Kunderservice & Technology

Kunderservice – or "customer service" in German – is a phrase I heard a lot on my recent travels to Germany. I had the privilege of spending several days as a guest of the Wirtgen Group, which was celebrating 50 years of business during its 2011 Technology Days with dealers, contractors and journalists at the company's Vögele plant in Ludwigshafen on the Rhine River.

Kunderservice is a cornerstone for the Wirtgen Group. The company was started in 1961 by Reinhard Wirtgen as a haulage company for transporting construction materials. Reinhard, however, saw it not just as a haulage company – he truly believed the company was providing a service. The company has evolved in 50 years from a one-man operation into an international company with a workforce of 5,000, four distinct divisions – Wirtgen, Vögele, Hamm and Kleeman – focusing on road building, and a major emphasis on customer service.

During the 2011 Technology Days, over 3,600 guests from around the globe had the chance to see one of the world's most modern road paver factories. As production continued, we received a tour that took us past high-tech processing machines as well as the birthplace of tamper bars, screed plates and screeds, through flow assembly and the environmentally-friendly power-coating facility, among other attractions.

It's clear that the Wirtgen Group's emphasis on kunderservice shows through its focus on technology – and always pushing that bar higher so its customers can benefit. Whether it's 3D grade control technology, intelligent compaction or updated automation controls for your asphalt plant, there are many technological advancements available now that you as asphalt contractors and producers can take advantage of to ensure you're meet the tight tolerances of today's paving and preservation projects.

This issue of Asphalt Contractor is full of job stories featuring contractors using today's technologies on the job to help them improve their productivity and increase their bottom line. We have an article showing how paving operations are gaining a competitive advantage with 3D machine control technology (page 14), another that looks at how one contractor used a laser-satellite automated grading system to mill and pave an international airport (page 30), and yet another on how easy it is to improve labor tracking accuracy with mobile management solutions (page 64).

Be sure to take advantage of these technologies and the willing suppliers that want to partner with you to maximize them on the jobsite. If you do, the kunderservice you provide will only get better.

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