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5 Key Takeaways from the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2024

SupplyOn joined over 4,000 attendees at the 2024 Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/ Xpo in sunny Orlando. Together, we were all on a mission to connect and gather knowledge and insight about the latest supply chain trends and technology to bring resiliency to their organization's supply chain. These are my 5 key takeaways from this inspiring event:Resilience & Risk: The supply chain has always been challenging and fragile, even before the global pandemic. Still, today, disruptions have become more frequent and severe. Analysts advise making changes in supply chains to depart from an “antifragile” state. There must be a focus on resilience and risk management while adopting proactive strategies to achieve resilience.AI/Data-driven Decision-Making: Accurate, up-to-date data has always been critical for supply chains. Organizations must harness the power of data analytics to gain actionable insights, optimize operations, and drive informed decision-making at every level of the supply chain.Digital Transformation: Organizations must fully embrace digital transformation in their supply chains. Technology must be leveraged to enhance visibility, agility, and efficiency across the supply chain.ESG/Sustainability: In my opinion, the US has been slower to move forward with ESG requirements, but this topic is gaining traction, especially as global requirements are impacting the US in multiple ways. Gartner highlighted that ESG is growing recognition within the supply chain. Beyond being kind to our planet, it is clear, organizations must reduce carbon footprint, ensure ethical sourcing practices, and promote social responsibility in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace, while reducing costs.Partnerships: Partnerships are essential for growth and collaboration within the supply chain. Forging strategic alliances with suppliers, customers, stakeholders, and solution providers is critical to driving innovation, mitigating risks, and creating shared value.Partnering with SupplyOn can transform your supply chain to become resilient.SupplyOn offers a comprehensive suite of digital supply chain solutions that align with the key takeaways from this latest event. For over 20 years, SupplyOn has been partnering with organizations to accelerate their digital transformation journey, enhance resilience, promote sustainability, foster collaboration, and leverage data-driven insights to drive competitive advantage in today's dynamic business landscape.
5 Key Takeaways from the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2024

Embargoes in the supply chain: increase efficiency, minimize risks

Embargo compliance and increased efficiency in the supply chain: identifying potential risks at an early stage and reacting proactively to minimize the potential impact on business processes - this is how it works!International trade often confronts companies with complex legal frameworks. In particular, the transportation of goods to countries with embargoes requires increased attention. This is because these economic sanctions have the potential to significantly affect trade. A precise understanding of the relevant regulations is necessary when it comes to exports, imports and contracts with the countries concerned. It's essential to maintain an overview of which transport processes are impaired or even impossible.However, how can companies fulfill these requirements and ensure efficient processes at the same time?Within the Supply Chain Collaboration solution, there is a customized way for companies to ensure compliance with embargoes. By integrating specific restrictions and requirements into the transportation and delivery processes, companies can ensure that they operate in accordance with the applicable regulations at all times.Automatic ASN blockingIf a supplier selects an embargo country during transport and delivery notification, either an error message or a warning appears, depending on the configuration.In case of an error message, the supplier is prevented from sending a shipping or dispatch notification if he has selected an affected country.If there is a warning, the supplier is informed that there are restrictions for the selected country of origin.This function can be adapted flexibly to the individual requirements of compliance strategies. Companies have the option of adding further embargo countries and determining the system's response.Would you like to avoid embargo violations in your transportation processes? Get in touch with us!
Embargoes in the supply chain: increase efficiency, minimize risks

LOVE TO LEAD: Employees provide insight into actively practiced and shaped leadership culture

