The balance of the markets has shifted
by Dagmar Dieterle
Interview marketSTEEL with Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group
marketSTEEL: Digitalization is electrifying the industry. How relevant is the topic for Endress+Hauser?
Altendorf: It all begins with the fact that the manufacturing of our measurement instruments is to a large extent digitized. From the first entry in our device database, we monitor every step and can make this information digitally available. We provide connectivity, both wired and wireless, via a variety of communication protocols. And with Netilion, we offer customers an ecosystem for the Industrial Internet of Things that enables them to exploit the potential of digitalization for their own purposes, for instance in web-based applications or by using entire packages for certain tasks. From a technical point of view, we’re very advanced. As a next step, it will take joint efforts with our customers to develop useful applications.
marketSTEEL: How does this approach differ from other suppliers?
Altendorf: One key point is that we are independent with regards to a control system. We offer whatever benefits our customers, and not just what fits neatly into our own system architecture. Furthermore, we have always relied on open standards and we collaborate with a wide range of system partners. Just one example: Our partnership with SAP helps to get the information from the field instrument into the ERP system.
marketSTEEL: The topic of analytics is also getting a lot of attention.
Altendorf: We’ve had consecutive record figures in the analysis business for ten years running. Why? We focused on making it easy for customers to deploy analytical technologies. Our philosophy is to integrate the complex parts into instruments that are quite easy to use. Where possible, we have also established standards, so that customers have to learn things only once. The new technologies that we gained through acquisitions are developing very well. They help our customers reduce costs on a massive scale.
marketSTEEL: What about laboratory analysis?
Altendorf: We will continue to enhance the laboratory analysis area, which on the one hand impacts our offering. The Analytik Jena products that are designed for chemical analysis will be enhanced with further innovations and supplemented with new technologies. On the other hand, we’re reinforcing the sales area. We’d like to address the market more broadly and offer customers superior service. It will take some time before this strategy completely takes hold, however.
marketSTEEL: There have been changes in the management of the Group... Andreas Mayr is now responsible for the operational business as COO. What is behind this step?
Altendorf: We want to focus on three areas in particular. When it comes to digitalization, we want to stay out in front: with our products and processes and in our own systems. Second, we want to strengthen the laboratory analysis business and bring laboratory technologies to the field. Third, we want to strategically develop the company over the long term. These are the issues I want to focus on. But that will require time and effort, and Mr Mayr is giving me exactly the space I need. On top of all of this, Endress+Hauser has grown over the years. Today the Group has 14,000 employees, a presence in 50 countries and production facilities on five continents. One of the key tasks is to convey and anchor our corporate culture across the world so that the customers perceive us as one company. The corporate culture binds us together and builds trust with the customers – that’s extremely important for us.
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Photos: Christoph Fein, Andreas Pohlmann