To achieve its vision, implement its business purpose and attain its growth, profitability and capital utilization goals, Alfa Laval has established various strategic priorities that encompass customer collaboration, a focus on products and working to further strengthen the aftermarket offering.
At Alfa Laval, we strive to always meet our customers’ high expectations when it comes to quality, service, interaction and sustainability.
Customer relevance is everything
Growth through customer relevance is all about understanding the needs of our customers. Customers should feel that Alfa Laval offers the best possible overall experience, from initial contact to subsequent service needs once the products are in operation. Through our local presence and expertise, we continue to gain in-depth knowledge to exceed our customers’ demands and fuel the growth of our company. That’s how we build long-term relationships and seize new business opportunities.
Doing business with Alfa Laval should be easy. Our global reach and strong local market presence, in combination with deep end-customer understanding through a commitment to service, product development and customer care, allows us to build long-term relationships. We aim to respond quickly and professionally to customer requirements, offering appropriate solutions on time. This is true irrespective of whether the solution is a standardized component or a more advanced system for customers with specific needs.
A seamless experience
Offering a world-class customer experience is key to enhance new and existing relationships with partners and customers. Our ambition is to ensure that all interaction, whether digital or physical, is as seamless as possible. As in so many other areas, digital tools are playing an increasingly important role in sales and service.
One clear trend emerging is the change in customer purchasing behaviour. Digitallization is a major contributor to this change, and the pandemic has truly accelerated this development. Digital sales meetings, webinars and other types of remote communication have become commonplace. The transition has been about managing technology in digital meetings, but even more so about being able to maintain and develop a customer relationship remotely – an experience that has now become an integral part of day-to-day contact with customers.
By identifying customers’ needs early on, we are creating digital platforms with the objective to make it easier for customers to search, purchase, install and service our products. As behaviour continues to change, the focus moving forward is on improving the online customer buying experience and expanding our digital service offering, creating opportunities for new business models.
A common strive to drive change
Alongside digitalization, sustainability factors are becoming an increasingly important aspect influencing customer behaviour. Legislation and a common strive to make a positive change for the environment and the society is impacting decisions on which solutions to install, how to interact, transport of goods and create safe working environments. Alfa Laval is in an excellent position to help customers meet their sustainability targets by offering a growing portfolio of solutions and support that enables an accelerated sustainability agenda. As a result, Alfa Laval must also change traditional ways of working to make sure that we together meet new standards and demands. This allows us to further develop in-house skills and build relationships with customer where we can together make a change.
Alfa Laval is, and has always been, a product-driven company. A strong focus on research and development (R&D) will remain the single most important factor for market leadership and organic growth.
Leadership through innovation
Product development is at the core of Alfa Laval and is the most important factor to secure the company’s strong position within our three key technologies. With a commitment to develop highly efficient and sustainable products and solutions that meet the new needs and requirements of our customers and the planet, we are now further stepping up our ambition on technology development.
Alfa Laval is a technology leader in our industries with the purpose of developing products and solutions that push industry standards in areas where we believe we can make a difference for customers, people and the planet.
Customer needs are at the heart of our work on developing new products. These needs are often about optimizing an industrial process in which our technology is essential and makes a difference on energy efficiency, durability and productivity. The pace of our development efforts is increasing, and covers not only new technologies and products but also product improvements and upgrades to existing industry standards. With a fast-growing demand for more energy efficient solutions and the need for entirely new energy sources such as hydrogen, energy storage and fuel cells, we are now further accelerating our investments in innovation. Three percent of the Group’s annual sales is invested in research and development, and Alfa Laval launches around 100 new products every year, which is the equivalent of two products a week.
Building on our technology leadership
We strive to focus our resources on delivering cost-effective, innovative solutions that drive improvements for our customers in areas where we can truly make a difference. It is equally important that the environmental performance and lifecycle perspective is part of the very first stage of any development process. To meet new demands in a fast-moving innovation environment, we are increasing our investments in new and expanded testing facilities across the world. Tumba in Sweden is home to a test centre for high-speed separators, while the next generation of decanters and digital solutions is being developed at Söborg in Denmark. Denmark also has centres for marine solutions, membrane filtration and hygienic fluid handling. Furthermore, Alfa Laval has a number of product-based business centres across the world. Each has a focus on a specific product category, and are responsible for research and development in their respective areas, but also for further refinement of existing product platforms.
This setup is essential to lead the development of new technologies together with customers and partners. It also allows us to set common ways of working to align strategic initiatives and improve transparency whilst facilitating cross-divisional collaboration and allowing us to retain and attract key talent.
Increasing the customer experience
New customer requirements go beyond traditional industry boundaries, and include new and more advanced specification for connectivity, sustainability and serviceability. This development is moving faster than ever before and brings opportunities to make a difference though innovation and enables new ways to generate value and interact with customers. Alfa Laval offers various services supported by digital tools to make life easier and increase value for its customers. This involves smart products with built-in sensors and tracking systems, but also making it easier to do business with us. As a result, our business is gradually shifting from solely supplying equipment to also delivering services and solutions through the entire lifetime of the product.
Alfa Laval continuously develop its service business in order to fully leverage its large installed base, fuel growth and improve the customer experience.
Driving for service excellence
Our strong local presence ensures that we are always available for our customers and are able to offer service and support in all markets across the world.
Alfa Laval aims at always being available to customers when they need us, wherever they need us. With local presence in more than 100 countries, we are ready to service and support our customer at all times. This comprehensive network of people and competence where service and maintenance is performed by skilled technicians is an integral part of our offering. Service is the responsibility of dedicated divisions in each business area. This includes the development of service products, sales and marketing, technical support, and service delivery, all supported by data analysis from connected equipment.
A growing offering through productification
Growth in the service business is fuelled by new product launches, with demand for new and more climate-friendly technologies that drive the adaptation of services to meet new needs. At the same time, a new generation of products are equipped with more serviceability, digital capabilities and contracted services as part of the purchase proposition. This means an opportunity to touch more products, more often. Service today accounts for about 30 percent of Alfa Laval sales and provides a strong and stable base for the overall company.
Getting closer to our customers
Strategically located service centres and partners ensure that local expertise and equipment are close to our customers whenever they need us. In recent years, four new service centres were opened in Europe. Centres such as these provide preventive maintenance and innovative service solutions that improve their processes, minimize unplanned downtime and improve the operating economy of their equipment. The fact that this service is carried out at Alfa Laval and not at the customer means we can handle equipment more efficiently and in a more sustainable way. Our service centres engage in well-developed sustainability activities, where the focus is on low water consumption, treatment of process water and the safe disposal of chemicals and cleaning fluids as an innovative service.
More and more digital tools are being introduced in the service business, enabling service engineers to connect to customer equipment, identify needs and provide preventive maintenance. The introduction of more digital services also improves the productivity of the service organization, as more routine matters are handled remotely and the time spent on site at the customer can be focused on developing the relationship. The digital services also help make the service organization more stimulating and flexible, which is important both for retaining existing talent and attracting new employees.