Siemens is a company in transition.

The organization has spent the last year neck-deep in a massive, corporate-wide overhaul, realigning its entire 360,000-member manufacturing and engineering workforce to reflect the enormous changes the industry has experienced.

When completed in the next few months, the shift will have directly affected nearly 12,000 workers and will result in new divisions, new departments and a new corporate leaning that seems to have advanced manufacturing clearly in its sights.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the sweeping changes occurring across the Siemens' Industry Group.

In the past, IndustryWeek, has covered the work that department has done to define the digital components driving the "Manufacturing Renaissance" – all of the space-age industrial simulation software and the automation and data-driven tools that have helped manufacturers bounce back from the recession and enter this new, exciting phase of growth occurring in the industry.

But now that group has been split in two – one half covering process industries and drives and the other targeting exactly what this high-tech resurgence is really all about: the Digital Factory.

Running that new division is former Industry Automation Division CEO, Anton Huber – a long-time Siemens leader with some big ideas about technology and the future of advanced manufacturing.

We recently met with Huber to find out a little bit about the changes and where they will help take the industry through the next decade.


Q: Dedicating a department solely to the Digital Factory seems like a dramatic step. Before we get into what it is or how it works, can you tell me why the company decided to make this change?

 A: Well, Siemens has reorganized the whole corporation, not just my division. And there were several reasons why things have been moved around.

We are an automation company, historically. We do manufacturing automation, and a lot of our competitors are in manufacturing automation.

But we see that manufacturing automation itself doesn't do the trick anymore.

I mean, of course manufacturers can do more automation. We can always do a little more automation. But it goes into saturation. You end up spending a lot of money for an increment of productivity.

Even if you use TCP/IP protocol in the plant or have whatever in the cloud, it does not really help you to get your stuff out early. And that is really the goal.

To do that, you have to change the whole situation. You have to look holistically at what you do and what you want to accelerate.

So we have changed our perspective and our portfolio of competency because we want to look at the creation of a product from a holistic point of view.