Automatisation en Micro-Assemblage
Let's meet the after-sales service department
As Ciposa develops and manufactures highly sophisticated assembly machines, the company must ensure their maintenance and correct performance when they are in production. To accomplish this, it relies on a motivated and highly qualified team.
We get to know these people, who can leave from the other side of the planet with a simple phone call.
The first person we are going to talk to is, the manager of the department, Numa.
Ciposa News : Hello Numa, as a first question, I would like to know how you describe yourself?
Numa : I would say that I am a jovial person, I always look on the positive side of things.
CN : It's certainly an advantage when you work in the field service?
N : Yes, it helps to cool down the atmosphere (smile)
CN : What is your main hobby?
N : I enjoy traveling, but what I would consider as my main hobby is cooking..
CN : Any particular recipe?
N : Not really, when I cook I never follow a recipe, I go by feeling.
CN : You are the head of department, what is your role?
N : I am the front door for customer requests, for everything related to the delivered machines. As we have an agile organization, I don't need to supervise the activities of my collaborators, however I make sure that all customer requests get a quick and satisfying answer.
Another part of my job is the realization of proposals. Whether it' s for retrofit, machine improvements or spare parts.
CN : CN: Interesting. If I understand right, you were hired at Ciposa for this job?
N : Exactly, it's been 7 years ago. I answered to an ad by writing that I had never done after-sales service, but that it didn't scare me (laughs).
CN : Excellent, and what is your background?
N : I first got a CFC in polymechanics, before continuing in microtechnology in Saint-Imier, to obtain an engineering degree.
CN : How are you trained on the machines you will have to repair?
N : Most of the time this is done when we write the maintenance chapter for the equipment's operating instructions.
We work with the technician, that's how we become familiar with the machine.
CN : Are you also participating to the installation and set-up at the customer's site?
N : Yes it happens sometimes, mostly for those delivered abroad (USA, Asia). This allows us to meet the people with whom we will be in contact in the future, and to appreciate their technical level. The second benefit is that we are familiar with machines which are installed relatively far away.
CN : What are the requirements for the field service?
N : The first one is to have good analytical skills, which allows us to quickly identify the problem and define the causes.
The second is communication. We are always in a stressful situation for the client. His machine is down and he is unable to produce. We need to calm down the situation to work as efficiently as possible.
The third is to know how to juggle. In just a few minutes, you jump from an urgent proposal to an urgent customer phone call.
CN : You're very often in hurry. Has the corona virus seriously complicated your work?
N : Yes, it made our life more complicated. First, we needed colleagues who were in home office. Some of our suppliers were closed and we had difficulties to get our parts. Some customers called us to inform that a machine had failed, but didn't allow us to come to their offices.
CN : Thank you Numa for your answers, the last one: "When you were 10 years old, you were sure that ... ? »
N : Since all the pictures my grandparents showed me were in black and white, I thought that people in that time didn't see in color. (smiling)
The second person we are going to meet is the latest arrival in this department, Jacques-Henri.
Ciposa News : Hello Jacques-Henri. First, how would you describe yourself?
Jacques-Henri : I'm an imaginative and conscientious person, and I like to be helpful, even in the private life.
CN : So when someone asks you for a service, you can' t say no?
J-H : I sometimes say no, but I must confess that it's quite exceptional. (smiling)
CN : Do you have a hobby?
J-H : Yes, I'm part of a theater troupe in the Vallée de Joux, "Le Clédar".
CN : As an actor?
J-H : Yes since I was 16 years old.
CN : It's a nice hobby, when and what will be your next show?
J-H : Next August, we will play William Shakespeare's King Lear. I will interpret the role of Edgar, the son of a noble who is a bit crazy.
CN : Congratulations, this is definitely a composing role. Coming back to Ciposa, first of all, what is your background?
J-H : I got a CFC in mechanic-electrical, before continuing my studies in Yverdon to obtain a degree in electronics engineering.
CN : What is your job?
J-H : I mainly deal with the administration and the order of spare parts..
CN : I've heard you're implementing a Quality Circle as well. What exactly is this?
J-H : The goal is to be as close as possible with the persons who work every day with our equipment. In order to improve their comfort of use while optimizing the performance of the machine.
CN : How does it work exactly?
J-H : We are currently in a phase of contacting our customers, to define with them, their needs and expectations. The next step will be to make suggestions for improvement.
CN : Does this mean that the machines you delivered are not working optimally?
