Fearghal McCorriston

IT Manager, Combilift

Supernova Award Category: 
Next-Generation Customer Experience
The Organization: 

Combilift is the largest global manufacturer of multi-directional forklifts and an acknowledged leader in long-load handling solutions.  Innovation, Flexibility and Service are the ethos on which Combilift’s success is built and has seen us become the world’s fastest-growing forklift manufacturer, exporting to more than 85 countries and with more than 60,000 trucks in use worldwide. No other manufacturer in the world can deliver the same level of customization and adaptability or cater so effectively to the diverse needs of every individual customer, whether their enterprise is large or small. 

The Problem: 

At Combilift, we place tremendous significance on customer experience since we recognize that a satisfied customer brings us valuable referrals and propels our business forward.

In the realm of forklift service maintenance, customer satisfaction is closely tied to our ability to achieve first-time fixes. By resolving issues promptly during the initial visit, we minimize downtime and associated costs, leading to increased customer satisfaction.

Achieving first-time fixes requires accurately identifying the appropriate set of parts for each service request and ensuring their availability in our inventory. With a vast fleet of 60,000 trucks tailored to meet individual customer needs, we must maintain a comprehensive stock of thousands of parts and rely on experienced and knowledgeable staff who can navigate through relevant manuals to determine the precise combination of parts necessary for each service.

If a less experienced new hire generates an incorrect quote, it results in multiple service visits, causing further downtime for the customer. Also, with supply chain challenges, not effectively tracking vendor performance to supply parts on time also delays service completion. It was an arduous process to get vendor performance data and analyze it, and it led to us sometimes making the incorrect supply selection. Not having the performance data also prevented us from connecting with underperforming vendors to demand they improve their performance.

The Solution: 

Our technology partner Infor understood the problem, we conducted a proof of concept on their digital business platform, Infor OS, to create an AI-driven product recommender. Leveraging 3 yrs of past service quote data, Infor Coleman AI auto-generates service quotes, improving the efficiency and accuracy of recommending the right parts. The AI solution was validated by experienced staff, as they started cross-checking their manual process with AI automation, a match each time. With this success of the product recommender, we used Coleman AI to also help us with better and faster insights into vendor performance. Leveraging 3 yrs of past vendor performance data, Coleman AI auto-generates vendor scoring where suppliers are ranked against each other by 5 categories such as promptness and accurate quantity. Planners can look at multiple suppliers in the same category and compare their rating for better decision-making and ensure we have the right parts on hand.

The Results: 

Although service processes became easier and more streamlined after we adopted Infor CloudSuite Industrial, numerous mistakes continued to be made. Infor OS gives us that digital business platform integrated with the ERP to solve problems unique to our service processes to ultimately improve the customer service experience.

The AI parts recommendations were delivered directly in the Parts Estimator screen of Infor CloudSuite Industrial. This is where the parts department spends most of its day, having these recommendations available directly in the business application generates faster more accurate quotes. These insights were especially valuable to new hires or less experienced part managers. We quickly saw the recommender had a positive impact on first-time fixes and customer satisfaction. The recommender also boosted ROI, we did not have to re-ship parts or re-dispatch technicians to work on service fixes.

The AI vendor scoring is delivered in an Infor Birst analytic dashboard, enabling our Supply Chain Managers to be more productive with automatic vendor grading generated. Knowing which vendors are underperforming, users can identify orders that have issues, facilitating better collaboration and vendor performance improvements. We also saw that our users are making faster more optimal vendor selections to ensure we have the right parts on hand. This contributes to faster service job completions and "first-time-right" customer service.


First-time fixes are the gold standard for Combilift, and with AI we have increased first-time fixes by 30%.  Quotes are more accurate and made faster, lowering quote times from 20 down to five minutes. The downstream impact is a 30% reduction in time to complete the service, and costs and service times are lowered by 40%. In fact, since we provide all of the parts the first time around, there is an uptick in revenue per transaction by 40%.  That means all of the parts are bought from Combilift instead of other suppliers. 

Improved customer satisfaction and an increase in customer referrals only added to the company’s success. With less equipment downtime, customers of Combilift can be more productive in their own businesses and not be forced to wait while equipment is being serviced. 

In summary, we have quantified the following value and ROI: 

  • 30% increase in first-time fixes 
  • 30% faster completion of service jobs 
  • 30% increase in revenue per transaction  
  • 40% reduction in service job costs 
  • 75% faster time to determine related parts (from 20 minutes to 5 minutes) 
  • Under 90 days value realization
  • Use Case Video 
The Technology: 

Infor OS is foundational to CloudSuite Industrial to seamlessly extend the solution with integrated cloud services such as Infor Data Lake, Coleman AI, Birst Analytics, and more. ML models consume ERP data managed in the data lake, with automatic retraining to keep models from getting stale.  Fresh insights are presented to users where they do their daily work in Infor Portal and CloudSuite Industrial for ease of use and adoption. 

Disruptive Factor: 

The combination of Infor OS services ION, Data Lake, Coleman AI, and Birst have proven to work together seamlessly to deliver easy-to-use, consumable solutions for our CloudSuite Industrial users in a short amount of development time.  With the new release of Infor Robotic Process Automation (RPA), we can now combine this additional service to automate workflows for full, end-to-end automation. 

With a strong focus on the continued enhancement of customer experience, we have initiated the implementation of our first RPA use case. We leveraged what we learned from our AI journey and combined that with RPA to create an end-to-end ‘enterprise’ automation workflow. This solution combines the power of multiple components such as ION, Data Lake, Coleman AI, and RPA to transform customer service emails into well-documented customer service requests within our ERP system, ensuring their proper registration and acknowledgment. Registering the process and action for emailed customer issues helps prepare for the future to bring a prescribed behavior on possible solutions right at the time of issue creation. This in turn helps in reducing the time of resolution and provides a better customer experience. 

This development represents a game-changing milestone for our organization. By embracing and scaling automation to a greater extent, we can sustain our growth trajectory and work smarter without the need to constantly augment our workforce.

Shining Moment: 

Within Combilift, I have assumed the role of a passionate instigator to drive technology adoption across all departments. Infor brings innovative technology but also a support service to quickly implement use cases specific to our industry.  I’m proud of the fact that I prioritize my time with Infor to embark on multiple innovation projects simultaneously because it is my firm belief that embracing such advancements will unlock incredible benefits and value for our esteemed customers.

About Combilift

Combilift, revolutionizing the way companies handle and store goods. We help companies of all sizes and from every industry to maximise the capacity, safety and efficiency of their warehouse and storage facilities.