Marel’s global network of dedicated sales representatives is one of the company's strongest and most visible assets. Our sales operation consists of local representatives in over 30 countries, 19 regional organizations and a global network of more than 100 agents and distributors.
With such a large network, Marel can serve large and small food processors and food retail companies on location, wherever they are. Our industry specific segments – fish, meat and poultry – are manned with specialized sales people, working in partnership with customers around the world. We are dedicated to bringing top-of-the-line services, consistency and excellence to each project we undertake.
Marel operates four demonstration facilities for customers: one in Copenhagen, Denmark, another in Boxmeer, the Netherlands and two in the USA, in Lenexa, Kansas and Des Moines, Iowa. Three of the centers are built exclusively for the purpose of customer demonstrations, conferences, training and internal meetings, while the innovation center in Des Moines is more focused on new product development. The facilities offer a hands-on environment where customers can see how Marel innovations can improve their food production, employee expertise and operational outcomes.
As a service-oriented operation, we focus on assisting our customers in maintaining optimal production flow, uptime and output. We run a global, well-organized service and maintenance operation that is and will continue to be one of the main sources of our revenue and growth. Delivering around 40% of the company’s revenues, the service and spare parts business is a clear growth opportunity, driving value for both customers and shareholders.
Our focus is on proactive service that includes preventative maintenance, spare parts packages and long-term service contracts. Our experience shows that an increasing number of customers prefer this model. Working proactively with customers prevents downtime in their production facilities and ensures consistent peak productivity at all times.
To improve service even further, Marel implemented one global field service management platform, ServiceMax, on a company-wide basis in 2016. This was an important step in advancing our global service strategy. Equipping all our field service engineers with iPads and dedicated software enables them to coordinate schedules and projects and to deliver regular service reports. By standardizing the company's processes and IT platforms, we aim to raise our service network to an even higher level.
The results were already evident in 2017, with ServiceMax providing us with the first consolidated, full range overview of the installed base, customers and workforce. Efficiency has increased, as field data is shared with the office more quickly and the positive effects are evident in improved service delivery and sustainable growth. Response times have shortened, on-time performance has improved and there are consistent productivity improvements in the field.
Service will continue to be a key source of revenue and growth for Marel in the coming years. Major investments have been made in business improvements in the last few years, including IT and employee development. This has created a solid foundation for future growth and profitability from the company’s service operations.