News | September 2022
Lödige acquires Northern Elevator
Lödige Industries, a supplier of lift solutions, acquires the British lift installation, repairs and maintenance provider Northern Elevator Limited.
“Material shortages and delivery problems are one of the biggest problems we are currently facing,” declared Frank Schach in an interview with LIFTjournal. He has been the new chairman of the Board of Managers at Schindler Germany since 1 February.
Schach is the successor of Dr Meinolf Pohle, who has been appointed to the Group management of the Schindler Holding AG for the Northern Europe Region. This was preceded by the resignation of Thomas Oetterli as CEO of the Schindler Group.
What new direction are you planning for Schindler Germany? What do you want to concentrate on?
Schach: What counts most is that the direction is already correct. We already began several years ago to focus our attention more on our customers. We will continue to do so. We are optimising internal processes to gain more time for customers. We must listen to them carefully and put together products and services optimally tailored to the needs of our customers.
Let me give you an example of this: many of our customers are planning networked buildings in which the lift is no longer isolated, but is considered to be part of an intelligent building structure where the concern is access regulations, sustainable operation and interfaces to other building technology. Here, we can offer a solution that meets these customer expectations precisely in the form of our transit management technology PORT 4D.
Does your plan also include having a major influence on international standardisation – with what aim?
Schach: No, as a German Group company we are focusing on the German market. At the same time, we are also working on standardisation in various associations and committees. The focus here is very clearly on the safety of our passengers and employees.
In your public presentation, you declared that Schindler intends in future to work with open interfaces. When is this planned?
Schach: We already offer an open, secure and modular platform in the form of Schindler CoLab, which allows our customers to integrate our digital services in their building management. The CoLab platform provides interfaces for user programming on site or in the cloud and many functions, such as software development kits, which are already available today via the Schindler Developer Portal.
How many lifts are already maintained at Schindler Germany using predictive maintenance? What is the share for existing lifts and for new lifts?
Schach: We can already access a large proportion of the lifts from our portfolio remotely and are continuously working on enlarging this proportion. This applies both to Schindler lifts as well as to those of other manufacturers.
How great is the interest of operators in this?
Schach: Customers appreciate the advantages arising from Schindler Ahead, our remote monitoring solution. Lifts break down less often, because they are monitored round the clock and the tiniest divergences can be detected in the data. We can detect and eliminate a multitude of problems in this way before they become faults and result in the breakdown of the lift. Moreover, customers have a dashboard providing full transparency regarding their lift at all times and everything we do as part of our service agreement.
Does this result in additional costs for operators or do they fall because the lift does not need to be started as often?
Schach: We do not make the pricing dependent on how often we have to send out a technician. Our approach, in the interests of our customers, is different: our customers rely on the availability of the lift, i.e. that it breaks down as seldom as possible and in the event of a standstill can be put back into operation quickly. How often the technician has to drive to the lift is not decisive in this regard. Figuratively speaking, we are always present at the lift with a technician via our remote monitoring. This technical assistant tells us if one of our skilled technicians has to go out to the lift.
How high is the profit margin in new construction/modernisation/maintenance/repair at Schindler Germany?
Schach: I hope you understand that we do not provide any information on that for Schindler Germany. However, you can find very detailed financial information in the annual report of the Schindler Group.
How are you dealing with the shortage of skilled labour?
Schach: By offering very good working conditions, fascinating job profiles, attractive pay, a good work-life balance and outstanding opportunities for promotion and further education. We have been awarded the Top Employer seal for 13 years in a row and as a result are among the best employers in Germany. Nevertheless, we are also feeling the shortage of skilled labour and have to do even more to win over the best candidates. We need to become more visible as an attractive employer.
And the shortage of materials/delivery problems?
Schach: That’s one of the biggest challenges we’re currently facing. We have the advantage that as a company that operates worldwide, we can base our supply chains on various sources, but that doesn't solve every bottleneck. To be able to secure the spare parts availability at a high service level, we not only have to increase our inventories, for example, but also have urgently needed spare parts flown in from China to Germany. This drives costs up, which we cannot completely compensate and in part have to pass on to the customer.
Ulrike Lotze conducted the interview.
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