Interview Siemens Plans to Put Focus on Platforms

Author / Editor: The interview was conducted by Gerd Kielburger* / Gerd Kielburger

On 1 October, Siemens started for the first time with their own division for the process industry–Germany's biggest industrial group has restructured. "Yet again?", critics asked. But this time the group came up with concrete action in keeping with their Vision 2020 and formed their own "Process Industries and Drives" division. Division head Peter Herweck speaks in the PROCESS interview about his strategies, aims and opportunities in the new structure.

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A new head for a new division at Siemens: Peter Herwecks leads the company's Process Industries and Drives division since October 2014.
A new head for a new division at Siemens: Peter Herwecks leads the company's Process Industries and Drives division since October 2014.
(Picture: Siemens)

? Mr. Herweck, large corporations have a tendency to spend a lot of time on themselves and on restructuring. This is often an expression of dissatisfaction with their own market position or with poor results. Was this also the trigger for the new restructuring at Siemens?

Herweck: Yes and no. With our Vision 2020, we want to take a decisive step forwards and to focus on three topics in particular: electrification, automation and digitalisation. Here, of course, we are organising ourselves so that the customer is at the centre of our activities. And, naturally, we also want to see it generating growth.

? Why was the old structure obsolete? Were you not also responsible for strategy under the previous corporation head Löscher?

Herweck: There your research is not quite correct. I did not start in strategy until the previous subdividing of the sectors had been completed. In my task as strategy leader, my work had much more to do with the topic of the new regional organisation, but I was also involved in the streamlining of our portfolio. My most recent work was on our current programme for the process industry, which finally led to Vision 2020.

? Siemens needed a lot of time for this step. How difficult is it to bring the different Siemens worlds together as an effective formation under one process industry roof?

Herweck: Well, you know, sometimes it's like at home. There are parents who still do not want their children to leave the family home at the age of 14 or 15, but wait a little longer before letting their children stand on their own feet. That is how it is in our case. Now the time is right for our own process industry division and, when we report our key financial parameters for the first time, you will see that this is a very, very solid business and is capable of matching all global competitors.

? In an internal interview for Siemens, you emphasised how important the new independent division "Process Industries and Drives" is in meeting the needs of this target group better. Does the process industry really tick so completely differently from manufacturing industry?

Herweck: Yes, manufacturing and process sectors are extremely different regarding their activity and control cycles. They are as different as driving a car and flying an aircraft.