At the beginning of February 2024, our SupplyOn Leadership understanding was rolled out at a kick-off meeting with all employees. Developed by employees for employees, a team consisting of 16 change agents - with and without management responsibility - and the SupplyOn Vice Presidents played a key role in defining and developing the SupplyOn Leadership values and principles.Today, three of them are answering our questions about the impact and application of the LOVE TO LEAD leadership initiative: Korbinian Reng is Vice President of Portfolio Strategy & Marketing, Marian Wilken is Team Leader in Consulting and Dominik Maier is Product Manager and responsible for AirSupply Quality. Dominik, Marian and Korbinian, you have played a key role in shaping SupplyOn's leadership values and principles. Can you describe why leadership affects all employees across the hierarchy and not just managers? Marian: I don't think a change initiative can work if everyone just looks at their manager and waits to see what they do. Otherwise, all that's left at the end is the Management Board, which is then supposed to somehow lead the way.However, we have many substantive topics and we have experts for these topics. These tasks need to be led and driven forward. We need leaders who lead the way. And these must be the thematic specialists, they must be every single one of us. Because that's the only way we can develop.Dominik: In the role of Product Manager or Product Owner at SupplyOn, you have technical responsibility for the product even without disciplinary leadership. You also manage the product in the sense that it is constantly improving, which puts you in a functional management role.Korbinian: I think that's exactly the core of it. People often talk about ownership - but leadership goes a bit further: for example: I not only take responsibility for my topic, but I also lead my topic to success. I lead my colleagues, I lead my customers, I lead my boss. That is also something you can and must do. That's why all of our employees have a leadership role, regardless of their position within SupplyOn.Anchoring this as a leadership value now empowers every employee once again. True to the motto: "Do it and lead yourself."How do you interpret the "LOVE TO LEAD" approach in your day-to-day work in relation to how you live leadership?Korbinian: LOVE TO LEAD stands for passion. As a manager, I believe it has to be fun to work with people and to want to tease out the best possible potential from each person. At the same time, I am also an employee and project manager. I am passionate about driving my topics forward, and this can be broken down into all five leadership values - innovation, self-development, co-creation, customer value and long-term thinking.A few examples:Innovation: I want our solutions to be better, smarter and simpler.Self-development: I want to continue my professional development, both internally and externally.Customer value: I want to build something that offers our customers real added value.LOVE TO LEAD can therefore be found everywhere in my day-to-day work and I can apply it in many places.Marian: For the consulting sector and my team, LOVE TO LEAD means above all leading the customer. I see LOVE TO LEAD as going beyond the values and into leadership. To take the customer with us and lead them towards the goal that we have very specifically in the respective project. To simply live "leading"!  Can you pick out one of the five leadership values and describe how it influences your decisions in your area of work and interactions with team members on a daily basis?Dominik: For me, co-creation has always been very important. We have now codified the value and refined it through the principles, but the principle of achieving very good results as a team - and not as a lone fighter - still influences me. The result is better thanks to the different perspectives from the team. I think it's great that the value as a leadership topic has been given this importance, as it also encourages people to get involved, to express other perspectives or concerns, which further strengthens collaboration.Marian: As change agents, we have formed teams for certain values. As I am in the co-creation team, I would also pick out this value in my example. For me, working on co-creation within the leadership initiative has led me to think even more specifically about dependencies and synergies:I am increasingly asking myself questions such as: What are the departments relevant to me, the teams relevant to me that we work with a lot? Do these teams have conflicting goals and how can we identify and address these internally together in advance?How can we present to the customer together in the same direction so that the best possible result is achieved for all departments and, of course, especially for the customer?Korbinian: I would like to talk about the value of innovation. You have to be hungry and enthusiastic to innovate. You have to be willing to question things and keep trying out new ideas.Because in everyday life, it's rarely the case that a great idea is thrown into the room and everyone shouts "hurrah" and runs off. This brings us back to the value of co-creation: you have to approach your colleagues to understand how you can convince