Service design

Customer first: How Konecranes applies service design

Successful products and services rely on meticulous design methods, seamless experience coordination, and valuable data leverage. One key method in achieving this is service design – a strategy increasingly adopted by successful organizations across industries. But how does this concept translate within the heavy-duty world of material handling equipment?  For Konecranes, the approach is defined by incorporating the customer’s perspectives throughout the process – ultimately ensuring that the end-solution is as simple, appealing and desirable for the customer as possible.

Service design involves creating services through a structured process involving collaboration with end-users and stakeholders, customer research, prototyping, testing, and continuous iteration. This user-focused approach helps companies to adapt services to customer needs but requires also a shift in their organizational mindset and processes. By making decisions based on a deep understanding of customer needs and behaviours, companies can ensure that their services remain relevant and effective to their customers.

At the heart of Konecranes' philosophy is the belief that the best products and services are crafted with the customer's voice as a guiding force. "Konecranes’ service design approach is aligned with our key strategic initiative of including a deeper customer focus in our product and service development, with a crucial element being the incorporation of customers’ perspective”, Tjhien Liao, Konecranes Senior Service Designer tells.

Crafting products and services with a customer in mind

Konecranes has utilized service design across the organization to deliver solutions for diverse applications, such as creating digital strategies and optimizing products and pricing. It has also fostered beneficial cross-department collaboration and increased flexibility, crucial for adapting to evolving service and product requirements.

"Incorporating customer perspectives is not just a step in our process; it's the cornerstone of our entire approach to service design," Liao shares. The commitment to customer engagement ensures that every product and service is not only functional but also finely tuned to the user's needs. "Customers are generally very happy to share their thoughts whenever we ask. We go beyond simply asking them if they like our cranes by doing deep dive sessions that often provide valuable insights”, Antti Kienanen, Konecranes Service Designer continues.

The impact of service design at Konecranes extends beyond customer interaction, reaching into the very workflows that keep the company ticking.  This internal alignment is crucial for maintaining the agility needed to meet the ever-changing demands of the industry. It also improves internal workflows by identifying key participants and integrating digital products with physical ones. "By aligning our internal teams, from embedded software developers to service specialists, we're able to refine our processes and enhance our offering", Kienanen tells.

Harnessing customer insights for innovation

One customer case where the service design approach has proved effective involved incorporating digital smart crane features for a forestry equipment producer. These features enable operators to handle the crane efficiently and extend its life by automating crane repositioning to minimize wear and tear on rope, brakes, and other key components.

Kienanen explains that service design was implemented to drive the next steps in productizing an existing technology. "We took an existing technology and, through customer interviews, prototyping, customer journeys, service blueprints, roadmaps, and close collaboration with the UX design team, developed a new mobile application to improve how the product is marketed, sold, and delivered”, Kienanen describes the process.

As part of a pilot, the Konecranes service design team travelled to the customer site with the technician and development teams, who installed and commissioned the system using the new application and process. The customer responded very positively, providing valuable insights to help crystallize and scale the next iterations.

Customers seek simplicity and efficiency

In another case, the team collaborated with a large automotive manufacturer to improve Konecranes TRUCONNECT, a real-time monitoring solution for cranes. “With our most advanced cranes, crane-specific data is collected in real-time and sent to the cloud, which enables us to perform analytics, monitor conditions, and notify the customer about safety and operational efficiency”, Liao tells.

The TRUCONNECT notifications play an important part in managing the maintenance process of a crane by providing actionable insights that help customers manage maintenance proactively, avoiding disruptions and financial losses.

"Based on analytics and numerous interviews, together with the UX design team, we revamped the UI of our TRUCONNECT solution to be more user-friendly and give actionable insights that address our customers’ day-to-day concerns. We also added key features that enable an improved way of providing proactive maintenance with recommendations based on data”, he continues.

Ultimately, while Konecranes understands the complexities involved in selling, implementation, support, and servicing of the equipment, the primary goal remains clear: simplify the process for the customer.

"We need to understand the complexities of the product and service lifecycles, but it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, customers only want straightforward solutions. The true value of service design lies not just in the process but in the outcomes it achieves. Customers rely on us to handle the complexity so they can focus on their core operations”, Liao concludes.

By maintaining a relentless focus on the customer, Konecranes not only meets industry standards but also sets new benchmarks for service design excellence in the industry.


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