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Learning from each other as part of digitalization Schaeffler Distinguished as a Successful Practice Company in the Data-based Service Sector

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Heading in the right direction: The FIR at Aachen’s RWTH University named Schaeffler one of its successful practice companies in the data-based services sector. (Photo: Schaeffler)

2017-10-27 | Schweinfurt

As part of its benchmarking study “Data-Based Services 2017” commissioned by a consortium of companies, the FIR at Aachen’s RWTH University presented the “Successful Practice Company” award to Schaeffler. On its path towards digital transformation, Schaeffler particularly values close and early collaboration with its customers as well as flexible, scalable solutions.

Schaeffler was one of five companies that were selected to receive the award in recognition of their methods of developing data-based services. In a benchmarking study that was commissioned by seven companies, the FIR (Research Institute for Operations Management) at Aachen’s RWTH University researched the ways in which top companies distinguish themselves from other participants in the provision and development of digital services. The multi-stage process that went into selecting the successful practice companies employed a range of methods and also involved reciprocal company visits. This clearly demonstrated the companies’ similarities and differences as they tread the path towards digital transformation.

Learning together and learning from each other
Dr. Matthias Bandorf, Vice President Business Model Engineering Digital Solutions at Schaeffler, was in Aachen to accept the award during the closing conference at the end of September and was delighted at both the successful practice company distinction and the learning process that the study involved: “Taking part in a benchmarking study like this is a great opportunity to look over our neighbor’s shoulder, so to speak. The digital transformation that is now taking place makes it all the more important that we learn together and learn from each other.”

While digitalization may now be a universal issue, its implementation in the corporate context still raises a lot of questions. The FIR therefore identified 25 top performers and carried out a comparison of their approaches with those of the study’s other participants, from which it derived six success criteria. The research institute subsequently named five “successful practice companies” that had excelled thanks to the leading role they had played in the development of data-based services.

The most essential thing: Strategic partnerships and customer orientation
Digitalization is an issue of great importance for the future, and one that Schaeffler addressed and integrated into its strategy “Mobility for tomorrow” at an early stage. One aspect of Schaeffler’s digital agenda is expanding existing business models while simultaneously developing new ones. The company also goes far beyond the scope of the benchmarking study in actively helping to shape the digital world by working closely with business partners, universities, research institutions, and innovative start-up companies.

“The real driving force behind Industry 4.0 lies in data-based, interconnected services – after all, the use of sensors and the interconnection of machines don’t represent added value in and of themselves”, explains Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volker Stich, managing director of the FIR at Aachen’s RWTH University. Schaeffler develops digital services that increase the availability and productivity of machines and equipment while also allowing processes to be optimized. The customer’s needs are always the starting point and motivation for the development of new products and services. “To achieve a successful business model, we need to understand the problems that generate high subsequent costs for the customer and how his or her processes work. Only then can we develop solutions that create genuine added value for our customers”, explains Dr. Matthias Bandorf. Schaeffler’s Smart EcoSystem offers a comprehensive, cloud-based hardware and software infrastructure that includes every stage of digital added value – from components equipped with sensors through to digital services. The flexible architecture of the Smart EcoSystem gives manufacturers and operators of machines and equipment a structured, application-oriented, and modularly expandable point of entry into Schaeffler’s range of digital services.

Publisher: Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG
Country: Germany

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