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Web is central to Schneider reorganisation

01 July, 2001

HSchneider Electric is combining its global control, automation, and motion activities into a single organisation called Industrial Web Automation and Control. At the same time, it is expanding its UK activities by appointing 30 extra sales and support staff in an effort to boost sales by £12m by 2003.

The new global operation, with sales of around $3.3bn - about a third of Schneider`s total global business - will be led by Alain Marbach, previously president of Schneider`s automation business. He says that the new organisation`s title emphasises the importance that Schneider places on Web-based technologies.

"The `Web` word encompasses the powerful e-transformation that Schneider began three years ago for its business processes," says Marbach. "It is a strong sign to every employee, as well as a promise to our customers, about where we will invest. The Web is also central to a major initiative we started five years ago called Transparent Factory, which has delivered significant benefits to customers in a broad range of industries and applications."

Another reason for the reorganisation is to recognise the growing importance of motion control to Schneider following its recent acquisition of SIG-Positec - now reverting to its Berger-Lahr identity.

In the UK, Schneider has identified automation and controls, variable speed drives, and the digital economy, as key areas for growth. Terry Athawes, the company`s commercial director, sees service and listening to the customer as being a critical factors in achieving this growth. "So many companies just pay lip-service to these ideals," he says. "They claim, for example, to offer superb support while cutting staff levels to the point where delivering on this promise becomes impossible."

"Schneider doesn`t make such empty claims," he declares. "We have the commitment and the foresight to invest in the staff needed to ensure that we always give our customers the service they want and deserve."

Schneider currently employs about 2,300 people in the UK, generating a turnover of more than £260m.

Schneider has boughta further 60% of the New Zealand company PDL Holdings, taking its total stake in PDL to 88%. PDL is the market leader in variable speed drives and low-voltage equipment in New Zealand, with sales of around £50m.

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