ABB is launching the ABB Authorized Value Provider programme, amalgamating its UK variable-speed drives and electric motors networks into a single brand identity and creating what is claimed to be a new benchmark for technical advice, delivery, life cycle services and overall customer satisfaction for drives and motors. ABB says the aims of the programme are to reduce customers' risk of in-service failures of drives and motors, and make sure the customer is supported at every stage in the product lifecycle from product specification to removal and recycling. The former ABB Drives Alliance and ABB Motor Service Partner networks are now part of the ABB Authorized Value Provider programme. Over time, this new global Authorized Value Provider (AVP) initiative will encompass more third-party companies selling other products from the ABB portfolio.
The Authorized Value Provider network provides technical expertise, product and service availability all under one recognisable, local branch structure. It extends across the entire life cycle of both products by providing services such as energy and productivity appraisals, installation, start-up and preventive maintenance.
Neil Ritchie, the Local Business Unit Manager for ABB's drives and controls business, says: "Industry is evolving at a fast pace and the demands of customers are changing quicker than ever. The Authorized Value Provider programme marks the growth of the already successful ABB channel network into a bigger, better, stronger one; a network that is designed to meet the rapidly changing requirements of global business by providing consistent access to ABB products and services."
ABB has identified several reasons why its network needs to evolve, including:
- Greater customer demand for outsourcing
- Increased interest in packaged systems
- Widening legislation, regulations and directives
- An expanding array of engineering tools
- Advanced product technology
- A broader range of life cycle services
A distinctive logo symbolises the public face of the Authorized Value Provider network. Third-party companies, authorised to display the logo, have signed an agreement with ABB to stock, distribute and provide local value-added support. Interestingly, ABB says this is the first time third parties have been granted permission to use the ABB branding and logo.
Confidence in the ABB brand
Ian Allan, the Local Business Unit Manager for ABB's low-voltage electric motors, says: "The network is a new brand policy, streamlining the use of the ABB logo for our channels to market, creating value for them and for our customers. Wherever customers see the symbol, they have the confidence in the ABB brand that sets clear standards for quality and service. For drives and motors this delivers an assurance that a local supplier is capable of providing the products and services competently, consistently and professionally."
Companies joining the network need to have a viable business that has been involved with motor driven systems for several years. The company then needs to invest in dedicated internal engineers, sales personnel and service engineers; have suitable premises with a training facility and workshop; and agree stock levels and a joint business plan. They then complete a series of rigorous training courses and exams and are given direct access to ABB engineers with expert knowledge in different areas. This training ensures that the high quality of technical support and product back-up, required by ABB customers, is consistent throughout Authorized Value Provider operations.
Packages not products
The network takes ABB one step closer to growing its business around the 'packages' concept. The idea is that customers can benefit from all the components used throughout a drive train or automation system. As such, the Authorized Value Providers act as the eyes and ears for customers in need of other products from ABB's diverse portfolio and can facilitate contact to the relevant product division. They have in-depth knowledge of local markets and are conversant with the defined ABB products and processes. Each of them brings its own set of skills and services and, collectively, they can tackle the entire diverse ABB product portfolio and service customer needs.
The drives and motors networks are joined by the robotic automation business, making a total of 23 individual companies initially forming the Authorized Value Provider network in the UK.
Ian Allan adds: "The launch of the Authorized Value Provider brand signifies the evolution of the existing partner networks into a single standardised network that is altogether stronger; giving customers a consistent level of support and service regardless of where in the world they deal with a provider. This will particularly benefit original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and exporters who will have access to a recognised network for sales, support and services delivered in a professional and consistent manner."
Neil Ritchie continues: "The Authorized Value Provider brand demonstrates the way business has changed over the years to meet the new challenges of the global and technology driven economy. An Authorized Value Provider has access to a huge array of engineering and business software tools, comprehensive training programmes and the most advanced logistics networks for getting products and support to customers on time; most of which were not available when the original networks were created. It is now time to harness these tools to harmonise and streamline our business to ensure we operate faster, more efficiently and seamlessly."
One example of the way the individual AVP companies act as a network is in the event of a customer's motor or driving having to be repaired, either in the AVP's or ABB's workshop; if the customer's local AVP is unable to provide a loan unit to minimise downtime, one will be sourced from another AVP.
At the time of writing there are in excess of 50 installation and commissioning engineers within the UK AVP network, and globally there are 250 AVP partner companies. ABB is committed to expanding the network, so these figure are expected to rise significantly.
To learn more about the Authorized Value Provider programme, please visit www.abb.co.uk.