Interview with Thomas Nagel - Expert for Digitalization with Passion for Smart Information

Published: 2021-03-18 Updated: 2022-05-03
Subject: Digitalization Modularization Operators Sell spare parts

“It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology[…].” In 1949 John von Neumann had no idea which path digitization would take. Even 72 years later, the limits are far from being reached. Rather, it seems as if we are just learning to make full use of digitization with its many advantages - especially in the world of work.

Find out in an interview with Thomas Nagel, specialist in the field of digitalization, which advantages the intelligent supply of information has for operators and manufacturers of machines and plants.

What opportunities does the mutual supply of machine-related data offer for manufacturers/suppliers and operators?


"Supplying information intelligently is the trend. Manufacturers of machines and plants are well on their way to promoting the exchange of data with the service information system. Customers benefit from this information, which in turn leads to good customer loyalty and strong cooperation. In order to keep up with the trend and not lose customers, it has become increasingly important to take advantage of the mutual exchange of information. Communication and an open approach and exchange should not be seen as a risk, but rather an opportunity with regard to digitalization.

Machine manufacturers provide their customers with relevant information on the machines they use. In return, they receive operating data.

The classic manufacturer-customer relationship is transforming into a partnership. Both sides take advantage of the service information system and thus enrich each other with the latest information. This is the only way digitalization can work these days.

Manufacturers also rely on customers buying original spare parts from them. To reduce the cost of parts, suppliers can save significant administrative costs through the service information system by guaranteeing automated ordering processes - a WIN WIN situation!"


What digitalization options do plant and machine operators have?

"Operators such as the Berliner Stadtreinigung (BSR), a municipal company, that operates a large fleet of vehicles, use machines and vehicles from different manufacturers.





Using Excel lists, operators can prepare data themselves and map it in the service information system.

Another option is to create an interface to the manufacturer's system and thus connect service information systems to the operator's ERP/SAP system. The operator jumps from the ERP to the manufacturer's catalog, selects parts that he needs for maintenance and automatically transfers the data/parts into his own ERP for further processing. The manufacturer keeps his data up to date, the operator can select the right parts with little effort and integrate them immediately - a real WIN-WIN situation. The advantage here is that the data is enriched with manufacturer information."

What do manufacturers and operators of machinery and equipment have in common?

"Having good information available anytime and anywhere is a general need. A good ecosystem between manufacturers and operators can be ensured by a high level of digitalization on both sides. This is how we add value for everyone!"

What are the special aspects of the operator market regarding digitalization processes?

"Operating process plants requires a service information system that provides information quickly and without delay. The focus here is less on fine details but more on comprehensive information about plant structures. Holistic workflows for the entire service process must be taken into account, for example, in order to make information up to date and available in the "field" at any time. Service information systems and cloud-based solutions enable an integrated workflow.

The top priority is to avoid unplanned machine downtime. To achieve this, operators need a reliable expert system to trigger workflows, integrate standard systems and find spare parts quickly and easily. Information and machine data must be up to date at all times to avoid delays. It is important to identify the required adaptations for the operator market and to find a smart solution together with manufacturers/suppliers. More specific and adapted solutions for operator communities are an important step."

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