The Liebherr Group is one of the largest construction machine manufacturers in the world. The Liebherr Mining division supplies the international mining industry with large machines for the extraction of raw materials in open-cast mining environments.
As such, the company needs to provide technical documentation to its customers and partners. The documents contain a wealth of information that service technicians need to install, maintain, and fix the different machines. Until recently, the company’s operating manuals were delivered in PDF formats via an FTP server or in paper form – partly due to the respective legal requirements.
But this delivery mode didn’t offer the best level of accessibility and findability that an industry leader such as Liebherr would expect, nor did it guarantee against content obsolescence. The company saw great opportunities in the new digital value chain and set a priority of modernizing their technical documentation to provide reliable content at all times to their own teams, and to customers and partners alike.
They chose Fluid Topics as their Content Delivery Portal (CDP). The portal serves as a secured and single access point for all technical documentation and now replaces the existing servers generating infrastructure and maintenance savings, and major usability and efficiency gains.
We sat down with Aurélien Unfer, Project Manager, New Information and Communication Technologies at Liebherr Mining to discuss the success of their Content Delivery Portal.
In a nutshell
- Lack of efficiency due to static documentation formats (PDFs and printed manuals)
- High-effort search experience through diverse content sources
- Diversity of content types (3D animation, 2D images, text…)
- Unified access to the company’s technical content, on the documentation portal, for all users
- Self-service information leading to better customer autonomy and engagement
- Mobile-friendly content, readable on any device, online or offline
Maximizing the Return on Liebherr Assets Through Documentation
Liebherr Mining offers a wide of range of products, from mining excavators to mining trucks. Each product includes hundreds of components. In accordance with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, each asset must be accompanied by operating instructions written in an official EU language. “We have a lot of documentation and must juggle multiple formats,” explains Aurélien Unfer.
As a matter of fact, the documentation team is using a combination of different writing tools to create and deliver technical content. The use of multiple systems sometimes generates a lot of wasted time and energy across the teams if not delivered properly. Subsequently, they wanted to find a solution that could consider disparate sources and formats, new delivery channels and different types of multimedia, all within a single portal.
“Fluid Topics’ Content Delivery Platform provided us with a fully-featured solution that required limited customization to match our needs” said Aurélien.
The solution collects and unifies all of Liebherr Mining’s documentation, no matter the initial source and format, and then feeds the relevant content to any channel, and device. It offers a single knowledge center – the documentation portal – where customers, partners and support teams can find the most pertinent and up-to-date content.
“The subsequent launch of Fluid Topics has been a huge success. Providing users and technicians with easy access to an interactive technical documentation, in their preferred format, is an important factor for the smooth installation of a new machine and for the overall customer satisfaction,” added Aurélien.
The portal replaces the existing servers on which the PDFs were previously uploaded, incurring infrastructure and maintenance savings benefiting the whole company.
- Technical Documentation Team: 8 people
- Writing Tools: Docufy and FrameMaker (legacy)
- Technical Manuals: 2,500 pages per manual
- Content: 60,000 topics
Digital Self-Service for Enhanced Efficiency
Service organizations live and die by their SLAs. Uptime is the ultimate performance indicator and all interruptions in service have a strong impact on customer satisfaction and profitability. As the demand for maintenance increases, technician efficiency tends to decrease due to time being spent searching for the correct answer in a static PDF.
Liebherr Mining understood that for them to thrive in the face of today’s challenges, they needed to deliver information in a way that empowered service teams to perform effectively.
The CDP is designed to offer a modern self-service experience for Liebherr’s global support teams. The solution delivers contextual and personalized product information through the portal, eliminating the burden of having to browse through a 500-page PDF. Conjointly, it provides a cutting-edge search engine. Users are guaranteed to find the most relevant answer, matching the exact configuration of the machine requiring service. Aurélien Unfer said “Fluid Topics has enhanced the search experience. The portal improves the way users can navigate our content, allowing them to find solutions in a snap and improve service levels.”
On top of that, the application automatically adapts the user interface and content to the size of the device. Multimedia content such as images, audio, video, 2D or 3D vector graphics can be served as easily as text. “Our users now actually enjoy searching in the documentation and save time during their mission,” said Aurélien.
The company also leverages the deep link feature provided by Fluid Topics. Technicians can give customers access to a specific book or topic highlighting each step taken to solve a product issue.
“Fluid Topics’ Content Delivery Platform provided us with a fully-featured solution that required limited customization to match our needs”
Supporting our Partners in their Service Operations
The documentation team publishes all types of technical content, from product installation guides to maintenance manuals. More than 60,000 topics are available for the full range of machines.
The portal aims at serving 2,000 users including affiliate partners. Through this implementation, the Liebherr Mining team is able to offer a better content experience to its partners. With the appropriate permission levels (standard or expert), the company ensures that the right product content is delivered to the right user at the moment of need. Partners just need to connect to the portal to get their whole set of vendor documentation and are not swamped by generic documentation or information on product lines that they cannot service.
Outdated manuals for previous versions of the installation that needs servicing are of no help and can even end up being hazardous references for service technicians on the go. The CDP allows technical writers to publish content automatically as soon as it’s approved and as often as needed. By connecting in real-time to the sources of information, Fluid Topics keeps the documentation live and accurate on the user side at any time. As a result, partners don’t have to shuffle multiple manual editions or take the risk of relying on inaccurate information.
Additionally, field technicians often find themselves in situations and locations without reliable network connectivity. The documentation portal offers an offline mode directly on the technician’s device, with a sync capability whenever the connection is re-established.
Finally, Fluid Topics has been a key enabler for the release of the Liebherr Remote Service solution. “This tool builds on the foundation of the technical information available on the Fluid Topics Content Delivery Portal and the troubleshooting function of the Troubleshoot Advisor, to offer real-time 24/7 Remote Service from Liebherr experts” Aurélien explains. These digital services will undoubtedly benefit their partners with equipment performance and maintenance, as well as competence improvement through knowledge transfer.
The Liebherr Group is a family-run technology company with a highly diversified product portfolio.
The company is not only one of the largest construction equipment manufacturers in the world, but also provides high-quality and user-oriented products and services in a wide range of other areas. The Liebherr Group includes over 140 companies across all continents. In 2020, it employed around 48,000 staff and achieved combined revenues of over 10.3 billion euros.
The Liebherr Mining division includes factories in the United States and France which manufacture mining trucks and mining excavators.
A Future-Proof Digital Solution
The previous Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC is to be replaced by a new Machinery Directive in the next few years. With regards to technical documentation, the European Commission has addressed the need for operating manuals to go digital. If the proposal is validated, Liebherr Mining won’t have to deliver printed manuals, as it’s still currently the case.
“The implementation of the Fluid Topics platform is an important modernization step that will help remove inefficiencies as well as allow more personalized forms of documentation and up-to-date instructions,” stressed Aurélien.
Based on the successful roll-out of the portal, Liebherr Mining is now working on expanding the scope of work. “Moving to Dynamic Content Delivery with Fluid Topics has been paramount in designing an outstanding content experience for our customers and partners,” concluded Aurélien Unfer.
“Fluid Topics has enhanced the search experience. The portal improves the way users can navigate our content, allowing them to find solutions in a snap and improve service levels.“