CEE could drive the next industrial revolution

Jun 20, 2016

17 czerwca 2016 - No doubt, it was a busy and effective week for GE in Europe. From Paris via Berlin to Warsaw and Prague, GE expanded its digital European presence. It all started in Paris with Jeff Immelt, GE Chairman and CEO, opening of a new digital office, a Digital Foundry, which will serve as the hub of the digital ecosystem, improve collaboration and drive ecosystem growth, adding 250 jobs focused on engineering, data science, user experience and design thinking.

At Minds+Machines Europe 2016, a day-long forum bringing together industry, university, government and technology leaders from across Europe, GE further announced the expansion of its digital presence in Europe.

Immelt continued his trip to the CEE region, with more than 700 additional digital jobs by end of 2017, one of the main angles of GE’s digital industrial transformation. During his meeting with business partners in Warsaw, accompanied by Peter Stracar, GE’s CEO for CEE, and Beata Stelmach, GE’s CEO for Poland and the Baltics, Immelt highlighted the value of the Alstom acquisition...

“New emissions rules and regulation will drive investment in new technologies - and our acquisition of Alstom will exactly meet these challenges.” Jeff Immelt, GE Chairman and CEO said. Where 76 percent of the power plants are more than 30 years old, there is a place for newer technologies and environmental controls supplied by GE Worth mentioning is that Alstom has much greater know-how in steam-engine technology,  expanding GE’s capabilities significantly in CEE, where more than 50% of the energy supply comes from coal.

And how about the benefits for the Polish market? As Immelt emphasized, “Poland, the EU’s sixth biggest country in terms of population, is contributing 9% of EU greenhouse gases emissions in the power sector on its own. GE’s extended portfolio meets perfectly the needs of the country, including the huge modernization process of the energy sector.” Going into details, Beata Stelmach added that one of the most significant benefit for Poland so far has been the ability to expand into servicing other manufacturers’ power generation equipment (e.g. the new steam turbine overhaul project at the Mondi Swiecie S.A. paper mill).

The next wave of digital transformation will be also driven out of Poland as GE’s expansion in the field of digital competences will not bypass the biggest country in CEE. It cannot be overstated that the brand new Brilliant Factory in Bielsko Biala, Southern Poland, will become a global showcase for GE. The Brilliant Factory is designed to create a high-tech collaborative environment for its workers, uniting human expertise with machine capabilities.

It’s not all about Poland, either. GE has also been a significant partner and investor in the Czech Republic. Since acquiring Walter Engines in 2008, GE has invested $100MM in the aviation industry here and doubled the number of employees in the aircraft industry in the region. In January 2016, GE’s Aviation division announced plans to build its new turboprop development, test and engine production headquarters in the Czech Republic, creating more than 500 new jobs by 2020. It is part of the GE´s strategy to build a strong manufacturing ecosystem across the CEE region, showing that industry remains at the very heart of all that.
Industry and industrial competitiveness was the final topic on Jeff Immelt´s journey across CEE. An exclusive roundtable on industrial competitiveness in Central Europe was organized under the patronage of the Aspen Institute at the Residence of the US Ambassador on Thursday, bringing together key Czech business and industrial players. It showed that the region must find ways to create more value-added technology in CEE, drive the digital transformation, and spend more money on R&D (and make it more efficient).
GE has a significant footprint in CEE and wants the region to take full advantage of the digital industrial opportunity.