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Digitalization will be an enabling factor for sustainable growth

Picture of Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler AG

Interview with Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler and Co-Chair of the B20 Digitalization Taskforce

Few other companies are as entangled in global supply chains as Schaeffler, one of the world’s leading automotive and industrial suppliers. How is digitalization transforming your business model? How does it affect your international activities? 

Growing digitalization is an important opportunity for the further optimization of Schaeffler’s business model in the future. As a global leader in technology and innovation, we integrate digitalization into our global production and supply chain processes making them more flexible and precise. We reduce our time-to-market by applying agile development processes and methods. We optimize complex dependencies with a precise end-to-end global view through machine learning and big data analytics. In order to implement the required transformation even faster, Schaeffler engages in partnerships such as that with IBM with Watson technology and in digital ecosystems.

Beyond increasing efficiency through digitization of production processes, big data analytics play an increasingly important role for the manufacturing sector. Is data ownership and sovereignty a subject that has to be addressed by policy makers? If so do you see the need for international coordination?

Big data analytics and machine learning can lead to competitive advantages for companies. More data allow better modelling, which in turn allows higher value creation. In particular, suppliers to global industries must get access to product data in operations that have been generated in their development chains. The use of data across national boundaries is of similar importance. Today, there are still many boundaries preventing data from traveling from their location of origin to locations with additional added value. Therefore, fostering global competition by allowing access to data across national borders is key.

On July 7 and 8, G20 heads of states and governments will meet in Hamburg. What is on your wish list for the final summit communiqué? 

Digitalization will be one of the enabling factors for sustainable growth and effective value generation within the G20 nations. Therefore, we need extensive education, global standards, global efforts for security and safety, as well as global access to data and technologies.

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