Partnerships with customers and suppliers
For a long time now, customers have also repeatedly partnered up with Vossloh, in part due to long-standing business relationships, especially in the development and market launch of new products, services or business models. For example, the Core Components and Customized Modules divisions frequently carry out test installations on selected customer tracks. In the recent past, for example, the novel composite tie Engineered Polymer Sleeper (EPS) has been tested in the USA, Sweden, Romania, Finland and Germany, among other countries. The new MIM-H digitally controllable point machine was subjected to similarly thorough field tests at Track operators in several countries. Vossloh Fastening Systems currently has partnerships in place for the development of a new rail fastening system for slab tracks in cities and a customized fastening system for a rail-bound automated means of transport (people mover), among others. The grinding and milling trains belonging to the Lifecycle Solutions division also demonstrated their initial market readiness in test applications at customers. The cooperation with DB Systemtechnik GmbH, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG, forms the basis for data-based monitoring of the rail infrastructure. The multi-year framework agreement with Trafikverket for condition monitoring of a total of 1,000 switches in Sweden can be seen as an example of another form of customer partnership. Here, the strategies for an efficient and targeted approach are developed jointly and decisions on concrete measures are made after close consultation.
The prerequisite for such close cooperation is satisfied customers, which is why the Vossloh units attach great importance to structured feedback – also in order to learn from any mistakes. The uniform Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software rolled out across the Group includes not only a tool for assessing customer satisfaction using specific questions linked to focus groups, which result in an overall score, but also a marketing tool that can be used for direct customer surveys and analyses to ensure the objectivity of this assessment. This is based on various segmentation criteria (regions, customer categories, customer classifications, service segments) and the division into buying center functions. In parallel, the net promoting score (NPS) developed at Customized Modules is used. This key indicator measures the extent to which a customer would recommend a product or service to others.
In 2021, several business units gathered customer feedback in different ways. In Germany, for instance, Vossloh Fastening Systems asked a small group of loyal customers for a review and conducted broader surveys in China and Poland. In Vossloh Switch Systems, all units were made aware of the Net Promoting Score system. Vossloh Rail Services focused its survey on the customers served by one operating unit. The results consistently showed a high level of satisfaction with Vossloh’s products and services. Isolated points of criticism led to prompt improvements being implemented.
Vossloh also enters into partnerships with suppliers to ensure that their products exactly meet Vossloh’s requirements. One example is CogX: The heat-treated laminated steel for frogs and point blades was developed by Vossloh Cogifer together with Arcelor Mittal. For the construction of the SF03 W-FFS rail milling train, which incorporates the highly complex technology for the complete reprofiling of rail lines in just one operation, Vossloh Rail Services is relying on its proven cooperation with Linsinger. All sensors for monitoring the switches in Sweden are supplied by a partner who, together with Vossloh, has adapted the products to the conditions prevailing there.