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IXON CEO: 'Machine builders’ focus is shifting from selling technology to selling top service'

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A lot is happening in the manufacturing industry right now. Rapid growth, scarcity of engineers, fast changing technology, new developments and the market becoming ever more competitive. ​We talked to Willem Hofmans, CEO of IXON, about the current situation in the market and the growth opportunities for machine builders in it.

We talked to Willem Hofmans, CEO of IXON, about the current situation in the market and the growth opportunities for machine builders in it.

Hofmans used his background in engineering to found IXON, which grew into one of the most valued and easy-to-use remote service & IIoT platforms in the manufacturing industry.

What challenges does the typical machine builder face at the moment?

The manufacturing industry is growing at an incredible pace. However, the component crisis causes many machines to still be awaiting missing components before they can be delivered to the customer. In addition, commissioning machines has become more costly and difficult due to the pandemic.

Machine builders are innovators and are continuously improving their machines. The biggest challenge now is to find ways to generate revenue during the entire lifecycle of the machine instead of only during commissioning. They need to think about new ways of serving customers via the internet and develop business models to go with it. Therefore they need the right people, which proves to be extra challenging due to the scarcity of engineers.

What items are on the agenda of the machine builder?

Many machine builders have made the strategic decision to invest in the development of new service propositions. They aim to use their knowledge to continuously improve their machines and advise customers on how to use the machine in the most efficient way.

Lots of companies are taking the first steps towards these propositions by implementing Industrial IoT. The strategy is communicated organisation-wide so all departments, from engineering and service to sales, are involved, working towards selling new service models and generating new revenue streams.

What steps are machine builders taking to implement these new business opportunities?

With remote access being widely accepted as a must -have, many machine builders are now taking their first steps towards condition monitoring. Today there are many examples of implementations across industries, from which they can learn. Furthermore, technology has developed in a way that makes it easier to start implementing IIoT. Analysing collected data is more widely embraced, which is crucial for condition monitoring. In addition, there is increased demand for integrations with third party tools in IIoT platforms, such as ERP or a ticket system. This makes it possible to compose the best process to get machines running optimally.

What advice do you have for machine builders who want to grow in such a competitive environment?

Take one step at a time; create a project team with a mix of dedicated people from inside and outside the company to start with the innovation process. Think outside the box and make sure to invest in the future. At IXON, we follow the motto: Think big, start small, scale fast.

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


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