The two-day EUMICON Enquete in Vienna on March 15 & 16 focused on the subject of smart mining and production. Herbert Eibensteiner, Member of the Management Board of the voestalpine Group and Head of the voestalpine Steel Division, spoke at the conference about the development of digital innovations and business models.
The European Mineral Resources Confederation (EUMICON) is a platform for the international raw materials industry where business, politics, and science interact. Its focus lies primarily in the extraction, processing, and recycling of mineral resources. In mid-March the two-day conference examined the subject of smart mining and production. Over 120 decision-makers from business, science, and politics met at the EUMICON Enquete 2017 for a series of high-profile lectures and podium discussions. Herbert Eibensteiner, Member of the Management Board and Head of the Steel Division, also attended on March 15 to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with the digital transformation, and the economic framework conditions this transformation requires.
On the path to the digital future
voestalpine set out on the path to the digital future several years ago: Industry 4.0 and digitalization are key issues in the voestalpine Group’s ongoing strategic development. The strength derived from combining material and processing expertise makes voestalpine the innovation and global market leader in numerous industry sectors, including the automotive and white goods industries, the energy sector, aerospace, and railway systems. As well as digitalizing the value chain, one of the Group’s prime areas of concern is to develop digital business models.
"We have to consider issues from the standpoint of the customer when developing digital innovations and business processes."
According to Herbert Eibensteiner, consistent implementation of digitalization includes
- in-house processes (=vertical integration) and
- links to suppliers and customers (=horizontal integration).
It is standard practice to begin by digitalizing in-house processes. Smart production is already standard practice at voestalpine. The next step of digitalizing supplier and customer relationships is also strongly in focus, and this leads to digital business models which secure competitive advantages over the long term. The goal of these activities is to generate benefits for both voestalpine and partner companies. This relies on deliberately adopting a customer perspective as much as the courage to make changes.
Generation of new occupational areas
Digitalization also means the need to extract and analyze “big & good data”. Consequently, the voestalpine Group will need to draw on new skills as well as specialists. New employees such as data scientists and data engineers will play a key role in driving digitalization.