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Roman Gaida: embracing digital transformation in CNC

Roman Gaida, Department Head of CNC Mechatronics Division EMEA at Mitsubishi Electric, on digital and cultural transformation and embracing diversity

Roman Gaida
Mitsubishi Electric

Department Head of CNC Mechatronics Division EMEA

Roman Gaida is Department Head of CNC Mechatronics Division EMEA at Mitsubishi Electric. “I’ve been working for Mitsubishi now for three years. I started my career In 1999 as an apprentice cutting mechanic for programming machines on the shop floor. I did that for almost 10 years, working in shifts with further education on the weekends to get a higher degree for a study allowance. Then I studied economical engineering with a focus on marketing and sales. After that I was approached by a technology company from Switzerland to build up a new business unit with an existing technology.” 

That role took him across the globe, to places such as Japan, China, Korea and the USA. “This Swiss technology company then acquired another big company. So I had to do the post merger integration of one BU and after that I was approached by Mitsubishi Electric to lead their sales and marketing department for Europe.” Following that, he continued his education with an MBA at the University of St. Gallen and RWTH Aachen University. “For the past two years, I’ve been Head of Division for the CNC department of Mitsubishi Electric for the EMEA region.”

He credits the department’s resilience to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to the pre-existing groundwork laid down by a digital and cultural journey began three years ago. “It's not easy to change a culture to a working, offsite one during a pandemic situation. You have to do that ahead of time - so I'm very glad that we started on this as soon as I arrived at Mitsubishi Electric.”

Prior to his arrival, the division was well established, not much having changed in 25 years. “We were not used to change,” he says. “We didn't have any workshops, we didn't do much development. So, at the beginning, we started by bringing manual processes and all the data that we're not using into a new system with a new IT structure backing it all up. At the same time, the aim was to start a cultural journey to support it all - because the digital is 10% tech and 90% human.”

Part of the challenge was convincing employees that there was a need for change when the business was already performing extremely well. “Everybody said: ‘why should we do that? We’re growing every year.’ But change is not only necessary when the business is doing poorly. It’s needed when you're experiencing the good times to prepare for the bad ones. That’s why it’s so good that we created these common values before the crisis. Now, it’s easy to change to the coronavirus operating mode and remote working, because our leadership values remain the same.” 

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Quotables

I truly believe that leading with targets is better than leading with office time

Roman Gaida | Mitsubishi Electric

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