By Kathryn Gerardino-Elagio
Each year, Siemens Digital Industries Software brings its global user community together for idea sharing, collaboration, and career-advancing conversation through Realize LIVE conference. Following the conference, Siemens hosted an exclusive online Q&A session with members of the media in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region featuring Tony Hemmelgarn, CEO, Siemens Digital Industries Software and Bas Kuper, Managing Director for APAC, Siemens Digital Industries Software.
Tony Hemmelgarn, CEO
Bas Kuper, Managing Director for APAC
International Metalworking News for Asia was fortunate to be part of the media to ask questions to both Tony and Bas as they share about Siemens’ key technological innovations and customer win; and learn about the latest industry trends affecting businesses in APAC, as the region navigates the new norm and upcoming operational challenges.
Trends influencing the development of PLM
According to Tony, the trends are clear. Companies that create digital enterprises can move faster and be more agile than the ones that do not and lag behind.
"When we look at what happened over the world in the last year and a half with Covid-19, it's been very clear that if you have digital strategy, if you have a digital environment, you can work a lot easier than without one. It makes a difference to be able to respond to the market, answer customer inquiry, and be agile," he remarked.
Tony said, "Our comprehensive digital twin, strategy, personalisation of software, and the idea of being open, is core to what most companies are asking us for. I believe that’s true for all parts of the world including APAC."
Bas on the other hand mentioned that they were seeing a lot of traction this year, especially around their local application platform, Mendix. "We have announced a large collaboration with Tencent in China. Although we are still at the very beginning in APAC, we see a huge traction in that area."
The other thing that Siemens is seeing a lot of demand currently is in MBSE, mobile-based systems engineering, especially in automotive. He cited, "There are a few examples of that in Japan, but also in China, where automotive companies are buying our technology, and bringing them to the next level."
Bas added, "We are also seeing some interesting developments in the tier one automotive where we are seeing that tier ones are making a decision whether to move up in the value chain, or let's say integrate their tier twos into their processes. This year, we have seen two nice examples, where one of the tier one wants to move to become what they call tier 0.5 and move up in the value chain, and provide systems to the OEMs. For that purpose, they’re heavily invested in MBSE at the moment."
Bas noted another example, "One tier one company is integrating their theory tools into their facilities to get them closer in order to connect their own processes. They are providing manufacturing execution system (MES) and quality management, including the planning and scheduling solutions to have a tighter integration into their two tier partners. These are just two examples where we are helping. In this particular case, we help automotive companies to become more agile or competitive. Also, we are looking at the supply chain to take away some of the barriers that we are currently seeing."
Siemens' role in an industrial world
The industrial world is in the core of transformation. The digital future of industry is no longer some far-flung promise. Today's products are becoming smarter, more personalised. New insights, new opportunities, new levels of automation at every point of the value chain.
Tony stated, "There is no company better prepared in the world to take care of the blending of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) and how you bring these together. Part of that is looking at the problem as a system or a solution rather than just applications, right?"
"The strength of what we have always had in our software is the integration of our solutions to solve complex problems for our customers. The whole idea of the comprehensive digital twin is that if you cannot represent electronics in a product, how can you have a true digital twin? Most products have electronics in the day, particularly most complex products," he added.
Tony pointed that if you do not have manufacturing software, manufacturing capabilities, how can you represent what is really happening in a digital model and the way you work? "The great thing about Siemens is, unlike most software companies, we build and manufacture things as well. Meaning, we use our own software to produce our own products, so we have to look at it from a systems point of view. I think that is a big advantage of what we have when we think about how we help our customers," he revealed.
Competition in APAC
The APAC region is the world's fastest growing market. It is also home to two impossible-to-ignore markets -- India and China -- each with over a billion population. Siemens consistently strive for innovation, productivity, quality, and availability. Together with its suppliers, they rely on a competitive and transparent supply chain; and in doing so the company act with foresight and responsibility.
"I would say competition is always a good thing, right? Because that keeps us on our toes and drives innovation as well as lowers cost for the customers. In the end, I think without competition, the customer would not be well off," Bas declared.
He confirmed that there are quite a bit of new entrants in the in APAC market. Possibly, even a little bit more than what we are seeing elsewhere. Nevertheless, Bas trusts that this always serves a purpose. "I think in the end, our customers want an integrated holistic digital thread that can cross the entire value chain," he observed.
"Yes, we're seeing a lot of competition in niche areas or particular domains that might be easier to access as a new entrant. But to be able to provide a holistic solution like we are today, I think that will take significant investment and time to realise," Bas reasoned.
He added, "I think we are now taking it a step further because even though we have the most holistic digital twin in the industry, we do not have any enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. I agree that the collaboration we announced last year with SAP takes us to the next edge as well. We are now going to provide a seamless integration into the ERP world as well, which will provide even bigger benefits to our customers going forward."
Bas is seeing quite a bit of traction with the collaboration with SAP. "Obviously, they are a gigantic company, just like Siemens. So that snowball needs to start rolling, but we are seeing that they are bringing us into many new customers that we were unable to penetrate before. I have high expectations with the collaboration as well, and in the end of course, the customer benefits from this because we will be providing solutions that were not imaginable before and also solutions that are not being provided by the competition currently," he finally said.
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