Exhibitor Spotlight: Uwe Scharfy, Chief Executive Officer, Bäumer of America
In our latest exhibitor spotlight, we had the opportunity to catch up with Uwe Scharfy, Chief Executive Officer of Bäumer of America to discuss the company's state-of-the-art approach to technology, industry trends that they are currently facing and his hopes for future customer relations made at Foam Expo Europe 2019.
Uwe Scharfy is the Chief Executive Officer of Bäumer of America. He has been employed and lived in the United States for the past 21 years. Starting his career with the Georg Company 23 years ago, he has worked in many different places throughout the United States and China. He has gained his experience in the manufacturing industry as General Manager, Vice President of Sales & Finance, Chief Financial Officer and now Chief Executive Officer.
Please tell us about your current role. What are your key focus areas and responsibilities?
As Chief Executive Office of Bäumer of America, one of my focuses is to increase the retrofit capabilities of the North American operation along with the assembly of new contour cutting machines also done in New Jersey. This will help to increase our presence in the United States of America.
What inspired you to join this company?
I definitely wanted to embark on the next step in my career by becoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in a family-owned business. Structures are flat and decisions are made quickly in this type of company. Everyone knows each other and people are not just numbers like they are in a large corporation. I quickly became part of the ‘family’. The sense of community here is palpable. This is important for me and was something I immediately liked about Bäumer. Another bonus of my decision to join Bäumer is the healthy balance between years of experience, creativity and dynamics. These are good prerequisites for innovative growth in the future. At the same time, I also feel the responsibility that comes with the new position. After all, as a subsidiary, Bäumer of America is one of the largest and most important markets for the foam industry.
What do you think sets your company apart from your competitors?
At Bäumer we take the time to understand our customers’ visions for their companies. We work closely with them to discover their individual needs in their manufacturing processes. Our equipment and software offerings are state-of-the-art technology, which helps our customers manufacture efficiently and profitably.
What are the key opportunities and challenges your company faces at present?
Labor is getting more and more expensive and it is difficult to find dedicated and qualified employees. This is a challenge for every business in America. However, it is also an opportunity for Bäumer to automate our customers’ manufacturing plants.
Are there any new technology developments that you are working on at the moment? Can you tell us about them?
B+ Connect: This is a step toward Industry 4.0. It is a service tool for troubleshooting, maintenance, documentation and parts purchasing along with being a monitoring and management tool. This will eliminate costly service visits when a customer faces machine downtime.
B+ Focus: Not only the production and maintenance staff but also the product manager and management must keep an eye on the machines, plants and production in real time. The preparation of key figures creates a rapid overview of daily business and facilitates control – wherever and whenever necessary, via smartphone, tablet or laptop.
The current condition of the machines can be optimally monitored and visualized. The capacity and efficiency of the machines are shown as well as the complete picture of all machines on an international level in all locations in Germany and abroad.
B+ Support: Customers with a problem can now be helped even more quickly. The machine operator uses B+ Support to send a service message manually or, as an alternative in certain pre-defined cases, the machine triggers an alarm independently. Both reach Bäumer Service immediately.
The specialists at Bäumer are connected directly with the customer, either to provide a service or to defuse a critical situation. For example, the settings in the machine control can be checked by means of remote maintenance, and problems can be remedied online. Customers can also chat with the Bäumer specialists or hold a webcam conference. If the machine operator puts on his head-mounted display, the Bäumer specialist is able to see exactly what the machine operator sees and can look ‘directly into the machine’. This means that on-the-spot support rules out any misunderstanding when describing the defects orally, faults can be identified and qualified solutions quickly found.
B+ Maintain: Maintaining and servicing machinery is now even easier. All of the maintenance activities required are sent directly to the operator via a role concept (access control) or registered with the central maintenance department. The customer has a constant overview of which activities are due at a certain time or perhaps are already overdue. Each item of maintenance work is documented and can be tracked at all times. Instructions are displayed for certain maintenance jobs so that the operator not only sees what he must do, but also how he must do it – without having to leaf through any documentation.
B+ Shop: Relevant parts can be procured automatically at the touch of a button. The Customer Cockpit easily recognizes worn parts and spare parts, which can then be ordered directly. The B+ Shop can be used via a role concept at different levels with various rights in the ordering system. Orders can be placed directly at the machine or centrally in the Procurement department.
In addition, we have developed Bäumer Cube and Sophie, which are software solutions for our customers. For more detailed information please visit us at Booth 1410.
What would you say most excites you about your role?
Bäumer has a wide range of machinery, and the technical complexity is challenging. There is always a flow of new obstacles for a constantly changing environment. It is great to see how many customers are Bäumer fans to the core. They value the premium product and absolutely want a Bäumer machine, made in Germany, in their workshop.
How do you think the industry will develop within the next five years? Can you tell us about the key trends emerging?
The North American economy will continue to grow under the current administration. The government is putting pro-business policies in place. Machine builders have to be flexible and fast acting to meet their customers’ demands. Bäumer is not just an equipment manufacturer; Bäumer is an integrator that helps customers find their optimum solutions for the manufacturing processes. Building good-quality equipment is not enough in today’s environment; integrating with Industry 4.0 is crucial for every equipment manufacturer in the industry to optimize success for their customers.
What do you hope to achieve at the show next year, and what connections do you hope to make?
I think that the show will be a great success for all exhibitors. Foam Expo in North America has seen good growth and great potential for future growth in the years to come. The show is a great platform for Bäumer to meet with existing customers and build relationships with future customers.
Baumer of America will be exhibiting at Foam Expo North America 2019 in Booth 1410