Jürgen Widmann: “The right time for industrial production is now”
Industrial software for the global market:
The software from EVO Informationssysteme GmbH in Durlangen helps industrial companies organize themselves digitally. Managing Director and founder Jürgen Widmann sees huge growth potential in the nearby markets of Central and Eastern Europe.
EVO Informationssysteme wants to make small and medium-sized industrial companies in the EU fit for the future with its internationally designed software modules.
Mr. Widmann, what is your unique selling point in the market for industrial software?
We have been driving the digitization of SMEs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for 25 years now. For this purpose, we deliver turnkey software modules that can be adapted and configured individually to the customer and his industry without programming. The EVO platform offers continuous and expandable digitization from a single source with the perspective of a “smart factory”. No other software manufacturer can currently offer this – without any media disruptions or multiple inputs.
How do you ensure the connectivity of solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises in the age of Industry 4.0?
We help industrial SMEs to exchange data from all machine tools bidirectionally across manufacturers. Our solutions also make it possible for us to simply digitally retrofit older machines. All EVO customers worldwide use the same software solutions at the latest software level. And: Thanks to our large customer base, we can offer our solutions at comparatively low prices.
You have made a significant contribution to a Smart Factory in Schwäbisch Gmünd. What is the concept?
For many companies, the topic of “smart factory” is very abstract after all. It is immensely useful to experience “smart” solutions and automation live for once and to vividly grasp the benefits of end-to-end digitization. In Schwäbisch Gmünd, for example, we have created a realistic, digital world of experience to enable people to try out smart ways of working. And it is also very important for training and continuing education. Tomorrow’s skilled workers want to be digitally on the move. In the Smart Factory, they get an insight into the industrial production of the future.
“Our solutions make it possible for us to digitally retrofit older machines with ease.”
When you started out as a software company, did you already have foreign markets in mind?
Not at the very beginning, of course. We were fully focused on developing a software platform with added value for the German industry and winning customers for it. From 2002, with the first customers in neighboring countries, we then consistently developed our software platform further so that we could use our software internationally. In the process, we took a lot of time to make our internal processes scalable and also took country-specific requirements such as language and currencies into account in our software solutions.
In which international markets are you now active, what are your priorities and why?
Due to the changes in global politics, now is exactly the right time to use our solutions to contribute to more regional production and to become less dependent on Asia here in Europe. Europe still has enormous production capacities and productivity potential that can be tapped more quickly with the help of digitization – and not just in Germany. Our goal cannot be to poach skilled workers from other countries who are then lacking there. We are therefore focusing on countries and regions in Europe that specialize in metal processing and mechanical engineering for a wide range of industries. These include Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
Do you tend to rely on branches of German companies or local suppliers there?
We actually address the SMEs located there, the local suppliers who, for example, supply the German mechanical engineering industry – with turned and milled parts, with customized assemblies in fluid technology. And we address the producers in those countries that have a great tradition in manufacturing technology.
“There is still enormous productivity potential lying dormant in Europe that can be tapped more quickly with the help of digitization – and not just in Germany.”
How do you go about sales: How important are local partners in this?
We sound out the market and look for local partners with whom we aim to establish long-term cooperation. Ideally, these partners are already networked with companies in the manufacturing industry – and ideally, they don’t come from the software world, but sell machines, tools, and automation technology or advise companies on digitization and process optimization.
Many software companies are setting up development sites in Eastern Europe. How does EVO do that?
We develop our solutions exclusively at our site in Baden-Württemberg. Here, with our dual training system and our universities, we have the best conditions for finding new and truly qualified employees. Our software is developed with Swabian inventive and tinkering spirit – with a lot of know-how, practical knowledge, and also a very modern and high-quality user interface. Our demands on software and usability are very high. Our customers also appreciate this. In software development, we do not pay attention to development costs and do not make experiments to save costs. We often go other ways to achieve better results and solutions. Imitating others is not in our nature. We lead the way!
“We only develop in Baden-Württemberg. Here, with our dual training system and our universities, we have the best conditions for getting new and truly qualified employees.”
Experience Industry 4.0 live
The Smart Factory in Schwäbisch Gmünd helps companies and talents better understand the potential of data solutions for the production of the future.