WMF’s digital revolution

As a market leader for professional automatic coffee machines, the WMF Group has set itself the objective of spearheading the digital movement in the coffee machine sector. The company has been working on the digitalisation of automatic coffee machines since the 1990s, and now, following the launch of the digital solutions WMF CoffeeConnect and Schaerer Coffee Link, the Internet of Things is a reality. Johan Van Riet, President of the Professional Coffee Machines global business unit of the WMF Group, says the group aims to provide its customers with first-class products and services for top-quality coffee. “We also work in partnership with our customers to ensure they have all the tools they need for a lucrative and, above all, future-proof business model,” Van Riet says. “Digitalisation offers enormous potential here. That's why, as pioneers in the sector, we are expanding our portfolio with the game-changing digital solutions WMF CoffeeConnect and Schaerer Coffee Link so all our machines are on the network as standard. This lets our customers keep track of all coffee machines at all their locations in real time.” Van Riet says digitalisation gives rise to sustainable economic effects for users. “WMF CoffeeConnect and Schaerer Coffee Link accelerate and optimise all processes that are relevant to value creation. This begins with the purchase and setup of the machine, and encompasses management of the entire fleet of coffee machines, right through to delegation of tasks,” he says. Even handling machine and performance data in the right way has a sustainable impact on increasing sales. “By analysing unit sales of coffee and coffee quality, it is possible to react to losses in sales in real time – through targeted use of promotional offers, for example, which are shown directly on the display of individual machines,” he says. “It is no longer necessary to call out a service technician to change recipes, prices, or to perform a software update.” In the long term, Van Riet says, any downtime would be minimised by means of intelligent algorithms, which identify correlations between use and wear and predict failures in good time. “All these functions ensure the machine is available for a greater proportion of the time, thereby increasing the profitability of the coffee business.” WMF's digital solutions are not just for 'big players' in the coffee industry, Van Riet says, but provide many benefits for small businesses also, even for users with just one machine. For instance, the free-of-charge functions included with the Freemium variant allow users to view such functions as the maintenance status of the machine. “What's more, the operator is on top of sales and the operating condition of his coffee machine at all times, wherever they are,” Van Riet says. “Finally, for relatively minor problems, a smart Know-how Centre has tips on how to resolve issues yourself.”
Van Riet says digitalisation should never be done for its own sake but the objective must always be to make processes more efficient. That is why WMF doesn't simply provide the technology and analysis dashboards, but offers concrete assistance with implementation. Using the collected data, WMF's business analysts assess the starting position of customers, working with them in one-to-one consultations to define their economic potential in relation to service, sales or procurement processes. “This is where our years of coffee expertise and the insights from the data join together, allowing us to give our customers practical recommendations for actions to make their business even more profitable,” Van Riet says. “Following this principle, we furthermore develop additional functions together with our customers, – tailored to their particular requirements.” With its digital solutions, WMF is not only helping operators of coffee machines transform their businesses, but is itself transitioning from a coffee machine manufacturer to a provider of complete solutions and services. The principle of customer-centricity remains at the heart of what WMF does, Van Riet says. “By developing use cases, we delve into the world of our customers and work out which functions and services are required, from their perspective, to make this easier,” he says. “The analogue and digital world continue to grow alongside one another for us, too: when developing new coffee machines, additional functions of digital solutions, such as the installation of extra sensors, are taken into consideration from the outset.” In addition, Van Riet says, WMF is growing closer to its international subsidiaries and partners by involving them globally in the digital solutions and giving them access to functions such as the Online Shop and Know-how Centre. Looking to the future, Van Riet says the logical development of WMF's digital solutions offers the opportunity of connecting them gradually to customers' other systems, and opening them up to external data sources to achieve even greater leverage from the digital transformation. Van Riet gives as an example the possibility of embedding traffic reports or weather forecasts to support the operator in adjusting to customer footfall. “We are the first in the sector to offer both such a broad variety of functions and also depth of advice,” he says, “and in the future, we will continue to work to align our digital solutions to the needs of our customers, always.”

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