Thi - Day in the life of

Day in the Life: Gia-Thi Nguyen, Siemens' Head of Operational Excellence

Welcome to Day in the Life, a new series from Celonis which features behind-the-scenes looks at process professionals from industries like Healthcare, Retail, Life Sciences, and more. 

What you’ll find is that while their processes might be standardized, their career paths and their day-to-day business are anything but. From people who love looking at the nuts and bolts of how processes work, to others who are using processes as the means to an end, what they have in common is a desire - and with Celonis, the means - to enact meaningful change at their organization. 

Meet Gia-Thi Nguyen

Thi is the Head of Operational Excellence for Siemens AG, Digital Industries, and is responsible for the processes from Offer-to-Order and Order-to-Cash on a global level. This means he’s often traveling and working across time zones. Recently, Thi took time out of his busy schedule to walk us through a day in the life. 

5:00 am: Wake up for morning call with Australia

My team and colleagues often joke that I don’t sleep - of course they are wrong! What they mean is that I don’t need much sleep and that I am up and working when others are sleeping. With a global role, I know that it is always 9 am or 3 pm somewhere in the world. Why should others wake up super early or stay up late for me?  Our job focuses on facilitating a real, end-to-end approach for Offer-to-Order and Order-to-Cash and helping the regions further automate relevant processes on a global level. 

6:30 am: Getting the daughter ready for school

My daughter has her alarm at 6:30am and when I can hear her moaning from her room, “Alexa, stop!” I know it is time for me to get her breakfast and lunchbox ready. Each day, she asks her Echo “Alexa, how is the weather today?” while getting dressed. Someday, I could teach her that this can be automated, but maybe I leave it the way it is: Human-machine-interaction is also important. 

7:45 am: The best time to reach me

The next 15-20 minutes are usually the best time to get a hold of me, because I just dropped off Ann-Sophie at her school and am now on my way to the office. Today, my colleague from Sweden uses this to his advantage and we discuss some challenges around master data provisioning we have in the regions. I tell him that I’ve also noticed that these manual interventions have a direct impact on the Digital Fit Rate. However, I assure him that we will set aside some funds for this essential topic. 

8:10 am: Not the first one in the office

On the way from the parking lot to the office, I’m usually scrolling through e-mails and I can see that new ones are already coming from my team, because I am never the first one in the office. I can happily say that my early mornings in the office are never really stressful because a very early pre-screening of topics has already taken place. 

10:00 am: Morning meetings with the team

Most of my team is in Germany, where I’m based, but colleagues in Spain and Sweden who share the global roles have recently joined my team. We have morning alignment meetings, which vary based on what we have coming up. Sometimes we’re preparing for a workshop, other times we’re updating each other on ongoing topics and sharing where support is needed. Our primary stakeholders and ‘customers’ are Siemens’ regional Finance Heads and their sales back-office organizations, which take care of quotations, pricing, and end-customer order management. As part of our Order Management for Tomorrow (OM4T) program, we’ve been laser-focused on increasing automation and avoiding manual interventions and rework. We’re learning from our teams’ innovative approaches and trying to make solutions available on a global scale while facilitating communication.  

11:30 am: Break for lunch

On most of days, I don’t eat lunch anymore, but today I make an exception to catch up with some colleagues. I have a joint meeting with a colleague to our management after lunch so I give her a heads up: status, decision needed, impact and the like. Due to the continuous improvements we’ve made recently, these meetings have become second nature to me. In fact, the overview is automatically generated by one of our newest employees whose name is Roberto Robot. Roberto is a digital worker who takes care of automated reporting of the Digital Fit Rate from Celonis using RPA scripts. 

2:30 pm: Afternoon meetings

Time for meetings with the Western hemisphere. Someone in one of our US offices shared a very good example: Although the overall process was already automated, there were particular cases that required some manual intervention, nonetheless. They opted for an RPA-based solution. Immediately I wished I knew about this during my morning meeting, but I will just put this into an e-mail for our colleagues down under to further investigate whether it is something for them as well. 

4:00 pm: ‘Quick’ Sync ends

Our quick sync ended up taking an hour, but it was an hour well-spent. Today’s focus was on the usage of RPA since there is a lot of interest in the regions. I confirm that we should keep our human/process first approach and not fall into the buzzword or technological discussion. When we use process mining, our confidence levels for the solutions we’re proposing are very high. We can also easily communicate using out-of-the-box metrics that are available in Celonis and complemented by our own Digital Fit Rate. We’re better prepared, we can ask better questions, and in turn, people have more confidence that what we’re suggesting will provide the impact desired.  

5:00 pm: Time to head home and then to the airport 

In order to avoid rush hour, I park my car and then make my way to the airport via public transportation. Since I always travel light there is no need for checked luggage and since I always just wear casual T-shirts with some comic or nerdy references, I don’t need to worry about wrinkled dress shirts anymore. One recommendation to any frequent traveler: Buy a travel adapter which allows for earthed plugs and has 4 built-in USB plugs with a power up to 5VA – everyone who needs to power up headphones, iPad, iPhone and power banks at the same time will understand. 

7:30 pm: Call with Argentina

I like to maximize my time at the airport and catch up with our key person in Argentina. He asks me when I will visit, and I jokingly tell him that he does not need me: The processes are improving much quicker than anyone had anticipated! I ask him to come visit HQ so he can teach us how they have driven the change! I’m feeling inspired. There’s great potential for our low-code platform, ERP and process mining use cases to converge!

8:10 pm: Board my flight 

I’m one of the lucky ones: No matter what time of day it is, I can always fall asleep as soon as my head hits that airplane headrest. I catch up on some sleep for a few hours, then binge a bit on Netflix. I do watch quite a lot with my family, but I save Westworld and True Detective for myself. Can’t wait for the next seasons!

Flight lands: Off to Dinner! 

The first thing I do when I land in a new place is to pay attention to the local headlines and talk to the cab driver about random things. I like to get a feel for what’s going on locally and I try to incorporate it in my presentation. There are certainly elements that all business trips share, but they don’t share a standardized outcome or result. All countries are different and so are people – and that’s what makes my work and every day exciting. Just as I am living my own journey, I understand that everyone’s journey is also a different one. But with the first toast of drinks, I am reminded that everyone’s journey is better together. And that makes today a special day. 

Gia-Thi-Nguyen --author image
Gia-Thi Nguyen
Head of Operational Excellence, Siemens
Dear visitor, you're using an outdated browser. Parts of this website will not work correctly. For a better experience, update or change your browser.