Source: eKapija | Thursday, 23.06.2016.| 13:40
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Ulrich Spiesshofer , CEO of ABB – We invest a billion dollars a year in R&D

Ulrich Spiesshofer
Ulrich Spiesshofer
The technology of the company ABB influences the everyday life to a greater extent than one can imagine. There are almost no industries or services where ABB products haven't found use.

ABB has been contributing to the technical development in Switzerland and the world for 125 years, especially in the domains of energy efficiency and improving industrial productivity. eKapija had the exclusive honor of talking to the head of ABB, Ulrich Spiesshofer.

- When I became the company's CEO, my mother asked me to explain to her in few words what my company did. I stopped to think, because ABB does many things. If I, as the general manager, couldn't explain precisely what we do, I thought, how could our sales department be expected to?

This is why we have clearly defined ABB as a world company which deals with energy and industrial automation. With its technologies, ABB helps the users from the areas of the public sector, industry, infrastructure and transport to improve their productivity, while reducing the environmental damage.

eKapija: What are the company's plans for the coming period?

- Although we operate in nearly all segments, there are still industries in which we could record a much bigger growth. The food and drink industries are good examples.

It's not enough to say that we want to achieve that our buyers, which come from all industries, be more efficient. It is necessary that we too be more efficient. ABB employs 135,000 people, 35,000 of which are blue-collar workers, and 100,000 of which are white-collar workers. We have initiated the White Collar Productivity program in order to become faster, more agile, more buyer-oriented... Regarding the sales sector, we invest in the CRM Cloud platform called SalesForce.com, which has been accessed by over 80 countries in which ABB operates.

eKapija: You mentioned the food and drink industries as the next investment destinations. What other areas will you invest in?

- We will focus on the growth in the food and drink industries and, say, the development of microgrids. We have recognized great potential for growth in Africa and less developed parts of the world.

eKapija: Your company has adopted the Next Level strategy. This means systematizing the number of workplaces. In short, it will be possible to centralize the execution of certain tasks. Does this mean that the number of workplaces will be reduced and are you planning layoffs in the Group?

- Our ambition is to increase the number of products and services. We are definitely planning to employ new workers in the coming period, but only along with the optimization of the number of current employees. You know yourself that the market conditions throughout the world are very difficult.

eKapija: What is the solution for overcoming the economic crisis, that is, the market conditions which have been imposed on everyone, including ABB?

- The solution lies in the right balance between the desire for growth and the expenses. It shouldn't be forgotten that we invest large sums of money both in research and development and employee training.

eKapija: One of ABB's key advantages are new technologies. It's no secret that the US President Barack Obama showed interest, at the recently held Hanover fair, in what ABB showed there. How much do you invest in R&D annually?

- Each year, ABB invests over a billion US dollars in various research and development activities. We maintain seven corporate research centers, employ 8,500 scientists and cooperate with 70 universities throughout the world.

In addition to that, each year, the company offers research scholarship programs, through which ABB finances the selected university research programs.

ABB in Serbia

ABB is celebrating 26 years of presence in Serbia this year and, as one of the leading companies in the areas of energy and industrial automation, it helps the buyers to use the electric energy more efficiently, to increase industrial productivity and to reduce the damage to the environment.

ABB Ltd Belgrade is in charge of the whole array of ABB products and systems on the territory of the Republic of Serbia. It also cooperates with local partners and buyers and is in charge of commissioning, servicing and maintaining ABB equipment and systems and user training.

Jelena Djelic

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