and inspire them. That's exciting because everyone has a different way of thinking. And of course, when it comes to innovation, you also need staying power. The leadership values and principles provide support here and encourage everyone: "Keep at it and keep going."How do you experience the implementation of "LOVE TO LEAD" in your daily work? Are there any examples you would like to share?Dominik: I think that the formulation of the leadership values and principles has an impact on our day-to-day work. A personal example I gave last week, for example, was when a customer communicated a new requirement to me regarding the data exchange of documents. Coincidentally, the customer communicated this new requirement to me. But I realized that this would also affect many other departments at SupplyOn that work for this customer. So, I took responsibility for this and, in the spirit of co-creation, felt obliged to inform all other affected teams about the upcoming change. The other teams were very happy because they were not yet aware of this requirement and now had the opportunity to act with foresight. In my view, this sharpening of a shared sense of responsibility is also what makes the values so important.Korbinian: Absolutely! I'm fascinated by what has already happened in the short time since the presentation in February 2024. I've seen employees stand up in meetings and say: "Guys, why are we discussing this now, why should we wait here for hierarchical decisions, let's take the lead ourselves, live leadership and decide together."And I have already seen an invitation to an appointment being canceled with the explanation: "I'm blocking this time slot for my personal development, this webinar is important to me. You said we should take responsibility for our self-development 😉."Marian: I can confirm that! I've also noticed a lot of discussion about leadership values and principles. People are thinking about them, questioning their meaning and looking for answers to the questions:What does this mean in concrete terms for us as a team?What measures can we take within our team?How can we bring the values to life in our everyday lives?Or to put it another way: what do we need to bring them to life?I receive feedback that colleagues feel that the leadership initiative has added value for them. They are motivated to work on things, to help shape their entire working day and the future against the backdrop of the leadership values.It is tangible that LOVE TO LEAD increases commitment and satisfaction within the company. People are keen to drive issues forward and that makes me even happier as a manager in my day-to-day work.Dominik: The great thing about the initiative is that it was broadly based right from the start and that a cross-section of employees was involved. Even without disciplinary leadership, I personally found it very exciting to be part of it. There was a positive energy right from the start. And that has carried people along and is now helping us to drive this topic forward.Incorporating so many different perspectives was probably the key to anchoring these topics in a sustainable way so that everyone at SupplyOn can identify with the values and principles.As change agents, you are also mentors for a specific leadership value and are available to all employees for questions and in-depth knowledge. What tips can you give employees to bring the leadership values to life in everyday life and actively contribute to the further development of the leadership culture?Korbinian: Be brave, dare to do it! Do you have a good idea? Talk about it with your manager, with division heads, with vice presidents - with whoever - if you are convinced that you have a good idea, then push it forward!Marian: It's a matter of type. You have to want to help shape things in order to fully exploit the potential of LOVE TO LEAD for yourself. And of course, it's okay if you don't see yourself in an active role. Nevertheless, I recommend that you don't sit down and wait for someone else to make you happy but use the opportunity to fill the values with life and get the most out of them for the company and for yourself personally.Korbinian: In my opinion, it's important to involve every employee. There are many people who don't like to push themselves to the fore as spokespeople, who tend to be quiet in groups or workshops. But these employees often have real treasures inside them in terms of ideas, opinions and observations. As managers, we have the opportunity to involve these employees, to encourage them to be bold so that we can unearth this treasure together.Marian: Some questions keep coming back to me:What's next for LOVE TO LEAD?What comes next?How will this be put into practice now?The short, concise answer to this is: There are topics that we are working on from the values teams. But ask yourself the same question: What do the leadership values and principles mean to you? Which topics are important to you and would you like to advance yourself? Do you want to break new ground, take charge of your own topics and take responsibility for advancing yourself and your career?Then you'll fit in with us! Apply now for one of our vacancies.
LOVE TO LEAD: Employees provide insight into actively practiced and shaped leadership culture

