Siemens, founded in 1847, is a producer of radiology equipment primarily, with one of the dynamic histories. Siemens AG, (AG short for Aktiengesellschaft, is a German word meaning corporation,) a German engineering brand with its headquarters in Berlin and Munich, is the largest engineering company in Europe.
Siemens is divided into nine divisions, including Power and Gas, Energy Management, Mobility, and Financial Services, with Healthcare as a distinguished managed business.
Siemens is one of the top-notch heads in healthcare and medical diagnostics and radiology equipment, with its healthcare products generating about 12% of the company's total revenue. It has a dramatic history, and here are some fun facts about Siemens and its history trivia curated for you.
Werner von Siemens, a German inventor, and Johann Georg Halske, a German master mechanic, founded Siemens (Siemens & Halske) on October 12th, 1847. Werner von Siemens, the co-founder of Siemens, founded the company based on his telegraph invention that implemented a needle to point to the right letter rather than the Morse code. Due to this, Siemens was initially referred to as Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske.
Werner von Siemens later discovered the first electric passenger train in 1879, the world's first elevator in 1880. They helped invent the tubes with which Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen, the discoverer of the X-Ray, first examined them.
In 1919, S & H and two other companies cooperatively designed the Osram light bulb company.
During World War I in the '20s and '30s, Siemens developed radios, television sets, electron microscopes, and even designed aeroplanes.
During the final years of World War II, multiple plants and factories in Berlin and other significant cities were demolished by Allied air raids. To put an end to further losses, the manufacturing set-up was therefore pushed to alternative places and regions not directly impacted by the air war.
The aim was to attain continuous production of important war-related and basic products. As per reports, Siemens was functioning from almost 400 alternatives or relocated manufacturing set-ups, by the beginning of 1945.
In 1932, Reiniger, Gebbert & Schall (Erlangen), Phönix AG (Rudolstadt) and Siemens-Reiniger-Veifa mbH (Berlin) were integrated to form the Siemens-Reiniger-Werke AG (SRW), which again was combined in 1966 to form the present-day Siemens AG.
In 1972, Siemens sued German satirist F.C. Delius for his satirical portrayal of the company, through the book, Unsere Siemenswelt, and it was established that much of the book contained false claims. However, the trial itself disclosed significant participation of Siemens in the holocaust and other events in Nazi Germany. It is said that the company delivered electrical parts to Nazi concentration camps and death camps.
The factories had poor working conditions, where malnutrition and death were the ordeals of the day. Siemens businessman and Nazi Party member John Rabe is, however, received accolades for saving several Chinese lives during the notorious Nanking Massacre. He later visited Germany and talked about the atrocities committed by Japanese forces in Nanking.
The first cardiac pacemaker was founded and manufactured by Siemens and was inserted in a patient with severe cardiac arrhythmia on October 8th, 1958. Today, nearly a million pacemakers are installed worldwide.
The Bribery Scandal of Siemens
Siemens got embroiled in a worldwide bribery scandal in the early 2000s. One of them being the several deals carried out between the Greek government officials and the company during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games. A total of 64 individuals were found accused, including nationals from Germany and Greece.
In 2005, Germany disclosed investigations into Siemens business practices worldwide, driven by prosecutors in Italy, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The US investigators were included in the investigation in 2006, however, they addressed violations only since 2001, when Siemens began to sell shares in a US stock exchange. The investigators discovered that bribing officials to acquire contracts was the standard operating procedure. Over that period, the company bribed around $1.3 billion to many countries and maintained different books to confine them.
Fines were established to be as high as $5 billion as the investigation further unfolded. Settlement negotiations took place through most of 2008 and when they were disclosed in December they were far less than what was anticipated.
The company paid about $1.6 billion, around $800 million in each of the countries of US and Germany. This was the biggest bribery fine in the history of that time. The money that was paid to Germany involved a $270 million fine paid the year before (concerning bribes paid in Nigeria).
The bribery system had further grown up within Siemens after World War II as Siemens attempted to renew its business by establishing itself in the developing countries, where bribery is common. Until 1999, in Germany, bribes were considered a tax-deductible business expense, and there were no laws concerning penalizing companies for bribing foreign officials. However, in 1999, the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention came into effect, to which Germany was a party member, and Siemens began to implement off-shore accounts and other means to hide its bribery methods. As the investigation unfolded, it was found that Siemens paid the highest bribes in Argentina, Israel, Venezuela, China, Nigeria, and Russia. This led to several prosecutions of Siemens employees and recipient countries and settlements with other governments.
Establishment of Siemens in India
Siemens founded its India unit in 1922, but it was only after the country acquired its independence from British imperialism that it started expanding its business here. Motivated by the policies fostering industrial revolution by India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, Siemens built its first manufacturing plant in Mumbai in 1955. It began with a group of twenty-four workers functioning in a small workshop under the Mahalaxmi bridge.
A year later, it started its first full-fledged factory at nearby Worli, building switchboards using imported substances and a few basic types of machinery such as drilling machines and a power saw. Over the next few years, it started manufacturing healthcare equipment and railway signalling gear, as well.
By the mid-1990s, Siemens India had increased its number of divisions to eight as it moved its strategy from importing products to manufacturing them locally.
However, speedy expansion took its toll. In 1996/97, during its diamond jubilee year in the country, Siemens incurred a loss of Rs 84.5 crore. The company adopted certain tough measures to bring back the original profitability. It cut its employee strength from 8,500 to 4,000.
Today, Siemens has 20,000 employees working in 23 factories across India. In 2009, it launched the SMART strategy. SMART refers to simple-to-use, easy-to-maintain, affordable, reliable, and timely products. It is now one of India's largest engineering brands with its annual revenue generated close to Rs. 13,000 crore.
The India unit is also the fourth-largest contributor to Europe's largest engineering company, Siemens - after Germany, the United States and China, in terms of global revenue.
Who founded Siemens?
Werner von Siemens and Johann Georg Halske founded Siemens German Company.
When was Siemens founded?
Siemens German company was founded on 1 October 1847.
What companies are owned by Siemens?
- Siemens Financial Services.
- OSRAM GmbH.
- Roke Manor Research Limited
- Siemens Airfield Solutions, Inc.
- Siemens Building Technologies Ltd.
What is Siemens famous for?
The company focuses on intelligent infrastructure for buildings and decentralized energy systems, on automation and digitalization in the process and manufacturing industries, and on smart mobility solutions for rail and road transport.
What are Siemens products?
- Manufacturing IT
- Control Systems
- Industrial Products
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