A tough journey. Siemens PLM Software’s new president and CEO, Tony Hemmelgarn, has been with the company for many years. He has been part of the team that developed its Industry 4.0 concept.
What are the hallmarks of a great PLM leader? Decisiveness, results-orientation and deep technological knowledge are some of the most important characteristics. His colleagues think that Siemens PLM Software’s new CEO and president, Tony Hemmelgarn, has them.
The company has appointed Hemmelgarn to be President and CEO effective October 1. He currently holds the position of executive vice president for global sales, marketing and service delivery.
Siemens PLM Software’s current president and CEO, Chuck Grindstaff, will become Executive Chairman.
No doubt this is a big change, but it is not all that surprising. In recent years, Grindstaff has worked to make the huge Industry 4.0 project a reality. Under his leadership, Siemens PLM acquired companies and solutions, made progress on integration issues and reformed the company structure to fit the concept.
Hemmelgarn has held a leading role throughout these processes. He takes on the tough new challenge of translating this technology into growing revenues.
All this makes it perfect timing for the “coronation.”
Both Hemmelgarn and Grindstaff have been with the organization for a long time. From his first appearence in the R&D department back in 1978 (when the company was known as Unigraphics and then UGS, until it was bought by Siemens in 2007) until today, Grindstaff has played leading roles in both technology and business development. Grindstaff was appointed CEO of Siemens PLM in 2010, when he succeeded the former leader, Tony Affuso.
Took the CEO helm in 2010. Chuck Grindstaff led the company's transformation
towards Industry 4.0.
The Hard Journey from Mainly Manual to Mainly Digital
It has been a tough, and in many ways challenging journey, as the world of product development, engineering and manufacturing moved away from predominantly manual and siloed processes towards today’s digitization and seamless processes. This is characterized by the vision and staging of the Industry 4.0 concept.
In this endeavor, Tony Hemmelgarn has been a leading member of Grindstaff’s and Siemens PLM’s team.
“I am excited about the opportunity to truly drive the vision and strategy that I have been working on with Chuck and the entire team while I was in my previous role,” Hemmelgarn said to ENGINEERING.com.
He added, “We were able to present and demonstrate this strategy at our recent analyst conference, and we continue to receive tremendous responses from the analyst and press community. This is a truly holistic, unique digitalization strategy for helping our customers transform their operations into a digital enterprise.”
Hemmelgarn Appreciates Willingness to Take Action
Hemmelgarn joined the organization when Unigraphics merged with SDRC in 2001, where he was a Vice President. Immediately prior to his current role, Hemmelgarn was Senior VP and Managing Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He has also held the United States country management position, as well as the position of Senior VP of the Industry Vertical Organization for Siemens.
He is known to be a results-oriented and energetic leader who appreciates the willingness to take action. “But he also has a deep knowledge and understanding of industrial processes, and the integration issues are high on his business agenda,” one of his coworkers told me.
I asked the new Siemens chief, What are the most important challenges? “Our biggest challenge is that the digital transformation of industry is accelerating,” Hemmelgarn replied. “Technology drivers like multi-physics based design, additive manufacturing, advanced robotics and data analytics are transforming the way products are designed, built and supported. Our challenge is to quickly deliver the solutions that our customers need to take advantage of these technology drivers. These solutions must integrate the virtual world of product development with the real world of manufacturing and lifecycle support.”
He went on to add, ”As you are aware, our software allows our customers to create a digital twin, an accurate virtual representation of the product and its manufacturing processes to predict and optimize performance in the physical world. We think we do this better than anyone in the industry.”
The Siemens electronics factory in Amberg, Germany, is an excellent example of an installation done according to the seamless connection between product development and manufacturing. Tony Hemmelgarn’s job is to “translate” Siemens’ technology behind this project into revenues.
“It’s Not About the Best Practice, It’s About the Next Practice”
These are big concepts; but they accurately portray the position of a market in transition. What remains to be seen is whether Siemens’ customers clear about what it means to go through the process of digitalization?
There are obstacles here, as it turns out. “Sometimes,” Hemmelgarn said during Siemens’ recent analyst conference, “I’m not sure that our customers truly understand what this really means. It’s not about taking your existing processes and shoving them into the digital world. It’s not even about best practices; it’s about next practices.”
The secret is to find out what these companies are going to do differently.
“However, I am enthusiastic about our ability as an organization to deliver on the vision and provide the holistic solutions that our customers across all industries will need to succeed and realize innovation,” Hemmelgarn concluded.
Hemmelgarn Will Be Targeting PTC and Dassault
When I interviewed Chuck Grindstaff during PLM Europe two years ago, I asked him how things were advancing with Siemens’ Industry 4.0 concept. He said, “Well, we’re at 3.8.”
Even though this was a playful way to phrase things, the conclusion was that Grindstaff and his team were very close to a fully functioning solution. From every business and technological aspect, this has been a huge and challenging job. Throughout this process, he has accumulated a valuable bank of experience and knowledge which will add a sharp edge to Siemens PLM’s board.
It is understandable that Grindstaff wants to step down from the operational leadership of the company in the light of the project's large scale, and Tony Hemmelgarn was a clear choice to replace him.
Hemmelgarn has his sights set on growth and gaining market share – if he is successful, it could come at the expense of PTC and Dassault.