Modernization revolutionizes customer feedback at Vacon (Danfoss Drives)

When a company’s goal is to manufacture the world’s best AC drives, the equipment guidelines and technical specifications must be accurate, precise, and consistent. Vacon (now Danfoss Drives) decided to outsource its technical documentation to Etteplan and benefit from the company’s new HyperSTE and HyperDoc tools. The results have also won over Danfoss Drives’ customers.

The customer promise of Danfoss Drives, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of AC drives with an annual turnover of EURO 1.3 billion and approx. 4,800 employees, is to manufacture the world’s best AC drives. It is not enough to have good devices if customers do not know how to use them safely and easily. The products’ safety instructions and user manuals need to be high-quality, clear, and universally understandable.

Looking for the best partner in the sector

Vacon (now Danfoss Drives) wanted to outsource its technical documentation to a “best in class” partner.

“We set off looking for a partner that can raise our documentation to a whole new level. At the time, we lacked the resources and expertise that would have been required to carry out the development work ourselves,” explains Pasi Savola, Director, Head of Technical Communication at Danfoss Drives.

“Already at our first meeting, Etteplan proved to be the partner we had been looking for. They gave us a personal team of specialists to develop modular documentation with the help of the HyperSTE and HyperDoc tools developed by the company,” says Savola.

Reusability as the goal

Transferring to modular documentation meant the information in the manuals was divided into digital components or modules. Modules can be combined into new packages quickly and easily.

“The reusability of the content modules is up to 80 percent modular documentation which makes it easier and faster to create new manuals and brochures than before,” Savola says.

Text content was standardized and unified with the help of the STE method and a software tool. Another effective tool, the HyperDoc system, provided support for managing content modules and their related processes.

“The system takes care of the manuals’ layout, which allows writers and translators to focus on content. Thanks to the system, updates are only made once, in one location. Previously, the layout and updating of the documentation was carried out by hand. Also all of the reusable material was attached to the documents manually which made the updating of the documents dependent on the writer’s memory. This of course increased the margin of error and decreased the consistency of documentation,” Savola explains.

Nothing but positive feedback

When the system became established at the company, the results began to show. The greatest savings were achieved through the simplification of documentation and the improved reusability of the content.

“The new methods have resulted in savings of approximately 70 per cent in the translation costs of large documents,” Savola says. However, according to Savola, the results of the development work are, in the end, measured based on direct customer feedback.

“After the modernisation we have received nothing but positive feedback. Any negative feedback has almost completely dried up. This means that the comprehension of the content has clearly improved and the number of errors has declined,” he says.

He feels the collaboration with Etteplan has met the expectations that were set during the first meeting. Savola, with 16 years of experience in the field, points out that, for global operators, finding a clear, mutual professional understanding cannot be taken for granted.

“Listening to the customer is integral to Etteplan’s corporate culture. We also value having a partner that is brave enough to give us their views and present alternatives if they see development needs in our operations,” he concludes.

Advanced methods and technology

  • The Simplified Technical English (STE) method is based on the simplification of language. Unambiguous text increases product safety and reduces the volume of text, which minimizes translation costs.
  • The HyperDoc content management system increases the efficiency of the content production process by automating the layout and publishing of manuals. The system allows data updates to be carried out in a controlled manner to one, or many, locations.
  • Modular documentation: Data content is divided up into easily reusable modules. Thanks to the reusability of content, the method results in cost savings, a clear process, and a consistent and unified look for the manuals.

Results:

  • Improved customer experience
  • Savings in the translation costs of guides and manuals (up to 70% for a single translation)
  • Development of content quality
  • Improvement of understandability, unambiguous terms
  • Unified layout, automatic layout
  • Reusing content (degree of reuse up to 80%)
  • Updates are made to a single location