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Digital ambassadors: Smart Products

Smart, connected products are being created in every division of the company. Equipped with sensors, electronics and actuators, they provide information for the highly scalable condition monitoring of industrial facilities and equipment, for example. Our digital ambassadors Hamid, Andreas and Alexander give us an insight into their work and into the digital transformation in the Automotive Aftermarket and Automotive Technologies Divisions.

The expert in digital transformation

When it comes to digital transformation in the Automotive Aftermarket division, the key objectives are to unlock turnover and efficiency potential, and to improve the customer experience. “Every contact that a customer has with Schaeffler counts. They could be placing an order or making a service request,” explains Hamid Manesh. “An example is Schaeffler OneCode, which offers our customers multiple digital services on a standard smartphone. Workshops can collect bonus points or view installation manuals in no time.”

Shaping change

Hamid’s team is currently developing the digital processes and services that are required for customer experiences, before they will be rolled out in cross-functional project teams all over the world. The focus is on working collaboratively with Schaeffler’s business partners and across all areas of the company. Hamid sees this collaboration as a crucial factor in successfully developing user-friendly solutions that offer a high potential for improvement and a real practical benefit.

For Hamid, teamwork and a high level of individual responsibility when it comes to developing solutions and implementing projects are important factors in one’s day-to-day work. “I try to get my employees involved in all tasks and empower them to overcome challenges – I see myself as more of a coach than a boss,” says Hamid. The experience he gained before joining Schaeffler – in strategy and management consulting, setting up startups, developing new customer processes, and developing software – helps him in this. He has been responsible for organizing the digital transformation of the Automotive Aftermarket division since 2017.

Hamid Manesh, Head of Digital Transformation in the Automotive Aftermarket division

We use agile methods and tools to coordinate and control what we do. We often take a project-based approach or, to begin with, we run pilots, since experience has shown us that new solutions will undergo many changes and further developments. This gives us a way of trying things out on the market before usually scaling them up to the global level.

The digitalization strategist

Andreas Kimmig, Head of Business Development & Digitalization, Automotive Technologies

For me, the highlight of this role is that I get to work with a diverse range of organizational areas and people, and hence also that I get to deal with a wide range of issues and questions.

Purchasing, Transmission Systems, Clutch Systems, Friction Linings, Business Development Automotive – Andreas Kimmig has worked in many parts of the Schaeffler organization, so he is well equipped to drive digitalization in the Automotive Technologies division.

As a digitalization portfolio manager and a member of the Digital Coordination Committee, Andreas created a digitalization network in Automotive Technologies in order to shape the division’s digitalization strategy. The focus of the network is on the close integration of processes with digitalization.

A roadmap for digital processes

Andreas and his team are motivated by the desire to make the Automotive Technologies division’s transformation a success. They want to harness the potential of digitalization in order to create maximum added value – for the division’s products and processes, but also for its employees. In concrete terms, this means efficiency gains through end-to-end optimization in the digital value chain. Equally importantly, it involves the use of cyber-physical equipment in the production plants, collaborative data sharing with partners, and smart mechatronic products.

“Together with the enterprise architecture team, we’re systematically analyzing all dimensions of digitalization – IT systems, data, and processes. Based on that, we’re formulating our digitalization roadmap and developing the next projects.” The Sales – Processes & Tools team has been focusing on digitalization for a long time and is actively driving it forward in Sales.

Andreas started at Schaeffler in 2011 as a management trainee in Sales in Bühl. He has been the head of the Business Development – Automotive Technologies department since 2018, picking up responsibility for the division’s digitalization activities in 2021. His strong affinity for IT and matters digital goes back to his studies in business management and industrial engineering – and especially to his stints at an IT company and in the IT department of the Fraunhofer Society.

The networker

Alexander B. Wurst began his career with “the best of both worlds”: He completed the “Two in One” program, a combination of vocational training as an industrial mechanic and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. With this sound technical foundation, and a strong interest in commercial issues, he initially held various positions in Bearing Components Technology and Industrial Engineering. In these roles, he soon became exposed to digitalization and automation solutions. Since 2022, the digital transformation of the Industrial division has defined his working day, because in his capacity as Program Manager Digitalization Industrial, Alexander is now responsible for the digitalization of Schaeffler’s Industrial division and plays a major role in shaping its digitalization strategy and activities.

Smart processes and smart products

He is particularly proud that his organization develops and operates digital solutions itself that are closely aligned with the needs of the division. In doing so, the focus is always on the overarching strategy of the Group, the business targets of the division, and the needs of customers. His extensive experience from the production environment is standing him in good stead in his current role. Because part of his work is to use digital solutions to make the end-to-end processes – from supplier through production to the customer – more efficient and flexible. There is also a focus on smart products: These include new smart products like the multi-award-winning condition monitoring system OPTIME, and digital services for the Schaeffler Group’s high-precision mechanical products.

Alexander B. Wurst, Program Manager Digitalization Industrial

Our customers are the deciding factor. It is for them that we want to make our products and processes even better and easier. At the same time, digitalization is creating a new form of customer proximity.

Collaboration, communication, and fostering the digital skills of all employees are especially important to Alexander. This is why even at an early stage, he built up a digitalization network in the division to facilitate an ongoing dialog in all corners of the organization. Thanks to close ties within the entire company and with customers and partners, his team is driving the digitalization process forward at Schaeffler. As a result, they are helping the motion technology company to remain competitive and be prepared for the challenges of the future. “The pace of progress is huge, and it is remarkable to see what Schaeffler has already got off the ground here in recent years. It is simply great fun to work with colleagues from the various digitalization areas and other departments. I am grateful for the trust placed in me and also for the ambitious and inspiring allies with whom we are driving the digitalization process forward.”

October 2023

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