thyssenkrupp Elevator has responded to the challenges of delivering customized mobility solutions by launching HoloLinc – a first-of-its-kind, fully digitalized sales process for the stairlift industry, developed in collaboration with Zühlke and Microsoft.
After a pilot in the Netherlands with more than 300 successful installations to date, the solution is being rolled out from this month onwards, in the UK, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, and France, with Norway and Japan to follow next year. The roll-out on a global level is seen as a major milestone in mass industrializing innovation, and thyssenkrupp Elevator now equips 120 salespeople with the HoloLinc toolkit, which comprises of a Microsoft HoloLens, a tablet, portable printer, and other technical accessories.
With this project, thyssenkrupp Elevator, Zühlke and Microsoft have turned ambitious dreams into reality, while defining the new industry standard. As the first real example of mixed reality to be applied in large-scale field services, HoloLinc delivers a completely new experience in engineering-to-order.
The combination of mixed reality and a cloud-based configurator allows for significantly accelerated lead times as well as an unparalleled customer experience. With the help of digital twins, customers will be able to see exactly what products will look like in their own homes, and customize it to their specific requirements. As a result, customers will benefit from a process that is four times faster than the previous ordering process. What formerly took around 40 to 70 days can now be done in just 14 days.
In a market where clients have an urgent need for mobility solutions, this radically shortened process has a serious impact. “The need for a stairlift can arise very suddenly. The customer may be in distress – and if we can deliver quickly, this can provide enormous relief and comfort, truly having an effect on the customer’s quality of life. From this point of view, it’s an emotional matter, too,” explains Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO thyssenkrupp Elevator.
HoloLinc enables a true transformation in the way space is measured and digitized, so that a salesperson can immediately trigger production. The most accurate measurement during an initial visit takes into consideration a set of criteria, including user ergonomics and any pathway obstacles. The data captured is sent to Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure, and is then used to configure the most suitable stairlift for the customer. This offer can be visualized, configured to customized preferences as well as priced and quoted in real time making the complete ordering process a matter of hours. The salesperson can not only deliver a unique customer experience, but also has much less paperwork, and does not have to return back to the customer’s location to adjust the order.
By leveraging the HoloLinc solution, the innovation service provider Zühlke opens up a new dimension: For the first time, it is possible to use Microsoft HoloLens as a measuring instrument with maximum precision. The digital data processing eliminates the risk of human error when measuring and forwarding the determined values.
Fabrizio Ferrandina, CEO of the Zühlke Group explains: “Thanks to the good cooperation with thyssenkrupp and our joint agile development, we could transform this vision into a solution within only nine months. With HoloLinc, we push mixed reality to the next level. However, this is just the beginning and we have a lot of ideas, how to go even further.”
”Choosing trusted and powerful partners is a critical success factor for companies aiming to digitally transform their businesses. With HoloLinc thyssenkrupp Elevator has truly created a best practice for an end-to-end digital transformation story empowered by Microsoft’s cloud platform: They have built a digital value chain optimizing production and service processes and providing customers in their homes with the best possible sales experience at the same time”, says Thorsten Herrmann, General Manager Microsoft Germany.
By harnessing the power of IoT with solutions like HoloLinc, thyssenkrupp Elevator is able to step further into the digital era and transform the way it delivers mobility solutions. The quicker communication between salespersons, backend, and manufacturing teams through the immediate ERP integration between configuration, customer purchase, and production is a big leap forward as is the use of mixed reality technology at a time when Industry 4.0 and VR mostly are visions of the (near) future. This is digitization in the most tangible and productive fashion – and it happens right now.