Mr. Alfred Lee joins Schaeffler as President Industrial Asia Pacific, bringing nearly 30 years of experience in the process and automation industries. Alfred will be in charge of the company's expansion across several industrial sectors in the Asia Pacific area, including two-wheelers, off-road, rail, aerospace, raw materials, industrial automation, and power transmission.
1. How do you see this industry in motion evolving in the next 5-10 years?
We see strong development in the wind sector, and we expect this growth to continue with the increased demand for renewables as part of the energy mix. Additionally, countries in Asia Pacific are becoming development hubs for the wind industry. For instance, India is now a favorable investment destination as it gains traction in the sector. Similarly, countries like Japan, Korea and Vietnam have also announced plans to install new wind energy farms by 2030. Schaeffler is well-positioned to leverage these opportunities due to our system understanding and a wide portfolio of bearing solutions and condition monitoring systems for the wind industry. In addition, our preload measurement system for wind systems, PREMESY, won the Smart Technology Innovation of the Year at the ASEAN Wind Future Awards 2021.
2. How would you define innovation in your field?
Innovation for us includes having forward-looking collaboration with our customers. Through close collaboration and cooperation, we can develop and offer new, holistic solutions tailored to address specific customer requirements and needs.
3. What are some of the achievements you’re most proud of in your career thus far?
What I value most as a leader are people, strategy, and growth. In these aspects, I am proud to build a strong and performing team and developa comprehensive short-term and long-term strategy that acts as a road map to double the business in 5 years.
4. What are the top three priorities you want to set for yourself this year?
The first would be growth. We saw strong business growth in 2021and are putting plans to continue the strong growth in 2022.
The second is our focus on Industry 4.0. We will scale our existing Industry 4.0 product portfolio to expand our Industry 4.0 competence. Globally we have partnered with leading industry leaders and companies to build a network of innovation and excellence in developing digitalization and industry4.0 solutions. This includes drive train 4.0, machine tool 4.0, comprehensive condition monitoring solutions and predictive maintenance for wind power. We will also continue to expand our award-winning condition monitoring system OPTIME in the region.
The third is to enhance our localisation strategy. As a global company with a local presence worldwide, we work closely with our customers to develop solutions that fulfil their unique requirements and needs at the local level. To further refine our competitive edge, we are strengthening our regional manufacturing footprint and expanding our local development to improve our service level to our customers in Asia Pacific.
5. How do you anticipate the global economic outlook impacting your industry?
Supply chain disruptions, the global chip shortage, and port bottlenecks are some of the challenges that will continue to create headwinds in the next few quarters. Likewise, we expect the high inflation for raw materials prices will lead to a profit squeeze in the industry. Therefore, we are taking a cautious and calibrated approach towards the entire value chain by working with our customers to develop creative and collaborative solutions in overcoming these challenges.
6. Which industries are expected to grow in the coming years?
Industrial automation looks to benefit from the ongoing demand for semiconductors. We are also starting to seethe growing adoption of robotics and industry 4.0 technologies which are significant trends driving growth in this sector. In light of this, we are scaling our existing Industry 4.0 product portfolio and working closely with our customers in developing value-added digitalized systems and solutions. We recently started the rollout of our award-winning condition monitoring system OPTIME in the region. On that same note, the increased demand for clean energy such as wind, solar, and hydrogen provides further growth opportunities.
7. What are the top three technologies in Schaeffler you think will have a huge impact in the next five years?
Hydrogen offers significant potential as green energy of the future. At Schaeffler, we are investing in developing stack technology for electrolysers in producing green hydrogen.
We see robotics as another area that will make an impact. Robots are now designed to become smaller in size, with lighter weight and incorporating more sensors to be more human and make intelligent and accurate decisions. This will drive the growth in collaborative robots (cobots). As the leading supplier for high-quality and performance components and systems for robots, Schaeffler is well positioned for this growth.
In addition, Industrial 4.0 technologies will play a huge role. As factories and plants become smarter, more machines and processes can be monitored using intelligent data analytics, contributing to predictive maintenance. We will continue to expand our portfolio of condition monitoring products that can be connected to a cloud-based system to enable remote monitoring, thereby reducing the need for manual or physical monitoring.
8. What do you believe is Schaeffler’s biggest competitive advantage?
As the preferred technology partner for our customers, we combine our comprehensive system understanding, which we have built from close partnerships with our customers, and our manufacturing expertise to develop innovative components, systems, and services that meet our customer’s needs. Additionally, as a global company with a local presence in over 40 locations in the Asia Pacific region, we can quickly respond to local challenges that confront customers in the region.
9. How do you think Schaeffler will change in the next 5 years?
Schaeffler as the preferred technology partner for the automotive and industrial sectors, we are continuously developing as a company to become even more innovative, agile, and efficient while putting our customers at the center of what we do.
The next five years are pivotal for us as we look to expand our growth initiatives in five key focus areas:CO2-efficient drives, Chassis Applications, Industrial Machinery &Equipment, Renewable Energy, and Aftermarket Solutions & Services. This will enable us to continuously develop and deliver innovative and intelligent components, systems, and services that allow sustainable mobility and motion.