Increasing the resilience of global supply chains through holistic approach

How should complex supply chains be designed so that they are resilient to risks of all kinds and adapt agilely to dynamic market conditions? How can a cost-efficient procurement strategy be implemented that leads to tangible cost savings thanks to intelligent demand bundling and optimized operational procurement processes? How can the interaction with suppliers be optimized so that both sides benefit from maximum efficiency and transparency? One of the key prerequisites is the seamless integration of the entire supplier network into your own business processes - end-to-end via just one central platform.Discover here how an global player in the automotive supply industry managed this balancing act - even though the organization was characterized by a high degree of inhomogeneity due to numerous takeovers. In the course of this project, a uniform IT infrastructure was created and standardized processes implemented for numerous single entities with large differences in terms of degree of digitalization, process design and IT landscape.The first strategic decision on the path to harmonization was to replace the heterogeneous IT system landscape with the company-wide introduction of SAP S4/Hana. It quickly became evident that the harmonization of internal processes and systems would be only the first step and that the supplier processes, which until then had largely been run via Excel sheets and e-mail, would also require optimization. This led to the second strategic decision: to use the migration to digitize and automate collaboration with suppliers at the same time. An established industry solution and a partner with extensive experience in the automotive sector were required here.SupplyOn was chosen for several reasons: Firstly, because of its decades of experience in the automotive business and the resulting numerous best practices. Secondly, because of the comprehensive process coverage and the ability to handle all supplier communication via one platform. And thirdly, due to the high number of connected suppliers and the associated overlap with the company's own supplier base.Reduce complexity with SupplyOnMixed scenarios with several providers were also examined during the selection process, but these were quickly rejected. Not only because external consulting companies such as Gartner clearly spoke out against them, but also because the advantages and synergy effects of a centralized solution were obvious to all parties involved:for suppliers: centralized access to all processes and datafor everyone: no additional and superfluous interfaces that would need continuous updating and be a constant source of errorsAnother advantage of SupplyOn for the customer was the fact that the complexity of the SAP project could be reduced, as SupplyOn offers some of the S4/Hana functionalities including supplier integration as standard. This eliminates the need for additional supplier connections to SAP and customizing, which saves the customer time and money with every SAP update. This applies, for example, to the VMI and complaints process as well as the sourcing process. The target scenario: an end-to-end digitalized world instead of Excel messThe customer's goal was to extend its internal SAP processes end-to-end to the supplier and create a seamless data flow from the internal systems to the supplier and back again - globally, for all plants, for all supplier-related processes, for all suppliers, across departmental and company boundaries. Where Excel sheets were previously exchanged, in future data will be sent directly from the internal systems to the supplier - and the return processes will be correspondingly seamless.This starts with the approval process for a new supplier and extends across the entire supplier lifecycle in all strategic and operational matters - from development and series production through to phase-out.The processes in detailSupplier qualification: The starting point of a customer-supplier relationship is the qualification and approval of the supplier. SupplyOn maps this process, taking into account specific regions and commodities. Upon approval, the supplier is classified and the supplier data is transferred to the internal SAP S4/Hana.Supplier master data management: All relevant data that characterizes a supplier is collected here - contact details, plants, production capabilities, certificates, audit results, classifications, approvals, contracts, etc. A duplicate check rounds off this service to ensure that a unique data record is attributed to each supplier.Sourcing of production material - including technical feasibility check: In addition to the price and commercial conditions, numerous other aspects can be queried during the inquiry process and other divisions can be integrated into the process, for example the development or quality department.Sourcing of indirect materials: The main aim here is to structure and standardize processes throughout the company, in particular to bundle volumes across the entire organization (demand pooling), adhere to compliance guidelines and prevent maverick buying.Start of series production: Standardized processes such as APQP or PPAP can be used to check readiness for mass production, ensuring a smooth ramp-up.Procure-to-pay: An end-to-end process from requirement to invoice enables a highly efficient, largely trouble-free and error-free supply chain. Subsequent processes are based on predecessor documents, which not only eliminates manual effort but also minimizes potential input errors.Supplier lifecycle management: In day-to-day collaboration, SupplyOn can be used to map a permanent control loop that aims to continuously optimize processes and products. The initiative does not originate exclusively from the customer. The supplier can also make suggestions for improvement and initiate changes. This is made possible by a collaborative approach in both directions.Audit Management: Both existing and new