The Digital Supply Chain podcast

Hardware partnerships and Industry 4.0 - a chat with Kuka's Christian Liedtke, and SAP's Alex Altermann

June 25, 2021 Tom Raftery / Christian Liedtke / Alex Altermann Season 1 Episode 142
The Digital Supply Chain podcast
Hardware partnerships and Industry 4.0 - a chat with Kuka's Christian Liedtke, and SAP's Alex Altermann
Chapters
The Digital Supply Chain podcast
Hardware partnerships and Industry 4.0 - a chat with Kuka's Christian Liedtke, and SAP's Alex Altermann
Jun 25, 2021 Season 1 Episode 142
Tom Raftery / Christian Liedtke / Alex Altermann

In this the sixth episode of the Industry 4.0 on Fridays series I invited one of our hardware partners, Kuka, to come on the podcast to discuss the close partnership SAP has with Kuka, and the reasons why these kinds of partnerships are required for successful Industry 4.0 projects.

From Kuka we had Christian Liedtke, and to talk about the SAP side of the partnership we had Alex Altermann once more.

We had an excellent conversation and, as is often the case, I learned loads, I hope you do too...

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to leave me a voice message over on my SpeakPipe page or just send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

To learn more about how Industry 4.0 technologies can help your organisation read the 2020 global research study 'The Power of change from Industry 4.0 in manufacturing' (https://www.sap.com/cmp/dg/industry4-manufacturing/index.html)

And if you want to know more about any of SAP's Digital Supply Chain solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/digitalsupplychain and if you liked this show, please don't forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover it. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

I'll be speaking on the sustainability imperative together with my colleague Toby Croucher at the SAP Digital Supply Chain Live conference this September 28-29th. 

You can register now at www.tacevents.com/sapdsc or get in touch with the team at TAC Events for further information on info@tacook.com.

Show Notes Transcript

In this the sixth episode of the Industry 4.0 on Fridays series I invited one of our hardware partners, Kuka, to come on the podcast to discuss the close partnership SAP has with Kuka, and the reasons why these kinds of partnerships are required for successful Industry 4.0 projects.

From Kuka we had Christian Liedtke, and to talk about the SAP side of the partnership we had Alex Altermann once more.

We had an excellent conversation and, as is often the case, I learned loads, I hope you do too...

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to leave me a voice message over on my SpeakPipe page or just send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

To learn more about how Industry 4.0 technologies can help your organisation read the 2020 global research study 'The Power of change from Industry 4.0 in manufacturing' (https://www.sap.com/cmp/dg/industry4-manufacturing/index.html)

And if you want to know more about any of SAP's Digital Supply Chain solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/digitalsupplychain and if you liked this show, please don't forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover it. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

I'll be speaking on the sustainability imperative together with my colleague Toby Croucher at the SAP Digital Supply Chain Live conference this September 28-29th. 

You can register now at www.tacevents.com/sapdsc or get in touch with the team at TAC Events for further information on info@tacook.com.

Dr Christian Liedtke:

We all have the same customers. So why shouldn't two big companies like SAP and Kuka work together before we go to the customer, it is not the customer that has to bring us together. And in doing this, we are trying to combine IT and OT expertise. So Information Technology, operations, technology. That's simply it.

Tom Raftery:

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening wherever you are in the world. This is the digital supply chain podcast, the number one podcast focusing on the digitization of supply chain. And I'm your host, global Vice President at SAP. Tom Raftery. Hi, everyone. Welcome to the digital supply chain podcast. My name is Tom Raftery with SAP and with me on the show today I have my two special guests, Alex and Christian, Alex and Christian, would you like to introduce yourselves with maybe Christian going first thing is you're the guest. Okay, well,

Dr Christian Liedtke:

thank you very much, Tom. My name is Christian Liedtke. I'm am with Kuka. Since four years now Kuka you know what the company was orange robots at all we have to know about us. And we've been in the industry for at all business for quite some time. And I took this journey with with Kuka and add Kuka. I'm responsible for our strategic alliances. So that's why we are very closely working together with SAP in various formats. So thanks for having me here.

Tom Raftery:

And thank you for coming on the podcast. And Alex coming Welcome back. And for people who missed your debut, would you like to explain who you are?

Alex Altermann:

Yes, of course. Thank you, Tom, for having us here today on this podcast. My name is Alex altia. Man, I'm working for strategic partnerships of industry forded or at SAP. I'm at SAP for around four years now. Working several departments always related to industry product. Oh, and working closely together with Kristian of cookers, I think around over two years now.

