agriculture, light vehicle, transportation equipment, life science, offshore oil and gas, and general industry.

Going forward, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions wants to imbibe innovation as a key factor to drive its young and energetic team. Mr. Omerhodzic concludes on a positive note,\"We dream of providing a singular environment where the next generation employees can utilize the latest technologies for every aspect of their job. This is indeed an exciting time to be working at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions because we have new horizons in our sights that are taking us along untraded paths. Although these might be a bit rocky at times, we\'re certain that the view at the end will be worth it!\"