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Executive Insights - CLAAS

Discover the first episode of our Executive Insights video series with Thomas Böck, CEO of CLAAS, and Phillippe Bartissol, VP of Industrial Equipment at Dassault Systèmes.


Perspectives from leading enterprise executives in Industrial Equipment

Partners for over decades, CLAAS enabled Dassault Systèmes to improve its industry solutions by sharing specialized industry knowledge. In turn, these solutions supported CLAAS in its digital transformation while achieving breakthroughs in sustainable innovation and manufacturing.

Video interview of  Claas customer - Dassault Systèmes

In the opening episode, Böck and Bartissol discuss three key challenges in the agriculture industry:

  • How to feed the growing population?
  • How to meet the demand for eco-friendly machines?
  • And how to face the trend toward software-driven equipment?

Video transcript



Philippe Bartissol

Hello and welcome to Dassault Systèmes Executive Insights.

I’m Phillippe Bartissol, I’m the Vice President for Industrial Equipment at Dassault Systèmes. One of the segments of Industrial Equipment is agricultural equipment and joining us virtually today is Thomas Böck, CEO of CLAAS.

I had the privilege to work and partner with him for almost a decade, back then when tractor and harvester cabins were not yet the high-tech and media centers they are today.

We want to discuss three key challenges in the agricultural industry: How to feed the growing world population? The demand for eco-friendly machines and the trend towards software-driven equipment and system engineering. So, let’s start Thomas – can you tell us a little bit about CLAAS and what you and your company are focusing on from a product and from a service standpoint? 


Thomas Böck

So CLAAS is a family-owned business. It was founded in 1913 and over these more than 100 years, we are pretty successful in in developing and producing agriculture machinery. Any kinds of combine harvesters, but also forage harvesters. And since almost 20 years, also tractors. And we are also developing services like for example, IT tools for our end customers, the farmers, in order to allow them to produce food sustainable for for the markets they are in.


Philippe Bartissol

100 years? Wow! What a success story! So the challenges in the agricultural sector must have evolved. Can you tell me what they are today?



Thomas Böck

Yes, of course. So ah, let's say scarcity of food, food supply also over the world is one of the challenges we are facing. So we are helping our customers to grow their foods, to to distribute it.


Philippe Bartissol

Uf, I think we had a little connection issue here but I can reassure you we understood you perfectly. So moving on. How to feed the ever-growing population is a challenge, particularly with regard to an increased demand to have eco-friendly farming?


Thomas Böck

Of course, we have sustainability as an issue also in the view of the climate change but also in in regards of of the special conditions in Europe. So we have green deal and and that also affects what we are doing. But most of it we want to deliver products for the end customers using them and we’re looking in all aspects like for example, R & D production, after sales services, and everything around our products to support the customer.



Philippe Bartissol

Yeah, creating a sustainable food supply is clearly an exciting challenge for everyone, especially taking into account that the world’s population will rise from 7 to 10 billion people in a couple of years.

So Thomas, you also mentioned that you’re looking at all aspects when you deliver the products to your customers. And this reminds me of 2016 Hannover Messe, the leading technology fair – CLAAS had a hay tedder, ein Heuwender or ou une feneuse en français with ten computer pods around it showing the lifecycle development of the machinery. What was your motivation for putting that amazing display disbooth together with Dassault Systèmes and what was the benefit for CLAAS?


Thomas Böck

So, for us, it was very important to really show the the connection between all the the steps in development ‘til production and after-sales service to understand how data flows from from let's say a creation of a product till the the end of the life of a product. We we wanted to show all the steps in between all based on the same data source and show also the process flow in between.



Philippe Bartissol

So from A to Z – including after sales service, one of my favorite. This common booth demonstrated one of the things that the Dassault Systèmes team find to be a real key part of any successful digital transformation – strategic partnerships.

So, Thomas, what makes a partnership or collaboration successful?


