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Global competition? Good!

Global competition? Good!

"A global growth market is out there for our industry," says Krubasik.

Design News: What makes you believe industrial production has a promising future?

Krubasik: A major stimulus for growth within the industrial customer sector is the trend toward incorporating information technology and microelectronics in industrial equipment, systems, and plants. We are creating ever more intelligent production methods, and steadily improving man-machine interaction by optimizing interfaces between operators and automation systems. In addition, the classical hardware business is increasingly being complemented with software and industrial services, which are demanded by customers as part of a complete one-source package.

Q: And new global markets?

A: We should realize that three-quarters of the world's future industrial countries are only poised at the threshold of industrialization: Asian countries are rapidly building up their industrial infrastructures after making great progress in expanding their basic energy, telecommunications, and transportation infrastructures; Latin America is speeding up efforts to rejuvenate its aged industrial base and replace it in part with modern plants; while Central and Eastern Europe, even though presently handicapped by lack of sufficient financial resources, will completely renew its industrial base over the medium term.

Q: What are the prospects for European suppliers with regard to these emerging markets?

A: European suppliers will be able to grow in all of these markets. The role of Europe should be to help newly industrializing countries build up their industrial base and renew their industrial infrastructures by offering special know-how and high-tech solutions. As industry spreads throughout the world, European suppliers will obviously need to expand local value-added. This, in turn, will have a positive effect on jobs in our home markets. At Siemens, we have seen that every three jobs created in the growth region of Asia secures an additional job here in Germany.

Q: How can European companies assure they are an attractive partner in building up the industrial base of newly developing countries, yet keep a step ahead of new competitors in their own market?

A: Quite naturally, new competition is emerging in these growth regions. We shouldn't fear this development, but keep ahead of global competition through productivity and innovation. Good examples for German industry leading successfully in the face of emerging foreign competition can be seen in autos and telecommunications.

Q: What are your thoughts regarding productivity?

A: The effects of higher productivity can be quite positive for employment in the long term. Industries and countries with the higher productivity and biggest productivity gains also create the most jobs. It is obvious that a high labor cost country like ours can only survive with top productivity. Our own suppliers also face this fact of life: they must keep in step with our own efforts to boost productivity at Siemens.

Q: What about innovation?

A: The various worlds of industrial technology are gradually merging: Mechanical systems are being replaced by microelectronics; decentralized automation concepts are supplanting previously isolated solutions by providing open controls with open industrial communications systems based on high-performance bus systems; and information/communication systems are changing processes in plants and industrial production. Furthermore, technical services are enjoying a booming market and customers increasingly prefer turnkey solutions. Our innovations are being focused to ensure that all industrial products from Siemens--ranging from switchgear and drives, to automation, instrumentation, and monitoring equipment--are part of an integrated automation system world.

Q: What does this mean for Siemens?

A: Customers enjoy productivity gains of around 50 percent with the unification of engineering interfaces in all production processes, from project management to diagnosis. Here at Siemens, we are creating ever more intelligent production methods, and steadily improving man-machine interaction by optimizing interfaces between operators and automation systems. Prospects for Siemens and our industry in general are excellent.

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