Machine Monitoring - A Market Study with Application of Business Model Innovation Theory
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering
Condition monitoring business has been of interest to Sulzer since the 1990s when the Sulzer Diagnostic System (SUDIS) was developed. However, since the invention of SUDIS, Sulzer has had limited commercial success with condition monitoring products and services. Several recent investigations at Sulzer have explored possibilities for new machine monitoring business, with the most recent being the condition monitoring equipment survey of Nyitray. This report leads on from the work of Nyitray to evaluate the attractiveness of current machine monitoring markets and the strength of current and concept control and monitoring business models.
Sales and customer support services (CSS) staff in all business segments and areas were surveyed for information regarding customer demand for machine monitoring solutions. The results of the survey lacked a unified view on customer needs, indicating that customer needs vary significantly with industry and region. Results also indicated that Sulzer sales and CSS staff currently have very little contact with customers regarding machine monitoring issues, which was expected since Sulzer currently has very limited machine monitoring offers. Overall customer interest in machine monitoring for cost saving purposes is high. Moreover, some customers expect equipment manufactures like Sulzer to support their equipment with machine monitoring offers. Business model environmental factors for each Sulzer Pumps focus market were identified allowing the most attractive markets for machine monitoring business to be selected. A survey of Sulzer Pumps business segment heads also contributed to the market selection process. This evaluation concluded that the water and power generation industries had favourable markets for machine monitoring business, mainly because Sulzer has a good competitive position in these markets. Unfortunately pumps in the electricity generation industry are relatively reliable compared to other machinery such as electrical generators. Hence, opportunities identified in the electricity generation industry seemed to be more appropriate for Sulzer Turbo Services than Sulzer Pumps. However, cross-divisional collaboration of Sulzer Pumps and Sulzer Turbo services would allow Sulzer to offer solutions for entire drivetrains. Other opportunities suitable for Sulzer Pumps were identified in the district heating and water industries, with energy monitoring being a common theme.
An evaluation of the oil pipeline industry yielded that there is significant market demand for machine and pipeline monitoring. However, Sulzer currently does not have the experience or resources to provide the demanded monitoring services independently. Hence searching for key partners or acquisition targets was acknowledged as an essential activity for Sulzer Pumps to enter this market. Another means of market entry would be to develop novel technology or integrate emerging technologies (e.g. online viscosity sensors) into new pipeline monitoring solutions, i.e. to create a novel value proposition. Subsequent feedback from Sulzer alliance managers concluded that oil pipeline customer acquisition may be difficult since many pipeline companies already have monitoring solutions which they are satisfied with. Hence the oil pipeline market is not recommended for new machine monitoring business ventures.
ABS pump control and monitoring solutions are currently the only machine monitoring solutions offered by Sulzer Pumps. In this study the business model behind these solutions was analysed to evaluate its strength and identify areas for improvement. Although the ABS control and monitoring business model is profitable, sales figures are below their potential. Recommendations to improve the business models effectiveness mainly focused on improving channels through which Sulzer connects with its customers. These included improving Sulzer digital marketing material, improving product selection tools, increasing complementary advertising and quotation contents to connect Sulzer control and monitoring products with pump equipment products, and most importantly increasing the amount of sales and CSS staff training.