Overcoming shortages of resources in servicing business of small and medium-sized enterprises in the area of mechanical engineering by the digitalization of service processes

The central research target of the project ScaleUp was the development of digitalization navigator for small and medium-sized enterprises. The navigator supports companies to overcome shortages of resources for after-sales services by identifying and suggesting specific digital technologies as well as matching providers.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the area of mechanical engineering are often not able to extend their business with after-sales services because of shortages in service resources (staff, equipment, area and material). To overcome this resource shortages, it is necessary to use existing resources more efficiently. That can be done by using digital technologies. Today, already some SMEs scatteredly offer e.g. remote diagnostics via mobile service applications to save working time for field service engineers (FSEs). That way the resource "staff" can be used more efficiently (more service orders per FSE).

SMEs require an overview of suitable digital technologies and matching service providers to be able to use those digital technologies in order to overcome the shortages of resources. Moreover, procedures for evaluating and comparing digital technologies regarding their contribution to overcome resource shortages are necessary. In the end, SMEs need support to implement and integrate selected technologies into their service processes.

The project ScaleUp addresses that problem. In addition to the identification of relevant cost and utility aspects, a morphologic box has been developed which provides suitable digital technology solutions for SMEs. The hereon based digitalization navigator represents the central research result and establishes a connection between SMEs and identified digital technologies.