At the heart of digitalisation is innovation that creates new sources of value for our customers. But for me, it’s also about imagining new ways of working and adopting a different mind-set to enable new products and services to be created in the first place.

Sue Graham Johnston

BOC MD Sue Graham Johnston

Working and living in Silicon Valley for over 25 years I’ve seen first-hand how many of today’s successful companies have re-imagined themselves and their sectors. They’ve done this by being agile and quick to adapt, seizing new opportunities offered by technology.

If we at BOC can be as imaginative in our approach, we too can grasp new opportunities. But more importantly, we’ll be able to give our customers services and products that can add value to their businesses.

Re-imagining the competition

With digitalisation it’s possible that a company no one would have imagined could be a world player a decade ago is a huge competitor today. Take Amazon – it has transformed itself from a book seller into the biggest competition for IT infrastructure players. Like Amazon, we need to be able to re-imagine our business beyond its conventional organisational boundaries and agile enough to adapt.

Re-imagining where value is

We also need to look at value differently. A digitalised product’s value comes not only from itself but also from the number of people using it. A good example of this is the smartphone. It has far less value if only a few people have one, but it’s of huge value if billions of people do. This principle applies to our industrial gas products and services too – their connectivity adds value to their stand-alone worth.

Re-imagining customer service

BOC customers are increasingly evaluating our service against that provided in the consumer world. Digital services like Uber or Amazon’s one-click ordering are defining great customer experience and shaping customers expectations of how we will interact with them.

So what does this all mean for BOC customers in 2017?

Re-imagining collaborations

Re-imagining gases means forging new collaborations with a range of people we may never have traditionally considered before, such as our customers, suppliers, channel partners, start-ups, and even competitors. We don’t need to create 100% of the innovation ourselves. Instead we can work with others to create and benefit from a vibrant eco-system for innovation of customer-centric products and services.

Re-imagining connections

Re-imagining gases also means creating value for everyone by connecting digitally-gathered information. By combining software with our gas technologies, we’re already gathering information all along the value chain – from our Air Separation Units and production plants to individual EVOS DCi gas cylinders. And by looking at how gas is used, we’ve already been able to improve our products and services. For example, with some cylinder packages you can track the exact location of your cylinders and receive remote alerts if your gas is running low.

And we are expanding our ability to deliver insights to our customers through Cloud-based services. A good example is our AVANTO™ system which allows you to store individual welding process data in the Cloud. Easily retrievable on the shop floor via PC or mobile, it can be interrogated for company-level analysis into weld costs, skills gaps, quality issues and waste reduction. You can then use these findings to drive improvements in your business.

Re-imagining engagement

Finally, re-imagining gases also means more consumer-led models of engagement. You can now become a BOC customer from any device at any time and manage your entire BOC relationship from a single place in the BOC online portal. You can view and manage stock holdings, access invoices as and when you want and download safety information. You can even use your own phone and scan the cylinder bar code to trigger a gas reorder. We want to carry on making things simpler for our customers in ways they’ve come to expect elsewhere in their lives.

During the coming year, BOC will continue re-imagining gases. We’ll dream big, have fun and deliver breakthroughs for our customers, making the most of whatever digital transformation has to offer.

Sue Graham Johnston
Managing Director

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