Frank R. Keller, CEO of elumatec AG since June 2019, spoke to 360° about his first few months in the role and discussed our products, processes and projects. A technical draughtsman and electrical engineer by training, he has gained considerable toplevel management expertise from previous positions both in Germany and abroad.
At elumatec he is looking to make tangible improvements, and his perspective is consistently future-oriented: “We must be able to say that we are Number One in the market – both today and tomorrow.”
Mr Keller, in your inaugural speech you described elumatec as a strong brand that has a bright future ahead of it.
What is your strategy for securing this future?
elumatec has indeed established a unique market position for itself. We enjoy a high level of trust from our customers thanks to our history and the personal relationships we have cultivated – when talking to customers I keep finding that they identify with our products and feel an emotional connection to them. They are our partners, and we have to make the most of this advantage to ensure that elumatec remains fit for the future.
“Fit for the future” – that sounds like you have big plans.
Yes, and we really see these plans as a continuous process, but this time we are ramping up the intensity. In the years to come, this will strengthen elumatec across the board: in our products, in our internal processes and in how we are perceived by people around the world. Firstly, we have implemented a “fitness regime” for our production to slim down and accelerate our workflows, which will significantly boost our efficiency and quality by the end of 2020. At the same time, we are of course working on our products across all segments so that we remain a leader when it comes to innovation. And a pioneering software project is also imminent: in 2020 the Voilàp group will introduce SAP HANA, a system which will provide the best possible support for our business processes at elumatec. Overall, I am extremely optimistic. If we embrace the opportunities resulting from the technological progress we are making and the digital transformation we are undergoing, I believe we can elevate ourselves even further above the level of our competitors.
Is this even necessary? elumatec is after all a global market leader in so many areas.
If you look at our 6xx series, for instance, it’s clear that we produce market-leading machines. We supply high-quality products at a price that represents excellent value for money when you factor in the overall package: top-calibre products, unbeatable customer service, quick delivery of spare parts, and software with digital added value. But we can only keep doing this if we keep evolving and make improvements that give our customers genuine added value.
Speaking of software, what role does elusoft have to play in our future strategy?
A crucial one, particularly when combined with the elumatec software developers. We have put ourselves in a strong position with regard to digital technology thanks to elusoft and our eluCad software, and from day one the new eluCloud will help our customers measure, control and optimise the efficiency of their elumatec machines.
The eluCloud product range gives our customers the powerful tool they have been asking for: orders can progress quickly through production, they can be planned with much greater precision, and deadlines can be met. eluCloud allows deviations from the desired production flow to be detected quickly and helps users structure the troubleshooting and error analysis process. Our task now is to get this message across to the market.
How do you assess elumatec’s international position?
We’re planning for the future in this respect too. elumatec already generates 80 per cent of its turnover outside of Germany, so the foundations are in place for further success. And we have plans to expand: in Spain we will restructure the business in 2020, and in Mexico we are embarking on a pilot project alongside Voilàp to establish a shared service area. This has the aim of creating and enhancing synergies within the group, which will make us considerably more efficient.
People say that your appointment as CEO has strengthened elumatec as a company.
I see myself as a member of the team. My job is to create the best possible conditions for our employees, who put their heart and soul into driving elumatec forward every day. We have to take responsibility for our actions, enjoy the work we do together and inspire our customers with what we do for them. I have travelled a lot during my career, and the long periods of time I have spent in other countries have benefited me enormously – I view businesses from both a German and an international perspective, which can help me provide key input.
Do you have any final thoughts?
I would like to emphasise that I feel at home here, and that it brings me great joy every day to help elumatec move forward as a company. I sometimes say in jest that this will be my masterpiece. Although we have been successful around the world for a great many years, our perspective will always be focused on new markets and new technologies. It is thanks to the strength of our parent company, the Voilàp group, with all the benefits it entails for our customers and our employees, that we can seize these opportunities. We always were Number One, and right now we are Number One. That will always be how we see ourselves, and our customers see us that way too: elumatec, the company that sets the standard in the industry. I am fully committed to upholding our proud traditions.