Posted by Elisa Sacchi - 07 February, 2019
Maintenance professionals are often offered presentations of new products. This usually means that they invest a lot of time and eventually learn a little more than they could find in a brochure or technical data sheet. With the aim of offering customers - particularly maintenance professional at various levels - an added-value experience, Markus Filian, Segment Manager Industry with Master Builders Solutions, developed an interactive, dialog-oriented format for customer presentations. We asked Markus how his approach works and how customers can benefit from it.
Why did you decide to develop a specific format for product presentations?
I am a civil engineer and in my previous role as Head of the Civil Engineering Department at BASF Ludwigshafen, together with my team, my responsibilities included planning onsite structural maintenance measures. In this role I realized how product demonstrations could be made more effective and interesting by focusing on advanced information on innovations and distinctive features of the product rather than on standard properties or applications. This is why, in my new role as Segment Manager Industry, I started working on a dialog-based format for the presentation of our product and service portfolio that we call ‘Experience exchange’.
How does your approach work?
Our presentations always focus on the challenge of keeping a large industrial site, for instance with 2000 buildings and over a hundred production facilities well maintained. However, each meeting is different because we adjust the contents to the specific requests and interest of our customers. In the course of the meeting we share our own experience and know-how, tools that we developed internally for specific purposes and photographic material showing projects that have been implemented successfully. We present a variety of typical damage scenarios and explain what we believe is the most appropriate solution for each of them. We highlight the fact that the selection of the right product, e.g. a coating material, is key to developing effective solution package. This product then needs to be combined with a variety of application details so that all the site-specific parameters can be taken into account during the planning stage. This significantly reduces errors and the risk of incidents due to improvisation on the construction site. At this stage of the meeting, we place great emphasis on audience feedback. The customer’s own experience, their comments and critical questions initiate a genuinely interactive exchange that everyone can benefit from.
How do customers respond to this approach and what is the added value for them?
We usually get very positive feedback. Customers attending our events do not listen passively but are actively involved in a peer-to-peer exchange and dialog which makes the format of the event highly interesting for the participants. For our part, we try to be very specific and to go into practical details, to convey our professionalism and our know-how. All this together gives customers considerable added value, during the event thanks to the sharing of experience and information; and also after the event, when our experts keep on providing information about the whole Master Builders Solutions product range and technical assistance throughout all the phases of a project from design and planning to delivery.
What kind of customers can benefit from this kind of exchange? Can you give us an example?
Recently, we were requested by Sibur, the largest petrochemical company in Russia, to arrange a meeting. They were especially interested in visiting us at our site in Ludwigshafen. We received a delegation of professionals in several areas including maintenance, project planning, digitalization, pipeline design, and production, as well as a member of the executive board. During the meeting we presented the Master Builders Solutions product portfolio and provided additional technical advice and support. As we hosted this event at our site instead of visiting Sibur in Russia, we were able to provide a much more comprehensive and instructive experience for our guests: BASF is, after all, the world’s largest operator of chemical facilities as well as a manufacturer of maintenance systems – a unique combination. And indeed, this generated considerable interest: Sibur representatives took a very active part in the event and gave us very positive feedback. The event also marked the beginning of a constructive, collaborative relationship between the two companies, our colleagues based in Russia have now taken over and they are in close contact with Sibur with regard to current and future projects.
How can other companies and professionals request an event of this type?
We are always looking forward to new enquiries and requests, and are happy to share our solutions and our know-how. Anyone interested in an “Experience exchange” event at their company are welcome to contact me directly so that we can define key topics of interest and the program for the event.