Tom Raftery:

Fantastic. Fantastic. And we're here to talk about industry for Dotto and I mean, this industry for Dotto thing we've been talking about it for over a decade. No? Why isn't it everywhere? I mean, we started talking about cloud seriously 10 years ago, and that's pretty much everywhere now what's what's what's the deal with industry for Dotto? Why is it going so much more slowly?

Alex Altermann:

So let me start with that, from my opinion in the beginning of industry for that all companies were focusing on their selves. So as you said, happy birthday industry for that always around 10 years old now. So in the beginning, everyone tried to get their benefits out of it. But what we saw is that industry for that or does not work for one company alone. So from SAP perspective, it's not only software industry, for all means that many different parties need to work together in a sufficient way. machines and various other assets need to be connected to have a broad view on the whole production. And many productions are heterogeneous. So the hardware might communicate in a different way. There are many different hardwares many different machines, many different assets, two worlds, everything communicates in different ways. And some might be new and might be connected already by our open standards, or, in general connected to a network. And some machines might be old. So they are not set out of the production just because they're old if they are still running, and they need further support here with IoT and gateways and edge, those are the words you have to think about. And by connecting them you get data out of those machines and assets. And first, you need to store this data. And you have to make it available for other systems as well. So you need a platform or a storage where the data can be stored. And then you need the connection to further systems. And nowadays, many of them are in the cloud, for example. And those systems then need to optimize the processes, or analyze the data to see what is going on on the shop floor. So we see that many different companies with different competencies are needed. So we need the platform providers, we need startups with really niche products, we need standard organizations we can refer to. And in the end, what we need to see is that the hardware providers are the heart of any industry. So machines, wind, energy, transportation, you always need hardware. And we want to bring that together operational technology and information technology. And one perfect example of for such a hardware provider is Kuka.

Tom Raftery:

Nice. And just coming back to the how far away far are we from industry for that? Oh, Being ubiquitous. I mean, we in SAP, say it, we call it industry for now, because we say you should be going there. No. Is that what's happening?

Alex Altermann:

Yes, industry for that now is our slogan today, because now is the time to really implement industry for that or so we have all this experiences made over the last years. And we now see what we have to do to really implement industry for that or at our customers.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, Christian? Why is Kuka involved with SAP in all this?

Dr Christian Liedtke:

Well, that's a good question. I mean, we are two large market players, each one in his own environment, you know, his IP is a big IT company. I mean, you have the MRP system of the world. And same is true for Kuka. Just on a smaller scale. I mean, we are the leading, or technology and innovations leading provider of robots, and we especially big on in the automotive market. And bringing those two together simply makes sense. I mean, Kuka, of course, tried to get larger in the IT business. But that's not our core. And the same is true for for SAP. I mean, would you buy a robot control system by SRP? Probably not. So if everybody sticks to his core competency, and to combine those, it makes things a lot easier. I mean, coming back to the question, why is industry followed or not implemented so far, it's simply because it's very complex. So everybody has to stick to its own tasks. And we just need to work together to make those things come alive. And I mean, this is talking about reliability and trust, of course, it's a very complex thing. All individual parts have been established, but you have to bring them together. And those should be actually performed by the by the key players in this market. And of course, there are many more side of us. And with some of them, we are working together with others, we might not work together so far. But this is something that will happen in the future to bring industry forward or to live. And in the past, we've worked together in many projects. I mean, we have common customers, customers who are very important to our companies. We've worked with them individually. And now we're trying to work together with them, whether they are in automotive, electronics, or in the general industry, consumer goods, medical goods, whatever, we all have the same customer. So why shouldn't two big companies like sa P and Kuka worked together before we go to the customer, it is not the customer that has to bring us together. And in doing this, we are trying to combine it and ot expertise. So Information Technology, operations, technology. That's simply it.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, nice. And what have we done together so far? What have we achieved?

Alex Altermann:

Okay, let me start with this again, before I hand over to Kirsten. So one topic we define so far is the whole business transformation topic we see. So doing everything in a digital way. Kuka knows best about the robots, we know that the companies are not only focusing on one equipment. So if you're looking at the automotive industry, Kuka robots are just one part of a big production line. And so we see together, that those companies need the transparency and optimization for this whole production line, all the assets that are running them. And Kuka has a special expertise, knowing about the robots and how they are running. And SAP and Kuka are working together on scenarios to improve how several machines can work together automatically. So on the one hand, getting the best out of the Kuka robots, and using this specific expertise, but also having insights of the whole system of assets that are used at a customer's production. So everything in one system to gain the best benefits out of for the customer here. Nice and Christian.

