What drives us?
Anke Kleinschmit has been the STIHL AG Executive Board member responsible for Research and Development since July 2019. Before that, she was in charge of the powertrain technology factory at Daimler AG, where she drove forward the digitalization of production activities, among other initiatives.
Ms. Kleinschmit, you’ve been the Executive Board member for Research and Development at STIHL for nearly a year now. If you could describe the past few months in just one word, what would it be?
Anke Kleinschmit (laughs) Eventful is probably the word that best describes 2019. It’s really exciting for me to be new at STIHL and get to know the company, the people and the culture. I also think it’s important to experience the products, to come to identify with them and to have fun with them.
What do you think will be particular areas of focus in your future work?
Anke Kleinschmit Right now we’re working on optimizing the product development process – and not just in one or two places, but along all of the interfaces. We’re also hard at work on product topics: What sets STIHL products apart, and what do we want to stand for as a brand? To me, where we want to go in the future is the most important factor, and I discuss it a lot, both with my team and across departments.
STIHL battery-powered products are in high demand, and they are making advances all over the world. That also means they are taking the place of gasoline-operated tools earlier than anticipated. What tasks are product developers at STIHL facing in this context?
Anke Kleinschmit We have great expertise in gasoline-powered products, which we want to maintain. These are, and will remain, our core products. But it is crucial for us to invest in new technologies as well. That means not only battery-powered products, but also whole new ecosystems and business models, where we need to consider how we can recapture the ground being lost by gasoline models.
How will STIHL retain its technology leadership now and into the future?
Anke Kleinschmit Through more advanced development. The goal is to identify relevant technologies and innovations at the right time. My objective is for us to develop a clear vision of what STIHL should stand for in the future, including what business field we will operate in and what expectations customers will have for our products. We need to tackle this task, driven by our own vision. We don’t always have to be the first to market, but we should be sure to view ourselves as one of the best.
Thank you for talking with us.