Reigniting the Engine with Service Software

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Tell me about your organization.

Fairbanks Morse manufactures large diesel and duel-fuel engines primarily for the marine propulsion and stationary power markets, including nuclear standby power. Conceived in 1893, the company operates out of Beloit, Wis. Fairbanks Morse is a division of EnPro Industries and employs about 400.

What problems were you facing?

The largest problem we had was trying to better communicate with our end-use customers and making sure we were communicating with them on a much more frequent basis. We have a rather large installed base of customers. And for our marine locations, where the boat can be moved from customer to customer, we had a difficult time tracking that customer hand-off and finding out where that engine installation was.

In addition to the number of customers—especially with the U.S. Navy as a customer—we needed to monitor the locations and monitor the engine run times so that we could better track and manage our parts forecast and our service schedule and inventory.

We used myriad manual systems, including Excel files, Access Database, and Word documents. Everyone had their own tool, depending on their geographic location or job duty. The fragmentation created a lot of double work and miscommunication between the company and customer. One individual would have a certain type of info and would relay that to the customer; then that customer would call in on the same subject and speak to a different person and get a completely different set of information. We had done it like that for quite some time.

What was the tipping point?

It was a cultural shift. We wanted to move away from being an engineering company and more toward being a customer-focused company. We knew that if we wanted to continue to see organic growth, we needed to do a better job of capturing a higher percentage of the shared wallet of customers.

We felt [new CRM] tools would help us better communicate going forward.  We turned to Laurus Technologies for help in implementing Oracle’s E-business service software. Fairbanks Morse has been using Oracle E-Business for financials so Laurus recommended integrating the suite’s Teleservice and Installed Base modules. 

What results have you seen since the August go-live date?

On the service side, we have incorporated an online time card as well as expense reports, which allow us to do more efficient automated billing and invoicing. That has moved along the process quickly, as well as allowed for better tracking of inventory at all the locations and the movement of inventory. We are on a much more efficient path. We are already seeing higher customer satisfaction with some of the processes, since we are getting more customer information more quickly through our automated processes.

What’s next for Fairbanks Morse Engine?

We are implementing an advanced scheduler and the plan—as we have better visibility of engine install base—is to take the installed base and digitally map those engines. Then we will be able to track what service engineer is at what location and what actions are taking place. It will potentially be similar to the weather report of CNN, where they show a digital map of airline flights. We would like to see all our engines throughout the world and see which one of the service engineers is on site. We are working on the visual mapping of the engines in the near term and, as we develop the advanced scheduler in Oracle, hope to marry the two pieces together.

Dana Wallace, MIS Director for Fairbanks Morse, also contributed to this story.

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