"Every elevator is unique, like a human being. Each unit or installation operates in different situations and environments, and has different footfall and user habits." So explains Marek Kunert – one of the world’s leading elevator engineers. It’s why, he explains, every elevator needs individual care and attention to minimize customer disruption.
According to the award-winning Schindler Global Field Support Expert, the individual nature of each machine has a huge impact on the approach needed to maintain elevators. In many ways, the difficulties associated with managing each unique unit is a key reason for the downtime so many elevators across the world are subject to.
But the good news is we are entering an age in which this individualized care is becoming far easier to manage. Much of this is thanks to the new era of connected elevators, and the condition and performance insights these elevators offer maintenance teams.
Marek works within Schindler’s Global Field Support team, which sits at the pinnacle of Schindler’s technical support function. Marek and his colleagues troubleshoot and solve complex elevator problems for customers around the world.
The Swiss native, along with his team, are always available to give Schindler’s network of technicians and engineers remote assistance. They also fly out – sometimes at a moment’s notice – to repairs and installations on large projects. Marek even has a professional reputation that has prompted international colleagues to request having their picture taken with him!
So what does he think it takes to maximize uptime of elevators to levels never seen before on a global scale? "Firstly, you need to have experienced, well-trained people with a lot of know-how," says Marek. "You need a deep focus on helping your customers. And you need to use the data from connected elevators to get ahead of any problems proactively."
There are 20 people, with a combined elevator experience of more than 500 years, in Marek’s team. This extraordinary level of expertise is vital in ensuring the vast network of Schindler (and third-party) units can deliver an uninterrupted service for their customers.
Their work includes regularly providing colleagues with any related training for future problems, and even feeding maintenance issue information to Schindler Research & Development (R&D) to help shape future developments.
As the years have gone by, the increased availability of performance data from elevators has supported their efforts to keep elevators running across the world.
"MTBC, MTBC! That’s all we’re talking about all of the time!", laughs Marek. For those who are not expert elevator engineers, Mean Time Between Callback is a key performance indicator measuring how long on average an elevator operates before requiring a maintenance call.
The higher the MTBC, the lower the customer disruption. The higher the MTBC, the better job Marek and his colleagues are doing at preventing elevator issues before they occur. And make no mistake, coming through for the customer is a big deal for the Global Field Support team. "This customer focus is so deeply ingrained in our department. Our daily goal is to support every kind of customer, to make them happy. That's just in our DNA", explains Marek.
Installing digitally connected elevators leads to fewer breakdowns, faster service response times and enhanced preventive maintenance. Schindler being Schindler, there are preventive maintenance processes for non-connected elevators, too – but the advantages of connectivity are clear. The insights provided by sensors on Schindler units are crucial. So is the role played by Schindler’s Technical Operations Centers across the world. They collect and analyze this data, and ensure Schindler’s service teams stay up to date with the latest information. Problems on units can also be solved remotely.
As Marek explains: "We can monitor data from connected elevators 24/7. We can set automatic notifications for specific errors or breakdowns. We can even detect problems and react in advance (and in the background) – often before the customer even knows an issue exists." This all leads to unprecedented levels of reliability and uptime.
Every piece of data from every error log from every connected elevator is collected, analyzed and used to prevent future disruptions – from training through to product design. In Marek’s words: "It’s very powerful and it’s the future."