Customer focus at KION
KION focuses on the benefit for customers at every stage of the value chain. Its overarching objective is to make the TCO – the total acquisition and operating costs for the customer – as attractive as possible compared with competitor products. Central aspects of KION's focus on customers are:
- product development geared to creating benefits for customers (see Research and development section);
- interlinking of product and service business, encompassing spare parts, maintenance, fleet management and financing solutions;
- more than 1,100 sales and service outlets in over 100 countries, staffed by more than 8,400 employees and around 4,400 external service technicians and salespeople.
The individual brand companies are responsible for customer relations. They use tried-and-tested feedback processes, among other things, to obtain extensive knowledge about customer preferences in the different regions and price segments. Key account managers look after customers who are important in terms of the volume of unit sales and potential for growth and technology. Nevertheless, KION's reliance on individual customers is low: the ten largest customers generated 6 per cent of consolidated revenue in 2012 (2011: 6 per cent).
Customer-related performance indicators
Systematic customer relationship management (CRM) is crucial to KION's success and is therefore an integral element of how the Company is run. Service levels remained high in 2012, with many services available 24 hours a day. Faster response times are achieved using technologies such as the STILLProActive communications system, which forwards error messages to service engineers automatically.
This high level of service is possible owing to the high number of KION trucks in use, which creates demand for after-sales services. KION firmly believes that, by generating a high proportion of total revenue from services, it can stabilise business performance and reduce its susceptibility to economic downturns. At 40 per cent in 2012, this proportion was at a similar level to 2011 (42 per cent).
The KION companies gauge customer satisfaction in feedback discussions and from the degree of customer loyalty. STILL carries out regular customer satisfaction surveys in service and sales. A CRM project has also been launched with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the customer structure and customer needs so that resources can be deployed in an even more targeted manner. The number and quality of contacts with customers at trade fairs enable KION to draw conclusions about existing and new customers' interest in product innovations.
KION's overarching aim of offering customers a lower TCO than competitors was confirmed by, among other things, a study by the TÜV NORD Group. Two Linde warehouse trucks were subjected to a performance test in the study, which found that their total operating costs – including energy costs – offered potential savings of up to 20 per cent compared with competitor products.
Marketing and sales activities
As in previous years KION took the opportunity to showcase its range of products and services at a number of exhibitions and trade fairs.
Having acquired its trading partner Liftec Rusfors in 2011, LMH had its own stand for the first time at CeMAT Russia – the foremost logistics trade fair in Russia. LMH's StaplerCup, an international competition for forklift truck drivers, won the European Best Event Award (EuBEA) in Milan. Two trade fairs in Germany – MobiliTec in Hannover and sps ipc drives in Nuremberg – provided an opportunity to showcase the portfolio of electric trucks and electric drive systems. Baoli participated in CeMAT Asia, where it presented its new D series of forklift trucks in the 3-tonne weight category.
STILL demonstrated product innovations at the Hannover trade fair as well as updated intralogistics solutions at CeBIT 2012. At the International Supply Chain Conference in Berlin, STILL reported on the use of innovative drive technologies. In 2011 STILL introduced the cubeXX concept truck, which combines six different classes of industrial truck in a single vehicle, thereby creating greater flexibility in warehouse management. Moreover, STILL won the German Award for Business Communications in the category 'Best Event and Trade Fair Marketing' in 2012.