At the beginning of 2020, Jörg Hackmann and Harald Henning were appointed as new directors at PSI Metals. In the interview series, the two, together with Thomas Quinet, Managing Director since 2017, answer questions about their strategy and what dreams they have for PSI Metals.

Jörg, you took over the Managing Director role in PSI Metals GmbH in Germany. What are your goals in your new role?

Over the last decade I accompanied in several management positions already the transition of our company into a more and more product based business approach. By taking over the new role as Managing Director we are now emphasizing the importance of our product strategy even more. This comes along with a strong focus on increasing our business and application consulting capacity. We are targeting to become the company where the best consultants in Production Management for Metals worldwide want to be.

What changes are we facing in terms of product and methodology?

In general, I believe that the functional scope of our product PSImetals will remain like it is today. We are the only supplier in the metals business who provides the complete coverage of end-to-end processes for SCM, MES and Logistics in the market. This stable product scope over the last years allowed us to specialize our functionality very much according to the needs in our Metals niche market.

This is definitely a USP and we feel that our customers appreciate this very much!

So everything stays the same?

Not really – there are two “buts” to my answer above. The first “but” is concerning our platform and technology the product is based on. Although our clients in the metals market are in general more conservative with respect to IT technology there is an increasing demand for cloud based solutions, non-disruptive upgrades and flexible support of all kind of end user devices.

The second “but” is related to the change in the mindset of our customers in terms of digitalization. So far, the majority of projects running under the umbrella of digitalization are more on a level of pilots and local silo solutions. The more these technologies like Machine Learning and AI in general are becoming mature and proven in our metals business the more our clients are expecting these features as an integrated part of a standard platform like PSImetals. This request is currently the most dynamic area driving our product development strategy a lot.


How do you plan to address these “buts”?

We started last year to roll out our new so-called Service Platform fully based on the PSI Java Framework (PJF). The new technology will give many highlights and advantages to our clients. This includes a service-based architecture providing state-of-the-art business process and workflow-modeling based on the new PSIbus. Furthermore, we will become independent from Oracle supporting in the future all relevant database technologies. A special highlight of the platform is the so-called “WORA” (Write-Once-Run-Anywhere) technology that allows our customers to model screens just once and to deploy it to all kind of runtime environments, might be a Smartphone or a classic Desktop Workstation.

Thomas Quinet, Joerg Hackmann and Harald Henning

Regarding the second “but” - the new platform supports all common AI frameworks which now enable us to provide additional services e. g. for quality prediction and defect pattern recognition. Besides the pure technological aspect to integrate AI frameworks PSI meanwhile also established a group of business experts that is highly skilled in the application of AI in the different industry segments. 


How will the migration from the current PSImetals 5 technology to the new platform take place?

It is for sure nothing our customers have to wait for – it will be a smooth transition over a defined period of time. We already started last year to “peel out” functionality from our Production Planning components to become migrated to the new platform. This new Inquiry and Demand Management Service will be part of our next PSImetals 5.20 Release. These new services are always working in close coexistence with the remaining functionality of today’s platform. Thereby we allow our clients to follow stepwise our migration strategy without bigger disruptions and according to their targeted speed.

What role does digitalization play in our internal processes?

Digitalization plays a great role not only in the lives of our customers but also in ours. If we look at our current delivery and deploy process it is definitely an area that we can “digitalize” a lot to achieve more automation and efficiency. Therefore we are preparing ourselves for the new age of B2B internet and increasingly investing in an automated multi-cloud collaboration platform. Here, soon our customers will be able to buy and install PSImetals Virtual Factory with a click of a mouse! 


Just between us, what is the next big thing coming up in 2020? 

I guess we are all impacted strongly by the current Corona crisis. But finally every crisis will also lead to a kind of selection process. The tighter money becomes the more our clients will focus on technologies and products that will bring a fast ROI. I believe that especially with our new Service Platform and our comprehensive business expertise in Metals we are very well prepared to address the right topics and to help our clients through this challenging period.