J-H : No, that's not correct, the starting point is as follows. The specifications for a machine are often elaborated by a project manager and then proposed to the management. Then the investment is validated, and the order is placed. It may sometimes take about 12 to 18 months between the elaboration of the specifications and the acceptance of the machine.
CN : Yes it's a normal project process, I don't see what's wrong?
J-H : In fact in this time period the expectations may have changed a bit and, as we're talking to the users of the machine, they may have other expectations. By doing this way, and in a total confidentiality, there is a mutualization of experiences, hence the anticipation of our clients' needs.
CN : Thank you Jacques-Henri, I'll finally ask you my traditional question: "When you were 10 years old, you were sure that ...? »
J-H : So when I was a kid, I had a big physical question. I was always told that I didn't have any lead in my head. So people who had lead in their head must have had a very heavy head, and didn't understand how they managed to keep it straight. (smiling)
We will now meet the youngest collaborator of the department, Valérian.
Ciposa News : Hello Valerian and thank you for your time. First, how would you describe yourself?
Valérian : I am a focused person who likes taking my time in order to get the job done right.
CN : Do you have a hobby?
V : Yes, I fly drones. But currently my main hobby is to renovate the house I just purchased. (laughs)
CN : Yes, a house needs time. What is your background?
V : I have a diploma of technician in automation. I did my studies at the CIFOM in Le Locle.
CN : What does your job consist of?
V : I'm the one who goes the most to our customers, I prefer working on the machines rather than making proposals. I'm happy to see a satisfied customer when his machine is running again.
CN : How long have you been working at Ciposa ?
V : In fact, my relationship with Ciposa is quite a long story. I used to come there during my vacations, when I was at CIFOM. This is also where I did my final training course. Then I was hired in the field service 18 months ago.
CN : As you are often at your customers' premises, I think the virus has made your job more complicated?
V : Yes, we were bothered. Sometimes customers could call for an intervention on one of their machines, but without going to the site. And it's not always possible to maintain a machine online.
CN : Yes, it does complicate the situation. Thank you for your answers, one last question: "When you were 10 years old, you were sure that ...? »
V : That when I will be 20 years old, I will be working with robots. (smiling)
After the youngest one, we are now going to meet the one who will retire soon.
Ciposa News : Hello Daniel, you are arriving at the end of a professional career full of rebounds, how do you apprehend this moment?
Daniel : Bad..., I'm joking (smile). Except this bad period, which I will not mention the name, everything is going smoothly. Regarding the field service, a good team is in place, and the handover has been completed. Even if I will miss the Ciposiens, I am leaving peaceful.
CN : Have you spent all your career in the field service?
D : Yes, we can say that. Even if I worked in civil works and the army for a short period of time. After obtaining my CFC as a watchmaker at the Technicum de St-Imier. My first job was to provide after-sales service in a store representing the Omega brand in New Zealand, I spent 2 years there.
CN : Nice start. How did you jump from repairing watches to assembly machines?
D : At that time, I absolutely wanted to work in “la pendulerie”, in a museum for example. As I did not find a job, I went back to school at the age of 34, I was married with 2 children. As I already had a CFC, I left for a 2-year learning period as an electrical mechanic. This allowed me to work at Farco's, then at Ismeca's, before joining Ciposa's field service, almost 8 years ago.
CN : You've certainly traveled all around the world?
D : Quite a lot indeed, I've had long missions. Such as Siemens in Munich, Alfa in Boston as well as Philips in Asia, mainly for start-ups of assembly machines. My last mission was nearly 2 years long, after that I left Ismeca and stayed in Asia for 11 years.
CN : Have you got an anecdote you would like to tell us?
D : When I was working for Omega, a customer used to bring us a ladies' automatic watch every 3 weeks. He told us that it was no longer working. On the third visit, we asked about his use of it. He told us it was his mother's watch, an old person in a wheelchair. That's when we realized that she wasn't moving her arm enough to charge her watch. Another time, a customer brought his watch back to us because the date was changing at noon (smile).
CN : It's fun indeed. Before asking you my last question, I would like to know, when you were 10 years old, you were sure that...?
D : That I will travel by boat. At that time there was the TV series "The Kontiki", with Captain Troy. It had tickled me so much, that I realized this old dream, I lived 5 years on a boat, mainly in Asia.
CN : You've really had a life of travel. Thank you so much for your answers. We wish you a happy and active retirement. By the way, do you have other projects?
D : Of course… (smile). I will be leaving for a 3 month trip from the polar circle in the north of Sweden, to come back to my home.... by bike this time.