How a small department can make the difference. Because a problem in the field needs to be solved properly. Damiano explains how he has been doing a wide variety of service and repair work for nearly 30 years.
"In 1992 I joined the production department as a motor assembly worker. There, I was introduced to our products and after a while made the switch to the Warehouse department. When in 1995 a vacancy for the position of Repair & Service Employee became available, I thought it would be a nice challenge to be more involved with the technical aspect of our products. At the time, an area for repairs already existed in the factory, but on a smaller scale as part of the production department.
As a service employee, I then got my own workstation and supported customers with on-site repairs when necessary. This is when I first visited barns and greenhouses. Then you really get to solve the customer's issue on the spot. That really appealed to me. Born and raised in a big city like Milan, this was the first time I had ever seen the inside of a barn. Very interesting, but it did take some getting used to!
One of the on-site repairs I remember well was in a dairy barn in North Brabant, The Netherlands. We were there to check the fans for a speed control problem. This issue had already taken a lot of the installer's time but the cause had not yet been found. We then did several checks and discovered the problem during an electrical measurement. Due to an installation error, the thermostat in the barn was not properly controlling the transformer, which in turn controlled the fan speed.
Although the farmer was obviously dissatisfied that this problem had occurred, he was pleased that we had found the solution. The nice thing is that this leaves you with a satisfied feeling yourself as well. That is one of the nicest things about this work to me, making people happy with a good solution.
The service process has evolved over the years. As we work with a worldwide dealer network, we now mainly fulfill the role of knowledge-bearer. Local installers and dealers provide on-site service and maintenance. Because the application often involves ventilation for living animals, fast and good service can be crucial. If problems arise that the installer or dealer would like to involve us in, we can step in and help solve it.
Whereas I used to visit the customer myself, this process now involves several parties. Our sales department first receives the service request. There it is discussed whether the product will need to be sent to Vostermans Ventilation for inspection. Once it arrives at our factory, an engineer from our R&D department or a quality assurance engineer may be involved to identify any problems. Then we perform the necessary repairs or communicate our findings back to the installer or end user. Because we develop and produce our products mostly in-house, an engineer can incorporate any solutions directly into the product design.
Of course it also happens that fans come back in need of replacement. When fans are no longer usable, I first check if the parts can be reused. If not, then the raw materials will be reused as much as possible. Copper and aluminum can be completely reused for example. Aluminum motor housings can be smelted in our aluminum foundry and made into other products. Other parties can also reuse the steel parts.
The strength of our organization is quality and service. I expect that service will remain an important part of our organization in the coming years. By that, I don’t necessarily mean that the size of our team needs to grow. Our relatively small service team is a nice confirmation that our products are working as expected . That product quality remains very important. Because quick and good service is nice, but prevention is even better."