Customer Support Territory Manager
“One of our Irish customers recently put it well. He said, ‘Even if you have a problem, Caterpillar can solve it quickly. Whether it’s a big issue or something smaller, they’ll take care of it.’”
+49 (0)40 2380 3194
My role as a Marine Territory Manager involves supporting customers as well as the Caterpillar marine business unit and Caterpillar enterprise. My responsibility is to plan the strategy and facilitate training, while providing dealer and customer support. I also assist with and work through any issues that may arise to enhance the life cycle of our products, including Cat 3618 legacy engines.
The most exciting aspect is the variety of the marine segments and customers. It makes it challenging to try to figure out the right solution within all of the various applications. There isn’t one standard solution for every situation. Within the same segment, the needs are often very different.
We cover pleasure crafts, offshore ships, workboats, craft for inland waterways and everything in between. Each day is different and each challenge is unique. The customer might be using the same engine type but their needs may be completely different. Other times we’ll play more of an advisory role, while some situations will require in-depth coordination of services.
The main issue they run into is downtime. Too much downtime can seriously affect their livelihoods. When their engines are down, they aren’t able to stay productive. This can be difficult for our customers as it costs them money each day.
Depending on the size of the vessel it could cost them between $5,000 to $100,000 per day. Issues will need to be addressed to help the customer get back to full operation. Plus, they may be in a remote location, which adds complexity. Engine reliability is also a focus as they are critical to keeping operations up and running.
Caterpillar’s positive reputation and global dealer network means a lot of talented professionals are working with us in the marine segment. We also have processes in place to provide our customers with resources quickly, especially at the dealer level. We work to ensure they have the right tools, resources and employees. Providing them with solutions quickly helps build trust.
Cat 3618 legacy engines are special. If there was a Formula One marine engine, this would be it. It’s that powerful. This unique diesel engine can support very large vessels and is known for its quality, reliability and long life cycle. Every part of it is lighter. It’s designed to be both powerful and compact. It’s very strong and can see upwards of 50,000 hours, while still performing as brand new. Most competing products will not last that long. So Cat 3618 legacy engines are a great value for the long-term.
It’s not just maintenance for our customers. It requires a specially trained team of technicians to service the engine, especially around the world in many kinds of conditions. If there is an interruption in service, the support technicians are experienced in providing assistance in operating equipment globally. So that could mean Brazil, the Canary Islands, remote locations and everywhere in between. We need to be creative to get to our customers, understanding that their business is their livelihood. It’s essential for us to complete the repair in a short period of time in order to get them back to work.
Some customers may try to complete the maintenance on their own which can lead to a catastrophic failure. So our dealers need to provide immediate support to get them back to service quickly. The dealers handle many complicated issues and work with their teams to complete the proper maintenance. It goes well beyond completing operation failures. Many customers have service agreements with our dealers to provide assistance with regular maintenance to prevent failures.
Many of the repairs can be complicated, as they require specialized tools. And, of course, our team faces time constraints. Handling this type of repair requires an expert team, and as you can imagine, almost every repair is tailored specifically to that particular engine and issue. The technicians are dedicated to complete the service as soon as possible in order to repair the engine and minimize the service time impacted by the repair.
We work very closely together and constantly touch base to get updates from the team and verify resources are in place should an issue arise. We work side-by-side to successfully manage each situation.
If we need to conduct a special manufacturing process, the team works rapidly. At times, the processes can be complicated, but the dealers appreciate that we are paying attention to detail. We attempt to work in response to customer needs and are extremely responsive in our delivery and coordination of resources.
I work in the Africa region and these countries can be difficult to operate within because of the governance required, with regard to the importing and exporting process. But our local dealers are well-respected and many have long-established track records.
Working with the local currency is beneficial for our dealers. It provides credible operations and transparency for our customers. Our quality and the numerous locations of our dealers are critical to our customers so that we can address their needs quickly.
Recently, we faced a challenging situation that turned out very well with a customer in Greece who operates high-speed ferries. They were in the process of transporting approximately 800 people and 200 vehicles when an unexpected failure occurred.
These fast ferries utilize four Cat 3618 legacy engines, and a front gear train failed catastrophically in one of the engines. This is a major failure, which requires a significant amount of work to repair. Plus, since this component wasn’t expected to go down it would be unlikely for it to be available locally. These vessels need all four engines running to be competitive, especially in lengthy routes like Greece. If they run with only three engines, the trip duration will be too long and the vessel schedule won't be feasible.
At this time, we had a spare gear in the United States, but the shipping time to Europe would take too long. That's why we asked our dealer in Spain to take the gear from a training engine there.
This job involved a lot of overnight work from our dealers in both Spain and Greece.
The failure happened on a Thursday afternoon. By Saturday morning, the vessel was back to operation. In the meantime, the front gear was taken apart in Spain and shipped to Greece by plane. Then our dealer in Greece completely repaired the damages and installed the full front gear.
This was a situation where the customer was very grateful for the support of Caterpillar, because this failure was unforeseen and a long duration to repair it could have been expected.
Our dealer network makes us much more efficient. Caterpillar is well versed within our industry. We are able to respond successfully in remote locations, as we’re able to count on our dealer network.
Our competition isn’t able to replicate the efficiency we’re able to provide, as we are able to deliver the right solution and make it accessible to our customers.
We’ll give you better products than the competition with far more comprehensive service, anywhere in the world.