Multibrand service demands a special mindset


Olaf Kleesch
Director Multibrand Development & Platform Management at Vestas
Published on 05th February 2019

As the OEM for Vestas, giving top quality service to our own turbines is fast and streamlined. But how can we offer the same broad range and level of service to all the non-Vestas turbines our customers bring to us under our multi band service agreements? The original technology and software is normally owned by the manufacturers themselves – and you can’t just ask them for all their materials!

So, what to do? Simple, in theory. We produce it all ourselves. But It takes a special mix of people and experience to make it possible: We need brilliant technicians who are open-minded, willing to learn and open to the challenges posed by new platforms. These people don’t care what brand it is they turn their skills to. They approach the job in the same way: Safety first and a lot of desk research and thinking before attacking a project. Luckily, we have a respected brand in the market and our open and future-focused approach attracts those of a similar mindset from other OEMs. In fact, it’s the mindset we’re interested in as much as their expertise.

We always ensure a broad range of know-how and practical experience when we put together a specific project team. We do this for every individual platform, where we gather all the people - both internal and external - who have relevant knowledge and then physically get them up on the machine to test and document it. If we need a specific software or tool, we make it ourselves.

We climb the turbine, define what’s different and then figure out how best to close the gap. Obviously, we don’t want to reinvent the wheel every time, so we always build on what we’ve already achieved. We’re very aware that this is a time sensitive industry, and that to keep our position as first movers, we have to act smart. This means a rapid implementation of processes, standards, and workflows into existing systems; checking what solutions already exist and to what extent they can be used; if they need to be adjusted or if new solutions need to be put in place; for example, the utilization of existing hazards and mitigation actions.

Although we have different technologies we’re developing, we always take into consideration what setup the customer is used to. With this as our foundation, we try and minimise any deviations to make the system easy to use. Ultimately our goal is to gather all the systems and layouts under the same umbrella of documentation and processes – right down to aligning different terminology under the same names for SAP. And this is pretty major task! But it’s what we have to do to become a genuine all-brand set-up. It’s a hell of a job, but it’s totally essential. Without this you’re not really an all-platform supplier. You’re just another OEM.

For the fleet owner, the advantage of using an all-platform supplier means they’re not tied to a specific service provider for a specific brand. If we were a garage, we’d be like a Mercedes workshop, where you’re welcome to bring in your Audi or Toyota, and get the same level of service and attention.

Currently, we service the world’s 8 largest brands of turbines and the number is growing. New brands are added to the list as we develop knowledge and capacity to service these brands. As of today, 2 years into our development, we service more than 8 GW of non-Vestas turbines across five continents and more than 17 countries, ranging across more than 30 different turbine platforms.