Dr Christian Liedtke:

Well, another good example is actually the the outcome based business. So people use for example, this is actually the role model for for Kuka and sap working together. I mean, of course, if you have a robot currently, no one is really doing paper use with robot. But if you have a robot, of course, we know best how the process is running, what data you actually need to determine the usage of a robot. Yeah, processes around it like like service intervals, and, and all those kinds of things that will fit into some kind of paper use contract. On the other hand, you wouldn't actually buy such a thing from from someone like Kuka would you give you your bank account number to Kuka to to have a robot charge, your credit card or whatever to actually get paid? Probably not. But SAP has all this in place. I mean, you have your earpiece system and it's well established. You have blockchain technology and everything behind it. Of course, others can use as well. But you are the trusted partner for that as cool as SAP sorry. And to combine those two streamings, we can set up a totally different, a totally new business model that could actually work is trusted by customers. And from there, we can actually take the business and then started.

Tom Raftery:

If people are interested to know more, and they want to embark on an industry for DOD or project, what do you think their first initial steps should be?

Dr Christian Liedtke:

Well, the very first step is actually to get started, start a project and take it from there, get in touch with with others, because industry photo is something that you don't do in solitary in your backyard or in your garage or someone's house. It's something you do together with other partners. So team up with others could be Kuka, and sap could be others as well. There are so many providers of good sources of good software of good machines that are all capable of doing industry photo, but you have to get started from someone, you have to take the trust that even if you don't see the finish line that you will get there and simply start a project to take it from there. And yeah, good results are going to come.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. And Alex, anything to add to that?

Alex Altermann:

No, I can just underline what Christian already said. So there are many people. So we know we have a big ecosystem have many partners we are working together with because we know that you need many different players to make industry for that Oh, real at our customers. So yeah, just start to do industry for that, oh, implement projects. And then we will see what the benefits are for you here. Okay, we're

Tom Raftery:

coming towards the end of the podcast. Now, Christian. And Alex, is there any topic we've not addressed that you think it's important for people to be aware of any question I've not asked you that you think we should talk about?

Dr Christian Liedtke:

Well, to be honest, I just have one more point to stress, the importance of this partnership. You know, we've done a lot of industry followed, oh, everybody has done this pilot and so on. But in the end, if you want to get it working, there's one specific task that everybody has to fulfill, you have to bring your information from the shop floor, actually, to the earpiece system. And this can only be done by such a partnership.

Alex Altermann:

Yeah. And what I can add here is what I think is really essential about industry for that. Oh, so we are we were talking about the different players here about partnerships. We have to implement real industry for that all cases to see what are the benefits to see how we need to work together. As you already asked Tom industry for now is our slogan, and now is the time to really implement it. And we are really happy to discuss different scenarios also together Kuka and sap together with other different players in industry product or with customers with potential other partners. We are working together in the open industry for that oh Alliance, which is a multilateral partnership open to everyone in the market who is related to industry product or so I can just encourage everyone out there to implement industry product or to spread the word to have a talk with us. And to get that really on the road. Okay,

Tom Raftery:

if people want to know more about Christian about Alex about Kuka. Hopefully they already know a little bit about SAP, where would you have me direct them?

Alex Altermann:

Well, I will share with you my LinkedIn account, Tom. So people are free to just contact me via LinkedIn. And what could be worthful as well is I will share a link to our experience where you can have a real virtual experience of industry for that Oh, and See also our ecosystem and the partnerships we are driving here, I will send you the link.

Tom Raftery:

Perfect. Thank you, Alex and Christian.

Dr Christian Liedtke:

I will do the same I will share my LinkedIn profile with you. And of course everybody can visit us on kuca.com and see what Kuka's doing. Brilliant.

Tom Raftery:

Christian, Alex. Fantastic. That's been great. Thanks, man for coming on the podcast today.

Alex Altermann:

Thank you for having us, Tom. Thanks for being here.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about digital supply chains, head on over to sa p.com slash digital supply chain or, or simply drop me an email to Tom raftery@sap.com. If you'd like to show, please don't forget to subscribe to it and your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.