Digitalization is a huge wor(l)d – and sometimes you can easily get lost in it. My passion and goal is to help our employees understand and feel inspired by the Digital World. To encourage curiosity and to enable the growth of their careers.
Love to travel or scared of the unknown?
Some people love to travel, discover foreign countries, and hike from village to village without knowing the country or the local language. For some of my friends, the idea of traveling like that with just a backpack is the epitome of freedom. For me, that would be a horror show. When it comes to vacations, my thirst for adventure is not particularly great. If I would like to get to know foreign countries, I would need to be well-prepared or with a guide: someone who knows the place and accompanies me on my journey.
We could now try to awaken my thirst for adventure when traveling by throwing me in at the deep end and send me for backpacking for a few weeks. But let’s be honest – the probability that I would like it is quite low.
For many people the topic of digitalization relates to similar fears as backpacking alone in a foreign country does for me. Digitalization is a huge wor(l)d and it’s nearly impossible to explore every facet of it on your own. Where to start your digital journey? What to expect from the digital world? The fear of the unknown and being unprepared prevents us from seeing the positive aspects and opportunities. This fear will most likely prevent us from taking the journey at all. Unless perhaps, we get a guide who supports us on our journey?
The fear I experience with unknown holiday destinations is exactly what can happen with digital transformation. Employees feel unprepared for the digital world, are left to their own devices and often have little support or direction. They don’t know or understand the culture or the language, but they are expected to find their way around and like it there.
For me, this is not how I view a positive journey. And this is where I come in; being responsible for digitalization at our Siemens Mobility Manufacturing site in Krefeld. I am the ‘tour guide’ into the digital world for our employees. It is my job to demystify the digital world. To open up the culture and make it accessible – and inspiring for everyone.
However, my own journey into digitalization did not take a classic route. In 2012, I started the dual study program in International Management at Siemens. After concluding my studies in 2016, I started off as a commercial assistant for the production, while also doing my MBA. And finally, in 2018, I slipped into the area of digitalization by a happy coincidence.
Maybe it already catches the eye- I don’t have an IT background, I didn’t study computer science and my programming skills do not go beyond Excel macros. But I am what some would call a digital native – I prefer to call it “digitally affinity”. And to have affinity to the digital world, in my opinion, you don’t have to be able to program an app or instruct a robot. Neither must you have set out early on to have a career in the digital world.
Succeeding in the Digital world has a lot to do with how we deal with change. It’s about being curious and adventurous and being open-minded to the opportunities that digitalization can bring. How do we do this?
Feeling at home in the digital world
When scrolling through social networks, I sometimes come across the saying
Do not make fun of your parents if they have problems with a smartphone. They taught you how to use a spoon.
For businesses, this saying is easy to adapt:
Our employees have made our business what it is today. Now it’s up to the business to empower these employees digitally – not out of obligation, but to obtain the greatest advantage the company has.
That is what we aim for at our Manufacturing site in Krefeld. Undoubtedly, we have some amazing digitalization projects. With Robotic Process Automation, we are creating relief for our employees in many areas, with our Manufacturing Cockpit we have a Management Information System that gives us new insights into our production, and with MindSphere we are starting to improve processes in the car bodies production segment through IoT connections to our milling machines just to name few.
But most of all it’s our people. We have amazing employees who have a huge amount of expertise. Some have been with Siemens for over 25 years and have seen the company go through a huge amount of change as our industry and the world changes around us. Others are new to the world of Siemens, bringing innovative and new ideas. The impact a diverse team can bring is huge. But we must support and enable our employees in different ways to enable their journey into the digital world.
We are currently in the final stages of setting up our digitalization information platform, where we explain our digitalization topics and projects, create space for questions and make digitalization easy to understand for everyone. We are giving digitalization a face. Bringing our business to life by giving transparency of the people behind the projects and operations. We share our projects to inspire and encourage employees to engage in them.
In my responsibility for digitalization at Manufacturing Krefeld, I have set myself the goal of demystifying digitalization with the aim of helping employees firstly ‘understand’. And secondly ‘feel inspired’ by digitalization. Encouraging them to come on this amazing journey.
This is the key to make sure our employees avoid a ‘horror vacation’ filled with nervousness and fear. And instead feel at home and inspired by the digital world, enabling our employees to support our journey in remaining a world-class manufacturing site.
Read more inspiring stories of our Digital Minds on http://www.siemens.com/careers/digitalminds