suppliers can be qualified and categorized here. The result is saved in the Business Directory. This makes it transparent for everyone what status the supplier has: "preferred", "standard" or "on hold". From there, the supplier can be efficiently developed further.Performance management: Performance data from several sources - from the SAP system, from SupplyOn and from external data providers - is bundled here and displayed to the supplier in a consolidated way for targeted performance improvement. At the same time, scoring is calculated from this data and made available internally, for example to Purchasing and Quality Assurance. This creates full transparency across departments at the level of parts, component lists and suppliers.Complaint management with action tracking: Here, errors are analyzed in a structured manner and resolved systematically - in a way that not only solves the current problem, but also ensures that repeat errors are avoided thanks to process or system adjustments.Risk management: By integrating external risk data providers, threatening situations - natural disasters, crisis hotspots or similar - can not only be identified very quickly, but it is also possible to immediately analyze which plants and parts are affected in order to immediately find solutions and alternatives for potential shortfalls. This makes the company more resilient to risks of all kinds and gives it completely new options for managing and responding to escalation situationsThe interlinking of all these supplier processes via one platform provides insights that were previously not achievable in the silo structure. Processes can be optimized end-to-end for the first time. To give an example, a buyer can no longer enquire about a supplier that has been set to "red" by the quality department. Or they can initiate necessary downstream processes with system support during the sourcing process.Implementation and rolloutA pragmatic approach was chosen for the implementation in order to get up and running quickly: Processes that do not necessarily require backend integration were started immediately via the web interface. These include, for example, the sourcing and complaints process. The interface to the backend systems is planned for a later date.As the S4/Hana rollout at the customer extends over several years - 160 plants are affected worldwide - this approach offers the major advantage that SupplyOn use can be started immediately in all plants, regardless of the status of the SAP rollout. At the same time, the integration of processes that are only manageable from the backend was tackled immediately.On the supplier side, SupplyOn takes care of all the necessary steps to get the 3,000 strategically important suppliers up and running quickly. This includes, for example, a comprehensive communication package, a specific training concept and support for suppliers during registration and day-to-day use. In the long term, a further 7,000 suppliers are to be connected in order to benefit from digitized processes in the long-tail area as well.Strategic goals achieved with SupplyOnIncreased competitiveness through the rapid introduction of proven, industry-standard end-to-end processes with suppliers, which SupplyOn continuously develops and adapts to new requirementsIncreased resilience to risks and in escalation and crisis situationsIncreased agility in order to be able to react quickly to changing economic conditions. Also rapid integration of other acquired entities.Improved cross-departmental collaboration between purchasing, quality management, finance and logistics through the use of one central platformReduced purchasing costs through intelligent bundling of demands across several areas.Higher product and process quality through close involvement of suppliers in improvement processes - including those initiated by the supplierLess frictional and administrative effort thanks to a holistic approach: everything from a single source and all processes via one system
Increasing the resilience of global supply chains through holistic approach

New functions in Program Increment (PI) 2024-01 developed

May we introduce you to our new functions? These show not only our commitment to continuous innovation, but also concrete progress in various areas of our product portfolio: Visibility & AnalyticsTo enhance customer interaction in our Corporate Carbon Footprint survey tool, we have integrated a chatbot. This chatbot can respond precisely to user inquiries and assist with survey completion in various languages. Further to this first concrete use case, the chatbot acts as a pilot project for the integration of generative AI into our product portfolio. Source-to-ContractNew features in Cost Breakdown Structure (CBS) within SupplyOn Sourcing enable even more flexible and efficient workflows. Users can now easily toggle specific sections on or off to access only relevant information. Additionally, they can specify cost components required for each part number, streamlining supplier responses and saving time. Supplier Quality ManagementThe solution Technical Review has enhanced valuable functions to increase efficiency and flexibility.One of these functions is the "bundling" function, now accessible via a customer system. This allows customers and suppliers to deal with similar materials with one Technical Review object, thus avoiding many duplicate entries.Moreover, two new columns will soon be integrated into the inbox table, displaying details such as the last modification and the person responsible for it.Another improvement involves the creation of new objects by customer users. It becomes easier to add necessary content immediately before activation, as the object is saved in "Create" status and only requires defined fields to be filled prior to activation. We look forward to introducing you to more exciting developments in the coming months. Stay tuned to see what innovations you can discover next time.
New functions in Program Increment (PI) 2024-01 developed

