Restructuring at Siemens Business Communication Systems in Shanghai and Beijing

Challenge

Siemens Business Communication Systems was looking for a Managing Director who could take over the management of the Chinese sales company on an interim basis, at very short notice. The restructuring of the China business and the reorganization of in particular the sales structures had to take place within the space of just a few months. The goal was to gain market share and significantly increase sales.

Success

Globalise stopped the downward trend, rebuilt the sales structures and generated significant cost savings at Siemens Business Communication Systems in China, with forward-looking strategy concepts.

Interview with
Thomas Koegler
Head of HR at Siemens Enterprise Communications

Thomas Koegler, Head of HR at Siemens Enterprise Communications

Thomas Koegler, Head of HR at Siemens Enterprise Communications

After holding various positions in the HR division at Siemens, Thomas Koegler has been the global head of HR at Siemens Enterprise Communications since 2007. In a more than 25-year career, he has gathered a wide range of experience in various management functions, such as in R&D, project management, marketing, sales and HR.

“We couldn’t yet say exactly what the job description of the national boss of our China subsidiary would look like in detail, so the extremely flexible interim management contract was perfect for our needs.”

Why did you call on the services of an interim manager?

In the situation in which we decided to use an interim manager, two things were of decisive importance for us: speed and flexibility. The Globalise manager had many years of experience working as CEO of a Chinese company and knew how to restructure one.

What challenges had to be met?

The main task was to build up the sales channels as quickly as possible. In order to be able to get our global products onto the Chinese market, he first had to find out what the best sales channels would be. He also had to quickly make the right strategic decisions. The planned reorganization of the company was to be completed within three months.

How did the Globalise manager proceed?

He first gained an overview of the main problems at Siemens Business Communications. For that he held one-on-one interviews with the staff and came across factors that were critical for success: firstly, he exposed a target conflict between the sales and service divisions. Instead of working hand-in-hand, these two divisions were working against each other. It then became apparent that the sales channels weren’t structured ideally, and thirdly he recognized that the incentive and remuneration systems were wrong.

“The Globalise manager showed enormous commitment: from one day to the next he had to reorganize his private life, move to Shanghai and then get things moving there right away.”

How did the interim manager accomplish the goals?

Without further ado, he grouped sales and service together. Then he pushed the expansion of the sales network forward and focused on opening up new sales channels. Then he changed and simplified the remuneration system to an extent that all the sales employees immediately understood their earnings options.

What successes was the Globalise manager able to generate?

The five-month time scale was too short for a significant increase in market share. That is simply impossible in a market like China, which has a volume of around €500 million. But he did succeed in stopping the downward trend very quickly, and in turning it into an upward one. He also accomplished significant cost savings. The company was well set up for the future by the time he was done.

“The Globalise manager uncovered considerable internal frictions that led to our performance potential being far from fully exploited.”

Restructuring at Siemens Business Communication Systems in Shanghai and Beijing

“Our experience with Globalise has been excellent. In addition to the interim CEO, we currently have two further Globalise managers working for us.”

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