Thomas Böck

I think first of all, very important is to have trust and openness to discuss about topics that lay ahead of somebody. Or especially in our collaboration, it is really a strategic approach where we are discussing what lies ahead in the next 3 to 5 years. Try to focus on on what can we do with the existing tool chain but also what needs to be co-developed in the process of of changing products on our side but also developing the next generation of software at Dassault Systèmes’ side. So, this kind of strategic openness.


Philippe Bartissol

Actually, it reminds me about a statement I’ve seen on your website saying “Whenever you need us, we are right there. Whatever it takes.” This is true for YOUR customers of course. But I feel like Dassault Systèmes uses it as well particularly when we talk about our special relationship with CLAAS. 



Philippe Bartissol

Now Thomas, I got to ask you: How do you see the future of the agriculture industry and the shift towards software and system engineering?


Thomas Böck

So looking into what we have to do with the sustainability topics precision farming as we call it, becomes more and more important that means we do site specific farming using GPS technology, autosteering, also even autonomy assistant systems in our products in our machinery, and we do for example, the the application of fertilizer or or chemicals on the square centimeter. So having this high accuracy, while driving in in machines that are let's say almost four meters high and and 3 meters fifty wide and more than 10 meters long is is quite challenging. So so what you have to bring together is all the departments around the product development process – like like for example, software engineers, electronics engineers, hydraulic engineers, mechanicals engineers and and all them together have have to have a common approach on on the product. No matter where they come from and and really integrating all the dimension of of the product is I think the biggest challenge and to do it almost real-time at the same time when when you have the phases of the product development.


Philippe Bartissol

Yes, having a holistic 365-degree view during product development in real time is key, like you said.



Philippe Bartissol

But 365 – there is another 365 that I’d like to talk to you about. Can you tell us more about the importance of 365 farmnet!


Thomas Böck

Yeah, so besides all mechanical products machinery we have we have a product for for a long time almost 8 years now. It's 365 farmnet. It's a digital platform. We are hosting out of Germany but globally available, where we do farm management. It's like a organizational tool for the farm to do all the planning, the resource management, the machine planning and also the application based on the sites we have, we do soil sampling. In everything into that and we allow the customer to optimize his agronomic business using these kind of tools and therefore we integrate data from the fields, from satellites, from the weather but also from all of our connected telematic connected machines – in order to give him the insights and he can make his own decisions or even we support him with decision making tools using AI to improve his business.


Philippe Bartissol

Indeed 365FarmNet is really a wonderful example of a farming value network for either a single farm or maybe in the future, a grouping of farms within a region. And it is very inspiring for Dassault Systèmes showing how we could help companies like CLAAS to not only develop and manufacture agricultural equipment, but also to help innovate entire systems of systems to support complete value networks.



Philippe Bartissol

Well, we are approaching the end of our wonderful conversation…and when we started you said that CLAAS had been on the market for more than 100 years. Dassault Systèmes turned 40 recently, is there anything you would like to say or share with us Thomas?


Thomas Böck

Yeah, absolutely so I I congratulate everybody and and also Bernard Charles for the great success over the past forty years so you really deserve it. I'm really hoping to to to follow you and your developments, your inspirations you give us as as an industry about what could you do with software and technology to improve our products. So thanks for for being with us and and I wish you all the best and all the success you you you deserve - for the next forty years.


Philippe Bartissol

Thank you so much Thomas... 


Thomas Böck

Thank you very much.


Philippe Bartissol

…and thank you for watching.

A family business founded in 1913, CLAAS is a world-renowned manufacturer of agricultural engineering equipment. Headquartered in Germany, Harsewinkel, Westphalia, the company is the market leader in Europe for combine harvesters, a world leader in self-propelled forage harvesters, and a top performer in agricultural engineering with tractors, agricultural balers, and green harvesting machinery.

All departments involving software engineers, electronics engineers, hydraulic engineers and mechanicals engineers, can collaborate real-time at various phases in the product development process.

Meet Our Speakers

Thomas Böck
Philippe Bartissol
VP Industrial Equipment at Dassault Systèmes

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