Meetings that inspire: Savis and Dominik on designing interactive meetings

Integrating and activating employees in meetings is crucial to encourage diverse perspectives, creative ideas and valuable feedback. Find out in an interview with Senior Project Manager Savis Konrad, Team P2P and e-Invoicing and Dominik Halamoda, Product Owner in the UX, Supplier Quality Management & Supplier Management Solutions team at SupplyOn, how meetings can be turned into interactive and inclusive platforms for idea generation and feedback by using different methods. How do you ensure that employees are actively and inclusively involved in meetings in order to promote diverse perspectives and ideas?Savis: In my experience, precise formulation of expectations and targeted moderation are crucial. By clearly setting expectations at the beginning of the meeting, I can create an appropriate framework, promote interaction and inclusion and express appreciation.I communicate the meeting topic in advance and explain exactly what my expectations are for the meeting. Depending on the topic and work stream, I sometimes find it more efficient to work together on a draft version rather than starting from scratch.In terms of interactive discussion, I rely on direct communication. If I notice any reluctance or embarrassment during the meeting, I address the participants directly and ask for their opinion.This approach promotes effective communication and helps to ensure that meetings are successful and focused.Dominik: I agree with Savis, the preparation of meetings is particularly important if productive work results are to be achieved in the meetings. For me, this also means providing the participants with information about the meetings in advance so that they can prepare themselves. This makes more introverted colleagues in particular feel more confident about getting involved."Individuals and interactions over processes and tools", from the agile manifesto, is also my motto for successful collaboration. The focus is not on a rigid framework, but on individual appreciation. I try to involve everyone and address them in a targeted manner.To make this possible, I believe it is important to create a framework that builds trust and makes the meeting feel like a safe space.You mention psychological safety in meetings. How do you create an environment in which employees dare to share their thoughts and opinions?Savis: Ensuring a protected environment is the fundamental basis for the success of any exchange. In our department, the established error culture plays a key role as a success factor in creating a framework that promotes open communication. In the event of errors within our team, the focus is not on apportioning blame, but rather on finding solutions together. Both managers and team members work together to analyze the problem and strive for a common understanding of it.Once an issue has been successfully resolved, we focus on how we can avoid similar incidents in the future. This culture of dealing with mistakes strengthens the sense of togetherness in the team and encourages us to address critical issues. This creates a deep bond of trust that enables us to contribute ideas courageously and share opinions openly.Furthermore, in such a complex environment with constant changes and different fields of activity, we are aware that we cannot know everything. That's why we value feedback and the open discussion of concerns. This exchange enables us to complement each other and gain a broader perspective.Dominik: I can also say that in my role as product owner, I see myself as a central point of contact and try to shield my development team from external influences such as pressure or tension so that the team stays in the flow.This allows for concentrated and productive work and creates an interactive meeting atmosphere that encourages an open exchange of ideas.In our meetings, I experience respectful behavior and openness towards other opinions. It's a good human fit. It goes without saying that this also makes working together fun.We experience this fun in our meetings and also encourage it, for example through team-building events on the fringes of our PI planning events. This in turn deepens the trust relationship.What specific methods do you use to generate creative ideas interactively from your team and turn them into solutions?Dominik: I like to work with my development team using the Planning Poker method to estimate the effort required to meet customer requirements. In preparation for the meeting, we design the user stories and send them to the team in advance for review. That way, everyone is prepared and we can clarify any questions while playing poker.We then use a virtual planning poker tool in which the user stories are displayed one after the other. Our agile development team of developers and testers then have 30 seconds, similar to poker, to draw a card with the number of days they think they will need to implement the user story.If there are differences of opinion within the team, we then check why this is the case. At the end of the process, the team agrees on an average value, an estimate of the effort required that suits the entire team. I find this method particularly inclusive, interactive and very transparent because all team members have their say and share the background to their effort estimates.I like to write the user stories themselves in the format of the Gherkin scheme so that the three Cs: "Card, Conversation, Confirmation" are fulfilled. The requirement should be written in such a way that it is easy to understand and fits on a card.Conversation is one of the most important elements. I therefore do not formulate 100% of the requirements so that each team member can help shape and formulate them during the discussion process. This also promotes participation and acceptance within the team. Confirmation means that the acceptance criteria are also clearly formulated, as otherwise acceptance would not be possible later on.Savis: I achieve the best results in collaborative workshops where I deliberately bring together experts with different experiences and perspectives. The diversity of participants, both in terms of responsibilities and team affiliations (not just product owners, not just developer teams, etc.), has proven to be particularly effective so far.Diversity opens up the possibility of obtaining a differentiated picture. The different characters and perspectives complement each other. The exchange is particularly fruitful as everyone considers different aspects and sees different challenges.In terms of methodology, I often resort to classic brainstorming. The starting point varies depending on the participants. Some are most creative when they can brainstorm freely, while others prefer to be guided by an initial proposal. In such cases, I present an incomplete draft as a basis for discussion. Participants can then add their own ideas or make changes. In this way, I have already seen a rough block become a polished diamond.Dominik: That's my experience too, Savis. It's a matter of type. Some colleagues don't dare to fully express their own suggestions and prefer to use a template to discuss what specifically would have to be different in order to work. Sometimes I receive counter-suggestions that are a much better solution than I could have come up with on my own. Teamwork makes the dream work.To ensure that the idea generation process in interactive meeting design remains a good experience for all team members, it is important as meeting organizers to be open, accept the team's suggestions and put your own ego aside.What challenges have you overcome on your way to successfully shaping employee interaction in meetings, and what successes can you share that have come from your meetings?Dominik: One challenge is, of course, the continuous, inclusive involvement of all workshop participants. Always address the individual participants on a rolling basis. Employee activation does not happen ad hoc, but only over time.Savis: The challenge is to take limited resources into account across departments and to manage the issue with perseverance and commitment while maintaining high quality standards. Effective work management and positive communication are crucial. Time plays a key role and perseverance is essential.Another challenge is to create space for innovation and creativity in daily business, which requires conscious time management. Planning and conducting meetings, reviews and coordination sessions is a time-consuming task, and successful time management is crucial.Successes can be seen in the dovetailing and networking of different subject areas as well as in the reduction of silos through meetings in different compositions. This was particularly helpful in developing a more comprehensive understanding.Dominik: By using interactive methods such as the Planning Poker described above or the three Cs, the meetings within our Scrum sprints are productive and inclusive, the requirements are formulated more clearly for everyone and the effort estimates are more realistic. This promotes satisfaction in our teams and that is definitely a success. What tips do you have for other teams and employees who want to implement your methods and approaches in their own meetings in order to make meetings similarly interactive?Dominik: Be open to criticism and feedback!Savis: Despite a busy working day, it is important to allow enough time for preparation and follow-up to organize interactive meetings and to promote a culture of shared learning. The exchange brings great added value.To the meeting participants: Asking questions is by no means unintelligent; on the contrary, they help to improve the overall outcome.It is crucial not to rest on your laurels, but to always strive for innovation. Convince yourself that change is possible despite limited capacity or budget constraints, and your decision to do so can pave the way for change.Would you like to work for an employer where meetings are designed to be inclusive and interactive using modern methods? Go to our job advertisements: Jobs at SupplyOn
Meetings that inspire: Savis and Dominik on designing interactive meetings

