"The switch to digital must lead to improvement"

In some areas, such as digital audits and digital shop-floor management, digitalization has already brought us further. But it is not an end in itself. In this interview, Stefan Leitzgen, Managing Director and Global COO, talks about the challenges and potential of digitization.

What are the biggest challenges in digitization?

A major challenge is the valid assessment of the cost-benefit ratio. Many things are technically possible, but often bring only minor benefits. The permanent costs for hardware and software and the additional CO2 impact reach a relevant order of magnitude for many digital solutions when looked at closely. Added to this are questions of data security and protection against hacker attacks.

At the moment, our teams around the world are being sensitized to be careful on their PCs and not to download any malware that reaches us via fake e-mails. How should we imagine the threat in production?

Digital solutions within our own corporate network are well secured by our extensive cyber security measures. But every interface to the Internet is a potential source of danger.

In which areas do we see the greatest potential for digitization?

I see great potential in the analysis of machine and process data. With the help of machine data, we can identify at an early stage what we need to do to avoid malfunctions and how energy can be saved. Through the extensive analyses of process data, we can once again significantly improve the quality of our products.

Can you give a few examples where digitization has already helped us?

Among other things, we have introduced electronic signature, digital audit and digital store floor management. This saves us tons of paper every year. And we are making great progress in building our digital manufacturing platform. This will later network all the machines, equipment and transport systems in our factories.  

What are the next projects we will see in the company?

We are spending a lot of time and resources this year on building the digital manufacturing platform. In addition, we are working on the digitalization of our maintenance processes.

Thank you very much for the interview.

The interview was conducted by Andreas Heine, Global EVP Communication & Marketing.

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