© ASM Assembly Systems Electronics Production | May 03, 2011

Siplace: What's it like to be part of an Asian company?

It's slightly more than 3 months since Siemens Siplace officially became ASM Assembly Systems. Journalists – being the nosey kind of people – tend to ask an awful lot of questions. We're no different. So! What's it like?
You hear an awful lot about Asian business tactics when it comes to Europe and European companies. Pocket knives, butcher's knives, machetes ... basically any sharp object seems to be an important tool and essential part of business. If you go with the rumours that is.

So we were quite curious to see what Siplace and ASMPT were 'up to' during the past 3 months.

Munich is actually brimming with excitement and enthusiasm. Synergies, teamwork, innovation – all words that are bussing around the place non-stop. It is spring to be sure, but that cannot be it.

Meeting a reserved and friendly Asian who holds a passionate speech about the acquisition, future plans and his iPad makes you also wonder when the knives will come out. There aren't any; I can tell you as much already.

• So Mr Lee, why Siplace?

Siplace has an excellent brand reputation and ASMPT had the opportunity to buy a global team set-up, whose performance could be observed for more than a year. Furthermore, the restructuring has already been completed. What is left are concerns about external material costs. All considered, Siplace represents a strategic growth opportunity for ASMPT.

If we successfully bring down external costs we will not only improve profitability, but also increase our market share. A number of projects are already on the way. I think we are progressing well, although it might be some time before we see actual results with some of those projects. You cannot change things over night.

The engineers have readily embraced the changes and promising prototypes are testimony to a successful cooperation. “We have the first prototypes, we are testing them and the results are really promising. Furthermore, we want to make sure that the quality remains at the high level that people associate with the name Siplace. Here, we will have no changes. We will not compromise on quality”, adds Mr Günter Lauber.

• What does that mean for the Munich location and its staff?

The production strategy will not change materially. The facility in Munich will remain the main production site. The Siplace site in Singapore – the Siplace Assembly Center Asia – will continue to house the production for the Siplace D-series.

It makes no sense to produce machines for the European market in Asia. The lower production costs would be 'eaten up' by shipping costs. Vice versa – the same applies. We will leverage the capacities we have to full advantage.

Furthermore, Munich will be the main Siplace development site and its R&D team the 'launch pad' for new machine platforms and modules. The long-term vision for Munich is to become the European ASM R&D centre.

But! Words are cheap and we wanted to have a closer look. The production perhaps? Sure, no problem.

People here, people there, people everywhere. The place looked very busy. “The production is full speed. The order book is packed to maximum. In fact, there is so much to do that temporary workers were offered a 1 year contract”, explained Frank Zimmermann.

You don't believe us? Well have a closer look at the photographs below.

© ASM Assembly Systems / All Images have Zoom-Function.

But the most prominent interaction between the two companies – and the part were it seems the most successful – is Research & Development. Who better to talk to than the Vice President Research & Development?

“How can this merger be successful? This was a question that WK Lee has asked quite early on. Most deals aren't. From my point of view this is rather extraordinary. A CEO who looks at an acquisition from a long-term perspective”, states Josef Ernst as way of introduction.

Come to think of that, Siplace didn't quite 'fit in' with Siemens. ASMPT and Siplace seem to have a lot more in common. “It is not just a 1 + 1, but we are rather complementing one another. I am thrilled that – after just 3 months of cooperation – we can report the first accomplishments. Something that clearly shows that integration is not limited to paper. It is actually happening and it is accepted."

Bottom line? 'Super Duper' sums it up quite nicely, I should say.
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