Carbon reduction in the supply chain – three fundamental challenges and solutions

Concepts such as decarbonization, net zero or carbon neutrality are now part of the common discourse in customer-supplier relationships. The influence of the supply chain on a product's final ecological footprint (product carbon footprint, PCF for short) is already well known and the efforts to reduce the emissions (Scope 3 upstream) have taken place in many industrial sectors.That's why this article is not about why reducing carbon emissions in the supply chain is the biggest lever to achieve their climate goals. Many studies already describe this and it has been discussed in webinars and at conferences. Rather, the following article will focus on the biggest challenges and highlight possible solutions.Challenge 1 - Data quality and availabilityTo reduce Scope 3 emissions effectively, correct decisions and a good data basis are required. As a company, I create this data by gathering as much real data (primary data) as possible from the supply chain and relying less on standard values or factors (secondary data).What sounds so simple, however, proves to be a significant challenge in practice.How do I retrieve the data?How do I consolidate them?Can my suppliers even deliver the data I need?Are the data I receive from my suppliers correct?Even this seemingly simple question is challenging for many companies - Gartner, in its report "3 Steps to Accelerate Scope 3 Carbon Emissions Reduction in the Value Chain", also identified data quality and availability as one of the most serious problems that companies have to overcome.The PCF data can be queried in different ways. Via e-mail for individual products, via Excel or with a special collaboration tool. Choosing the right way is essential for feedback. It has been shown that e-mail and Excel are often used to launch initiatives, but they quickly reach their limits for all parties involved. Due to the lack of plausibility checks, neither option allows any conclusions to be drawn about data quality and creates further data silos.For this reason, specialized software tools for the exchange of carbon data have become established, such as SupplyOn Product Footprint. In most cases, these tools offer an intuitive user interface, plausibility checks, are integrated into other business processes and are therefore part of an end-to-end collaboration process.This is especially beneficial for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), as they do not have to introduce additional software, but can work in their familiar environment. Standardized query templates across several customers also ensure greater user acceptance.As a customer, I benefit from a higher return rate and high-quality data. If I want to ask for more details than those provided in the standardized templates, flexible software tools also offer the option of customization, so that I can obtain all the data I need from the suppliers to make my decision.However, care must be taken here not to overload SMEs with overly specific questions, which can either take a very long time to answer or, in case of doubt, cannot be answered.Challenge 2 - EfficiencyWhen I request primary data from my suppliers, it's important to consider what resources they have to deal with the topic of PCF as a whole. As an OEM or Tier 1, I usually have specialists for lifecycle assessment, so-called LCA experts, who deal with this professionally and in most cases have a significantly larger team compared to a Tier 2, Tier 3 or even Tier 4. Hence, it's crucial to recognize that my supplier does not have the same knowledge and resources as I do.Efficiency is a critical success factor in collaboration. Using software solutions for data retrieval is often deemed efficient. In most cases, this is also easier and saves time compared to collaborating via emails or Excel files. However, the journey cannot and should not end there, as the data is initially without context and detached from other business processes.Successful companies integrate the query of PCF values into existing processes along the product life cycle and thus create additional efficiency in collaboration. The purchasing process is a good example of this, as suppliers are already asked to submit their carbon data during the RfQ phase - parallel to the price information and integrated into the sourcing software. The supplier can use a tool to communicate with me as a customer, while I receive all the relevant data at the same time and in a bundled form.SupplyOn Product Footprint's seamless integration into the source-to-contract process provides decisive added value at this point, contributing to more efficient collaboration.However, efficiency is not just a question of the right software. Transparency and communication with suppliers are also crucial in view of the different levels of knowledge about PCF and the limited internal and external resources. The more understanding and knowledge in the supply chain on the subject, the better and faster the data feedback will be.Many companies therefore organize webinars, training sessions or entire supplier days specifically for their suppliers. SupplyOn supports its customers in this process and offers customized supplier community events to cover a wide range in an efficient and resource-saving manner.Challenge 3 - PriorityThe intensity with which companies advance decarbonization efforts is closely linked to the priority placed on sustainability. The importance of dealing with carbon data from the supply chain is influenced, for example, by the delivered industries, legal reporting requirements (keyword CBAM and CSRD) or the company's own corporate goals.Decarbonization competes with many other topics for attention and resources. Cost reduction, digitization, a shortage of specialists, delivery quality, availability - these are all challenges that also need to be overcome. It is therefore important to first define a clear strategy and prioritization within the company.In order to make the importance of PCF values clear to my suppliers, transparency and communication are once again important success factors. Without close cooperation and involvement of suppliers, sustainable carbon reduction along the entire supply chain is not possible. Again, community events and supplier days are among the best practices.In addition, the purchasing side can influence the priority given to suppliers by giving the PCF more weight in the award decision. It is already not uncommon today to take the carbon footprint of a product into account when making purchasing decisions. As the carbon price rises, the importance of the PCF will continue to increase.SummaryIn conclusion, it can be said that purchasing can make a major contribution to the decarbonization of the supply chain despite the major challenges. Selecting the appropriate software, implementing efficient, integrated internal and external processes, and maintaining transparent communication with suppliers are essential components.
Tim Rother · April 4, 2024 - reading time < 6 Min.
Carbon reduction in the supply chain – three fundamental challenges and solutions

