In this interview we introduce Mr. Tom Braak. Tom works as a Service Account Manager here at Stork IMM. He started several years ago at Stork IMM on a temporary basis as an electrician and has since quickly progressed to become a Service Account Manager.
Tom, when did you start at Stork IMM?
I started at Stork IMM in 2014 as an electrician in the assembly department. I was hired through the employment agency for a number of weeks but I stayed. Soon I also started performing mechanical work and I progressed to the final assembly.
In the final assembly I learned how to start up and how to test the machines. From there I also learned to optimize the machines, by fine-tuning the software, and also a final check by means of measurements to ensure that the machine meets Storks’ stringent manufacturing and performance requirements.
How come you have developed so quickly?
I already had experience in mechanical engineering, so I already had mechanical and electrical knowledge as well as knowledge of hydraulics. I think collegiality is very important and that allowed me to learn a lot from my colleagues here at Stork IMM.
And then… How did the step to field service come about?
From the assembly department, I occasionally provided support in the field service and at a certain point I structurally entered the field service. I was a service technician for a number of months and then the role of service account manager came my way.
What are you doing in this role?
As a Service Account Manager you deal with second-line service. Where the first-line service focuses on solving ad hoc problems with customers, we go a step further in the second-line service. We have a close cooperation with the technical responsible employees at the customer. We analyze which structural issues can be tackled.
This is very different per customer. These can be, for example, optimizations, structural improvements, but also training weeks.
What makes this role so much fun?
The variety in this role is great. You have intensive contacts with the customer, but also traveling worldwide and the technical challenges are great. You get a lot of satisfaction from being able to help the customer and you have to be creative to come up with solutions.
You learn a lot and gain a broader knowledge of business management than just technology. Moreover, you see many different customers and companies.
In this role I have a lot of freedom and responsibility. To a large extent, you make your own agenda. You will analyze the actual issues, but you will also participate in the quality meetings so that you know what is going on and can respond to it.
Can you mention a few examples?
A while ago I was with a customer for a week and we were able to optimize a large number of machines and processes.
Another time I was in the United States with a customer who had bought a number of Stork machines but had no experience with them yet. I then helped them start up and gave them training on how to use and maintain the machines.
But also optimization processes such as energy savings, “downtime” reduction and the organization of periodic maintenance are included.
What is the success of the role?
You are a link between Stork IMM and the customers and you have to coordinate with everyone. You provide feedback, monitor progress with other departments, and stay close to technology.
You ensure structural quality and you are a real team with colleagues and customers.
Are you doing any more besides this role?
Yes, I conduct Factory Acceptance inspections and am involved in training new people. I really enjoy transferring knowledge.
In addition, I offer support through remote service for commissioning and disruptions.
And what about the future expectations?
Now through COVID-19 we can travel less and therefore we offer a lot of remote support. In addition, I expect that we will also be able to make major steps in optimizing the processes thanks to the constantly improved software and available process data available. We will then be able to provide much more preventive service and support customers even better in terms of maintenance and service. All this with the aim of increasing the “uptime” with customers.
We are already busy with trials and tests at customers for new developments and are gaining more and more insight into what is going on with customers. In this way, Stork can increasingly meet the needs of customers.