How does a company like SKF organize and market a century of knowledge?
It builds the SKF Solution Factory Edmonton — only this particular plant has no assembly lines and no heavy machinery. It doesn’t need them. Its main purpose is to deliver solutions: ideas that will help its customers become more efficient, more profitable and more competitive.
PEM was at the facility’s grand opening last month in Edmonton, and the company says the it can now provide customers in Canada access to unique process and application knowledge — all under one roof. The factory will offer solutions based on bearing remanufacturing service, lubrication systems engineering and service, remote diagnostics, customized sealing solutions, application engineering and many other solution offerings.
At the opening, João Ricciarelli, president of SKF Canada, says the factory is a concentration of the company’s knowledge resources. “For example, a customer who has previously just purchased bearings and seals from SKF can now raise the bar and ask us to help cut operational costs or improve availability and reliability or just about anything else to make their plants run more efficiently.”
As well, SKF has several customers on hand, including Norm Kowalchuk, maintenance services coordinator with Cenovus, a Calgary-based oil company formerly with Encana. In February 2009, SKF did an analysis of the company’s needs, resulting in $6 million in “soft savings,” he says.
During a tour of the many solution areas, Matt Yeknik, a senior specialist with SKF focused on the mining and mineral processing sectors, says his industries share some of the world’s harshest operating conditions and that “it takes good equipment, it takes tough equipment” to keep production running smoothly. From the company’s bearings, seals and housing to condition monitoring and shaft alignment tools, “all these solutions can help the bottom line,” he adds.