Customer Success Story
Berner Group maintains its IT with TeamViewer Assist AR and Microsoft HoloLens
On 1 April 1957, Albert Berner founded the family business as a one-man operation in Künzelsau, Baden-Württemberg, with 3,000 Deutschmarks in start-up capital. 65 years later, the Berner Group has grown to 8,000 employees in 23 countries, distributes over 200,000 articles and achieves a turnover of 1.1 billion euros.
The B2B wholesale company supplies professionals from the automotive sector to the construction and manufacturing industry with everything they need for their daily business success – from tools to accessories and consumables to smart chemical “All In One” solutions or the right work equipment. Reliability is a core value for the Berner Group. Because the company sees itself as a partner at eye level who wants to keep its customers’ world “together and running” with application-oriented product and service offerings.
The family business, which is now run by the second generation of CEO Christian Berner, has been consistently focusing on digitalisation for years.
As a result of the digital transformation, the Group’s IT infrastructure has also continued to grow – and with it the need to install, operate and routinely maintain hardware and software, and to diagnose and rectify potential errors.
The Server & Network department looks after all Berner Group locations throughout Europe. In the past, this meant that IT professionals sometimes had to travel long distances to check on things on site – not a very efficient use of their valuable time. “Due to their know-how, our experts often only need a few minutes to solve a technical problem. In the past, the travel itself was much more time-consuming.,” explains Heinz Bruhn, Senior Director International Application Management at Berner Group. And sometimes economically expensive: “If, for example, a network in our logistics centre in Southern Europe fails, then of course we first have to get there from our headquarters in Cologne or Künzelsau. Every minute of downtime can cost us up to 4,000 Euros – it is easy to calculate how high the financial damage is in such a scenario. Not to mention the response from customers who may not be able to receive just-in-time deliveries due to the technical disruption.”
As a pioneer in digital transformation, the Berner Group has therefore decided to rely on remote maintenance with mixed and augmented reality. “TeamViewer Assist AR is an essential part of this,” explains Heinz Bruhn. “Our baseline question was: How can we leverage technology to get the existing IT competence to wherever it is needed?” To this end, the Berner Group acquired the Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality glasses and uses the TeamViewer Assist AR remote support solution to operate them.
IT professionals at Berner Group can use it to easily connect to the mixed reality glasses worn by employees on site; they see what they see and can provide real-time visual instructions and assistance through 3D elements, markers, images or technical documentation in the field of view. “This means that almost all employees – regardless of their IT expertise – can carry out maintenance, configuration or troubleshooting activities,” says Heinz Bruhn. “The virtual presence of the IT specialists guarantees that this is done professionally. The change from purely manual on-site activities to remote support is another important step on the way to fully networked, international cooperation and helps to make the best possible use of our human resources. Our team can now focus much more on its key competencies as innovators and drivers of digitalisation.”
Remote support via augmented reality (AR) is a valuable addition to IT support at Berner Group:
- Professional IT maintenance and fast problem solving reduce downtime costs to a minimum.
- Faster troubleshooting ensures higher customer satisfaction.
- Travel time for IT professionals for support purposes could be reduced by up to 70 per cent.
- Saved travel costs pay towards sustainability goals.