“I know there is strength in the differences between us”
Toshiba Corporation acquired Landis+Gyr to add smart metering as a key element of Smart Grids to their portfolio and as an enabler for Toshiba’s vision of providing the technology life requires. In a lunch speech to the participants of the Annual General Meeting of the Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 in Zurich, Andreas Umbach, President and CEO of Landis+Gyr, reflected on the recent history of Landis+Gyr and on his personal experiences of cultural differences between Swiss and Japanese companies.
Landis+Gyr’s history began in 1896 in Zug, where the company still has its global headquarters. Since then the business has undergone several changes of ownership and has experienced several technology driven transformations (for example the change from electromechanical to electronic technologies which was a driver for major restructuring). Today and after 19 acquisitions over the last decade, Landis+Gyr is the global leader in Smart Metering and offers a number of smart grid applications to energy utilities around the globe. This made the business a perfect fit for Toshiba Corporation whose management vision is to provide the technology required to build ever smarter communities. Since its acquisition in 2011 by the Toshiba Corporation (60%) and the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (40%), Landis+Gyr has been managed as an independent growth platform of Toshiba. The company operates in 31 countries across five continents, has annual sales of more than 1.5 bn USD, and employs more than 5’700 people with the sole mission of helping the world manage energy better.
With the industry’s broadest portfolio of metering devices for electricity, heat and gas, communication networks and software solutions for acquiring, processing and visualizing meter data, Landis+Gyr is involved in the world’s biggest smart metering and smart grid deals. Amongst those projects, the engagement with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) stands out. Landis+Gyr is currently delivering the world’s largest smart metering communication network with 27 million endpoints, enabling Tepco to bring new service offerings to their customers and helping them to manage energy better.
After 3 years managing a Swiss global player under Japanese ownership, Andreas Umbach has extensive experience of interacting across cultures. He highlighted the diversity of his management team, explained some of his key learnings regarding decision making and meetings and explained the cultural differences in managerial values. Andreas Umbach not only highlighted the differences but also identified Innovation and Customer Focus as commonalities between Landis+Gyr and Toshiba. “Toshiba has supported us in increasing our R&D investments to almost 10% of sales to be prepared once our customers accelerate their smart grid investments”, he concluded.
Please see the presentation attached!