Remscheid, 2 May 2016
Vaillant Group a digital leader in the heating technology industry
- Networked products and digital services
- New sales platform HeizungOnline
- Production and development processes changing
Remscheid-based heating technology specialist, the Vaillant Group, is continuing to advance the digitisation movement in the heating technology industry. Its focus is fixed on product connectivity, new business models with digital services, web-based sales concepts and networking of product development and production processes. The process involves creating added value through structured analysis of product, process and usage data. To this end, a big data competence centre was set up with the aim of compiling, analysing and making targeted use of large amounts of data.
“We aim to take on technical leadership role within the heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology industry,” Vaillant Group CEO Dr Carsten Voigtländer explained in Remscheid during a press conference streamed live on the internet on 2 May 2016. “We consider digitisation in the context of supplying buildings with energy a strategic growth opportunity. Customers today expect a heating manufacturer to provide products which can be connected and appropriate service offers for these, as well as digital communication, sales and service channels.
This applies both to consumers and our specialist partners.”
To meet market requirements for short innovation cycles and keep up with quickly changing customer needs, the Vaillant Group is implementing a digital transformation within the company as well. The main focus is on networking all production locations worldwide, electronically tracking all quality-relevant processes in production and employing agile and cross-functional working methods. This process involves cooperation with other specialised technology companies and start-ups.
Connectivity established as a standard function
In the meantime, the Vaillant Group product range comprises a number of control systems designed to meet various needs, which make it possible for system operators to control their heating from their mobile end devices using free apps. The spectrum ranges from simple solutions for retrofitting existing individual systems to incorporating complex systems into a complete building automation concept. The new Vaillant Green iQ device series, which was launched on the market in mid-2015, has corresponding built-in interfaces or communication modules already as standard. System owners can carry out a number of tasks on their systems, including controlling the systems remotely, storing individual user profiles and optimising energy consumption. They can also benefit from service and maintenance offers that require remote access.
Connectivity in service areas
The Vaillant service platform profiDIALOG will make it possible in future for skilled technicians to check the operating status of customer systems online and configure the systems as necessary directly via the internet. System operators can therefore enjoy the additional convenience and increased operational reliability this option provides. At the same time, skilled technicians will also be able to actively notify customers about servicing intervals and perform services remotely or on site with increased efficiency and time savings. System diagnostics are already being carried out over the internet. If repairs are required or worn parts need to be replaced, the technician already knows which components are needed before arriving at the customer’s premises. Alternatively, specialist partners also have the option of commissioning Vaillant to monitor systems directly.
An additional aim in the future is to correlate past data from operational monitoring with performed servicing, system locations and weather data, in order to predict the likelihood of requested customer services. Customers can therefore be notified proactively about required maintenance and servicing before a fault or failure occurs. Another benefit of data analysis is the constant quality improvements to products and production processes, as well as the option to use the knowledge gained from system operation to develop new products.
New sales platform HeizungOnline
On the internet platform HeizungOnline, consumers can select the right heating system for them online in just a few steps. A potential customer simply answers a few questions and enters a desired date and time for an on-site visit by a specialist partner. They then receive an email with a suggested heating system and price. The customer makes a final decision on the heating system, the offer is drawn up and the system is subsequently installed on site by one of Vaillant’s competent partners. Throughout the process, the contractual rela-tionship remains directly between only Vaillant and the consumer. In addition to Germany, the sales concept will be extended to Belgium and the Netherlands this year.
Industry 4.0: networked global production
In the area of product development and manufacture, the Vaillant Group is focusing on agile processes in order make gains amongst international competition. In past years, the required infrastructure in the production network has been achieved in order to network all production sites via a standardised real-time data system. This will allow for increased efficiency and continued improvement to product quality. At the same time, analyses from the production processes can be fed back as requests and incorporated in product development.
The Vaillant Group is an internationally operating heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technology concern based in Remscheid, Germany. As one of the world's market and technology leaders, the Vaillant Group develops and produces tailor-made products, systems and provides services for domestic comfort. The product portfolio ranges from efficient heating appliances based on customary fuels to system solutions for using regenerative energy sources. In financial year 2015 the company, which has been family-owned since its founding in 1874, achieved with more than 12,000 employees sales totalling about €2.4 billion.