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Siemens hits UK sales target two years early

01 October, 2000

Siemens hits UK sales target two years early

Siemens` UK Automation and Drives business boosted its sales by 20% in the year to September and, according to its new managing director Ulli Schliefer, will hit its medium-term sales target next year, two years ahead of schedule. Schliefer is now hoping to lift the company`s share of the UK market from around 4% to at least 10% by 2003, potentially putting Siemens in a market-leading position.

Schliefer attributes the sales growth in a "tough" market to a combination of the increased expenditure on training in the UK, and the continuing globalisation of the Siemens business. In the past year, Siemens has invested heavily in training for staff, distributors and customers, and Schliefer is determined to continue this spending.

"The success has justified the millions spent," he says, adding that "this wasn`t a one-off investment". He believes that the expenditure will help to differentiate Siemens from other automation and drives suppliers.

Schliefer, who has been with Siemens for 40 years, has succeeded Graham Phillips who is now managing director of Siemens Industrial Products and Systems.

Schliefer argues that the UK operation has benefited from the increasingly global nature of Siemens` operations - with more than 75% of its business now being done outside Germany and 40% outside Europe. "More and more machine builders, and their customers, are demanding global products support," he says. "Siemens is well placed to provide this, with representation in 190 countries."

Another area where Siemens is making large investments is in e-commerce. All of Siemens` main UK distributors (and several smaller distributors) are already trading with the company through EDI (electronic data interchange), with more than 1,200 invoices being processed electronically each month.

The company hopes that 60% of its orders will be processed electronically by the end of the year, cutting its procurement and operations costs. "We can save up to 75% of our internal order processing costs," reports Jurgen Maier, the company`s UK e-business manager.

A recent development in the UK has been the introduction of an on-line ordering system called SmartTrader which gives access to 35,000 A&D products. The system, which went live in August, is already being used by five major customers and is generating 11% of Siemens EDI orders.

Globally, Siemens` Automation and Drives operation already has more than 20,000 Web pages but Maier admits there is inconsistency between the company`s different Web sites. "We need to create a common look and feel," he concedes. This is one aim of a Global Centre of eExcellence recently established in Berlin.

Maier reports that a team of 80 people across the globe will be working to create a common look for the Siemens sites over the coming two to three years.

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