"The main question is: What do our customers need?"
Dr. Volker Nilles is Executive Vice President "New Machines"

Volker Nilles joined KraussMaffei in early January 2020. After seven months, the head of the new "New Machines" business division is taking stock of the situation – and is committed to a culture of collaboration and global cooperation.

Text Uli Pecher  Photos KraussMaffei

Volker Nilles began his professional career at the Technical University of Munich, first as a research assistant at the Chair of Business Administration, then as Head of Innovation Management and Plant Development. His doctorate in 2001 (subject: "Efficient design of product organization systems") was followed by positions at ThyssenKrupp Metal Cutting (Ludwigsburg), the industrial technology group Bosch Rexroth (including Witten) and the construction machinery manufacturer Kleemann in Göppingen, where he served as CEO for nine years.

Dr. Volker Nilles
Dr. Volker Nilles
Executive Vice President"New machines"

In January 2020 Nilles joined KraussMaffei, which brought him back to Munich ("It is and will remain my favorite city in Germany"). He started out as head of KraussMaffei’s Injection Moulding Technology segment and, from August 1, took over as Executive Vice President of the newly created New Machines business division.

"If we all pull together, we will be successful even in difficult times."
Dr. Volker Nilles, Head of New Machines at KraussMaffei

During his first months in Allach he took an initial close look at the company. What impressed him most were the people who work there. "We have a very high level of expertise, a great deal of knowledge about products, applications, technology and the markets," says Nilles. "And we have also a great deal of passion for what we do." 

He intends to build on this: "Our people's commitment, their sense of community and the enthusiasm for their work are very important for KraussMaffei". Nilles is committed to a “culture of togetherness and global cooperation". It is very clear to him: "If we all pull together, we will be successful even in difficult times".

Focus on medium and long-term development of market shares

Taking a second look he has already got ideas exactly where all that passion must be directed to in the future. For Nilles, the all-important question is not: "What can our machines do?” Rather it is: "What do our customers need?" After all, technology alone (an area where KraussMaffei excels) does not lead to a competitive advantage for the company as long as it does not result in benefits for customers. 

One of his key aims is to grow KraussMaffei’s market share, which he would like to expand with the help of all employees. To be able to do this successfully and verifiably, he has defined three parameters: Firstly, the market shares as a percentage of the world market and the individual regional markets that KraussMaffei holds. Secondly, the market coverage - the “number of tenders we are involved in". And thirdly, the "hit rate", measuring "what percentage of tenders we win”.

To drive all these metrics to top levels, "we need to focus much more on the applications. Applications enable our customers to produce more cost-effectively, achieve lower unit costs and gain market share", Nilles says. His formula for success could actually be summed with the words: We help our customers to gain market share - and thus gain some ourselves.

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