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SMT & Inspection | September 23, 2010

Siplace: 'Quality of service depends on employees’ experience'

And How will the sale of the Siplace placement machine unit to ASM Pacific Technology affect its customer service structure and performance? Florian Bauer, Director Global Siplace Service provides answers to these and other questions.
You have been in charge of Siplace’s customer service for many years now. Have your duties and responsibilities changed just as dynamically as the electronics manufacturing industry in general?

Yes, without a doubt. The changes are extreme, and they apply not only to the customers’ requirements in terms of response speed, which has shrunk to a fraction of what it used to be. The service focus has shifted as well. Years ago, everything revolved around spare parts, repairs and training; today our people provide mainly optimization advice, engineering services, customized training and proactive services – all designed for the customer’s specific requirements and in cooperation with his staff. This shift also requires new skills for our employees.

For many equipment manufacturers, service is considered an unpopular cost driver. What is your standpoint?

This kind of thinking is faulty and deceptive in many ways. We know, for example, that customer satisfaction and customer loyalty depend to a great extent on the quality of the supplier’s service. An equipment manufacturer who does not meet his customer’s service expectations will stop selling machines over the medium to long term. On the other hand, today’s electronics manufacturers no longer buy machines, but solutions consisting of hardware, software and services.

I for one am quite convinced that the quality of service will be the predominant differentiator in the future. And on top of all that, the sales numbers speak for themselves: A company like Siplace generates between 20 - 30% of its revenues with service products today, and the share keeps rising.

The sale of Siplace to ASM Pacific Technology came as quite a surprise to many people in the industry. ASMPT has its own sales and service organization - especially in Asia. How will this affect Siplace and its customers?

ASMPT is an industrial investor who is familiar with the electronics industry and intends to grow with Siplace. WK Lee, the CEO of ASMPT, knows that the outstanding image of the Siplace brand all over the world can be traced back to a good extent to our local service. This was a major factor in ASMPT's purchase decision. Consequently, the decision to run the Siplace team as a separate unit in the ASM organization makes a lot of sense.

According to current plans, Siplace's locations and its sales and service organizations in Asia and the rest of the world will remain unchanged. This means that virtually nothing will change for our customers in the different regions globally, and this includes the familiar faces of the Siplace service staff.

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