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                SUMITOMO NEWSVol.12

                Improve the quality of service and customer satisfaction!
                What is "SPP", the support and training enhancing plan?

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                • Sumitomo's technical strengths are known the world over - what are they?
                • Thailand A Leader in the market, Leadway Heavy Machinery Co., Ltd., and its 4 years for customers
                • Global Topics


                Improve the quality of service and customer satisfaction!
                What is "SPP", the support and training enhancing plan?

                To improve the quality level of service and contents that customers want, Sumitomo Partnership Program (SPP) has started in 2015.
                We interviewed Mr. Kawamura, Corporate Officer, Customer Support Div.
                and the promoter of the SPP.

                Associate Executive Officer
                Corporate Officer, Customer Support Div
                Mitsunori Kawamura

                "Responsibility for Product," "Responsibility in Business," and "Responsibility to Customer." These are the main philosophy of the Customer Support (CS) head office of Sumitomo Construction Machinery set forth as the "three responsibilities". Among these three, the one CS head office thinks the most important is and also the one they are putting most effort into is the "customer service responsibility." CS head office has started to support and educate the overseas distributors and the main body of that program is the SPP (Sumitomo Partnership Program) which started in 2015.
                This is a policy that both Sumitomo Construction Machinery and our distributors took to improve the customer satisfaction and by improving customer support, to make a virtuous cycle with the customers. Head of the SPP project, Mr. Kawamura says,
                "Recently during meetings at our distributors, we are continuously discussing about how customers’ demands for the quality of customer support are getting higher. So, to improve our customers’ satisfaction, I thought more effective support was needed. That is a main concept of the SPP."

                Mr. Kawamura has a long experience in overseas. He has stationed totally fourteen years abroad mainly in the United States and in Europe. While he stationed overseas, he strongly recognized in the importance of the local distributors’ customer support activities. This experience drove him to launch the CS head office in Sumitomo Construction Machinery headquarters, and he became the first Corporate Officer of CS, and started the SPP program.
                Utilizing SPP program, they measure the accomplishment of the functions the distributors need to be a Sumitomo Construction Machinery partner, and evaluate them objectively. The check points such as maintenance and care before the delivery of our products, are largely divided into eleven groups, and then CS head office determines dealers’ performance.
                "In the past, we could only determine the selling distributors qualitatively, but now we can see the achievements by figures, and common problems and challenges are easily recognizable. Also, we can see strength and weakness of each distributor, so by sharing them, we are able to improve and strengthen the after-sales activities. As a result, there will be less troubles for the customers, which makes the machine availability better and its running cost lower."
                In the SPP program, our distributors submit several kinds of reports each month to the CS head office. Based on that performance, staff from head office visits the local distributors twice a year to discuss and review to improve their service activities. Also, they categorize the year’s achievement and give grades to each category. If the grade is more than criteria set in the program, the distributor gets "AAA". At the beginning of 2015 when they introduced the SPP, only six distributors started the program, but now five new distributors joined making total of eleven distributors participating in the program.
                Furthermore, CS head office is inviting our distributors from overseas every year, to share success stories and problems of each other and to decide what kind of support is needed from the head office.

                "I believe that the SPP, one of the tools or program as support activities, is making our distributors activities better. More distributors got AAA in the second year, some are investing willingly to the after-sales services, and some are focusing on educating the new service staff who actively visits customers to suggest services" says Mr. Kawamura showing confidence.
                In the SPP program, there is a category of observing distributors’ service force improvement by assigning a trainer for each distributor who organizes to train for their service team.
                Every year in the autumn, CS Head Office organizes the "Global Service Skill Contest." Two best service mechanics are chosen from each distributor taking service training program above, and they participate this skill contest to compete with each other.
                There are going to be ten distributors from all over the world this year.

                "In the CS head office, there are specialized staff in the Planning and Training Team organizing this contest. New staff joined the team in July and now three staff are working together. The team is hoping to invite all the distributors to participate the contest in the future. We are confident that our products are overwhelmingly superior to the others. CS head office is willing to make an effort to support aggressively and train our distributors so the customers will be able to utilize their machines with more comfort."
                "Customer Support Responsibility" that Mr. Kawamura is promoting is making the Sumitomo Construction Machinery go even higher.

                The key factors to gain trust from customers

                PT. SUMITOMO
                Manager, Customer Support Group
                Toru Karakawa

                In 2017, it has been 24 years since I joined Sumitomo Construction Machinery. My first job was supporting technical field service in Japan. Through 14 years of this activity, I learned a lot from our valuable customers about the importance of after-sales service as well as product quality.
                From 2006, my responsibility expanded to Europe, Southeast Asia, China and India market, and in 2013, I was assigned to Customer Support Group manager of PT. Sumitomo Construction Machinery Southeast Asia, covering mainly Indonesia and also other ASEAN countries and now I am living in Jakarta, Indonesia.
                The first mission which I decided after moving to Indonesia was improving distributors’ mindset about the after-sales service which our distributors in ASEAN countries had not taken very seriously. First of all, I started to interview both the after-sales service team and sales team of our distributors in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. I figured out that both teams had related problems; for after-sales service team, “It is difficult to build up trust with customers,” and for sales team, “One of reasons why we cannot sale well is poor service response by after-sales service team.” To be honest, inner miscommunication in the organization seemed to unconsciously give unreliable impression to their customers. Considering claims held by both teams, I found it was necessary to realize closer communication between sales and after-sales teams. To build bridge between them, I actively joined distributors’ meeting and involved all of them for settling problems together one by one. Keeping up with this action, I succeeded to integrate sales force and service force, and they were able to work in close cooperation with each other. As a result, we finally won the trust from customers at the point of both service and product quality. As for Asphalt Paver business which is rapidly growing up in the market these years, we have been providing after-sales service as well. Our after-sales service provides not only proper operating instruction but also “pavement method” cooperating with our reliable distributors. By carrying out our mission for customers, we resulted in drastically decreasing troubles in the actual pavement work as well as machine trouble.
                Now I am struggling to organize a program and textbook by recollecting actual trouble cases occurred before. At the same time we are educating our distributors from the service skill point of view. I am very sure that anyone can offer good quality service with this program and textbook. Moreover, I will have to tackle bringing up not a serviceman but “a service-adviser” who can offer technical service together with wide range of proper advices from how to solve troubles and to keep the machine in good shape to ideal operation method, which is a key factor for us to be trusted from customers.

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