“Service excellence through maintenance”

Alberto Maritxalar,
Head of Orona’s Technological Innovation in Services

Alberto Maritxalar is in charge of technological innovation in services at Orona, a company that designs, manufactures, installs, maintains and upgrades lifts, escalators, ramps and travelators. In this interview Maritxalar speaks from his own experience about the importance of maintenance in offering a better service.

1.- Most companies have traditionally based themselves on the sale of the product, but in recent times we've been seeing the growth of models in which the sale of services is more important in the income statement. How important is maintenance at Orona?

The service business has always been a source of revenue for Orona, although the origin of the company has more to do with the industrial and production sphere.

You have to bear in mind that Orona has been on the market for over 50 years and the evolution has been slow, starting with a mainly production profile and moving towards a services profile, which right now is the predominant one.

Within the services business, maintenance activity is very important. It is worth pointing out that Orona is a services company on a European level, and each country presents a different context both in the market situation and in the legislative aspect.

If we focus on the Spanish market and on the current economic context, maintenance activity is the most important one right now.

2.- Why is this commitment to maintenance important? How does it help to differentiate Orona’s offer with respect to that of its competitors?

You have to remember that lifts are systems that transport people. Orona has always been committed to a quality service that guarantees the maximum safety for travellers, and the operational readiness of the installation through proper preventive maintenance. We strive to guarantee a time for dealing with notifications and emergencies that fit the customer’s needs, and we also advise on the improvements that can be made to the installation with a view to improving accessibility for all types of people as well as cutting the energy consumption of the installation with the resulting economic savings.

What is more, in view of the fact that the company is a co-operative, Orona has a highly committed human team that is fully geared towards the needs of the customer.

3.- Maintenance calls for an intensive commitment to R&D&i, and in this respect, work in conjunction with R&D centres is normal. What is Orona’s sphere of collaboration with IK4-TEKNIKER? Would you like to highlight an example of this collaboration?

Along this path towards excellence in service, Orona has the advantage in being able to influence the various elements involved in this context. Firstly, by developing innovative products, for new installations as well as for existing ones. Secondly, by designing optimised processes and services geared towards the customer. And lastly, by providing ourselves with the infrastructure and systems that enable us to make the most of all this, thus improving communication and the availability of information.

Traditionally, products, systems and processes used to be worked on separately yielding good results, but we have seen that the greatest potential is obtained when we consider the three aspects together. This is not simple, because it forces departments to work in a coordinated way with each other when traditionally they used to work in an autonomous way, but the result is spectacular.

For example, we can use the information that reaches our Contact Centre through certain automatic communication systems, draw conclusions from it and make it available to our maintenance network through mobility tools.

For a long time IK4-TEKNIKER has been helping us in this work involving a global approach by providing the necessary theoretical knowledge; what is more, the centre is endorsed by its practical experience in other sectors.

4.- Orona’s commitment to R&D become clear for example with Orona Ideo, an innovation city where companies, R&D centres, university, etc. converge. What phase is this project in at the moment and what is it going to contribute?

Orona Ideo is already running in terms of the teaching, business and technological aspects. We have infrastructure which a few years ago we couldn't have even imagined. It is the second academic year for the university, and there are also R&D centres with their working groups.

Orona Fundazioa (Foundation) has also been set up and from there Orona Ideo has begun to work with the aim of opening the company up to society.

But there is still a lot to do. Orona Ideo is an open project with an important road ahead of it to be covered. We’ve only just started and we have to go on building the mechanisms that will enable us to boost the benefits of this "innovation ecosystem", by taking on more collaborators and boosting the synergies among all the players.

5.- How is Orona approaching its near future with respect to maintenance? What kind of proposals will it be working on to provide the customer with greater value?

The results we are achieving with the current lines of work are spectacular and the transfer of results to Orona is taking place very rapidly indeed. This is reinforcing us so that we can go on being committed to the same line; from this line we are expecting increasingly greater results arising out of the knowledge acquired and the stability of the working teams.

We are developing a new generation of products that are being born already prepared for this context, and we will go on developing our systems and processes to make the most of them.

All this will enable us to know, for instance, when a component in the installation is nearing the end of its useful service life and to programme the maintenance of it or replace it at the most appropriate moment and before it causes the customer problems. We will also be able to make available the necessary information and knowledge to our field personnel to guide them in their work on the basis of historical information and the use of the installation in question, and also on the basis of the experience built up by all the professionals who carry out similar tasks.

At the end of the day, always designing a more efficient service of greater quality, bolstered by supports that enable us to strengthen our commitment to the customers, is something that has always characterised us.