Accelerating towards full digitization: The journey to 100%

With 100% of processes digitized and automated, a supply chain is a dream for every supply chain manager and the aim of many companies for many years. But why do so few reach the final goal of 100%? In the second episode of Inside Supply Chain, we get to the bottom of this question and also provide the solution - the 3+1 approach.On the home straight: With 80% so close and yet so far awayTaking a look at the example of a global company: Millions of transactions are processed annually in over 60 countries and in 20 different languages. As a result, digitization poses various challenges.Rare contact: The greatest difficulty lies in including business partners in the digital processes with whom only sporadic contact. According to the Pareto principle, these make up around 20% in most companies.Security gaps and the use of different communication channels: Due to the absence of regular exchange, communication often happens via channels such as telephone and e-mail. Not only is this inefficient, but security aspects also play a central role here. Especially in times of data and transactions protection being a top priority.Incorrect master data: If there is no regular contact, contact data is often incorrect or even missing - from changing contact persons to structural changes in the company. There are many reasons for insufficient data quality with infrequently contacted business partners.Increasing demand for compliance and fulfilling stricter ESG regulations: A 100% digital and automated process appears to be essential to ensure not only the efficiency but also the security of the supply chains.Achieving success with the 3+1 approachThe digitization of supply chain processes require not only technical solutions, but also a clear methodological structure. In this context, SupplyOn applies the 3+1 principles, which have proven to be a key strategy for an effective and secure conversion of the previously non-digitalized 20% of the supply chain processes.Principle 1: The transactional approachThe first principle, the transactional approach, extends further than the pure technical use and focuses on the targeted establishment of connections. Here any communication connection is only activated when essential for the process. This means a targeted reduction in unnecessary interfaces. It not only creates efficiency, but also minimizes potential vulnerabilities for security risks.Principle 2: Individual responsibilityThe second principle emphasizes individual accountability in gathering information. Instead of centralized data collection, the responsibility for researching and providing the required information lies with the respective parties. This not only promotes transparency, but also efficiency in fact-finding and reduces redundancies.Principle 3: Data clearing after each transactionThe third principle recommends consistent data clearing after completed transactions. Deleting contact data right after the transaction, ensures that only current and valid data is used for future business operations. This step is not only relevant from a data protection perspective, but also contributes to the quality of digital supply chain processes.The "Plus 1" principle: Monitoring and continuous improvementThe final step, usage monitoring and continuous improvement, closes the circle. It enables the analysis of past transactions, the identification of patterns and the continuous development of the system. By systematically evaluating the processes, weaknesses can be identified, security mechanisms optimized, and efficiency further increased. This iterative approach ensures that digital supply chain optimization is not seen as a singular measure but is continuously adapted to changing requirements.More than just closing a gapThe goal of these measures is not only to close the 20% gap, but also to provide incentives for users to further adopt digitization tools.This initiative also represents a pioneering step towards a digitally optimized supply chain structure in the context of global business activities. It demonstrates that the complete digitization of supply chains are not just steps towards increasing efficiency but also essential for closing security gaps. A consistent implementation of the 3+1 design principles focuses on efficiency, sustainability and security. It also creates a motivating incentive for partners and users to actively participate in this digital transformation.We are convinced that achieving 100% digitization brings challenges, but it is worth facing up to them: The result is a strengthening of competitiveness through increased efficiency - and thus securing the future viability of our customers.
Accelerating towards full digitization: The journey to 100%

Due diligence in the supply chain: What do suppliers have to consider?

The last Supplier Community Event was all about the importance and impact of current ESG regulations on suppliers. The term ESG is short for Environmental, Social and Governance. The participants got an overview of existing and upcoming ESG laws and guidelines. Our special focus lay on the German Supply Chain Act (LkSG).Therefore, we invited Dr. Martin Rothermel as a qualified speaker to convey this interesting but also very complex topic to our Supplier Community.Dr. Martin Rothermel is a lawyer at Taylor Wessing and a well-known expert on ESG regulations and the German Supply Chain Act in particular. The event was held once in German and twice in English in the morning and afternoon so that as many community members as possible from different time zones were able to attend.First Dr. Martin Rothermel gave a compact and informative overview of the most important ESG regulations.The European Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) came into force in 2023. It requires companies that are already required to report under the NFRD to report on certain sustainability topics in accordance with the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). By 2025, the CSRD's scope will be extended to companies that align at least two of the following criteria:more than 250 employeesa balance sheet total over €25 millionand/or a net sales exceeding €50 millionThe Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is an EU climate protection measure to prevent carbon leakage. CBAM ensures that the same carbon price is paid for imports as within the EU under the Emissions Trading System (ETS). Importing companies must screen their supply chains for CBAM goods and collect emission data from their suppliers. In the current transition phase, there is only a reporting obligation. From 2026, companies will have to purchase CBAM certificates when importing CBAM goods and pay a price for production-related carbon emissions.The German Supply Chain Act (LkSG) came into force on January 1st, 2023. From 2024, it applies to German companies with at least 1,000 employees. The LkSG obliges organizations to comply with human rights and environmental due diligence obligations in their own business operations and in the supply chain. This includes establishing a risk management system and conducting regular and ad hoc risk analyses.The EU is also working on its own directive for due diligence obligations in supply and value chains in the form of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). Some of the obligations and the impact on companies go beyond German law. The directive was just recently adopted by the EU Council and the EU Parliament Legal Affairs Committee. It will be voted on in a final vote in the plenary of the European Parliament in April 2024.ESG is the number two topic in procurement after cost efficiency (Deloitte 2023, CPO survey)With our ESG suite, large, small and medium-sized companies can comply with ESG regulations and drive their own sustainability transformation. SupplyOn as a central hub in the supply chain enables holistic and sustainable supply chain management by integrating ESG criteria on its platform.In summary, it can be concluded that ever more regulations at national and international level are obliging companies to adopt sustainable practices and transparent reporting. The demands are high and the development of ESG regulations is dynamic and complex. Companies are facing major challenges. ESG is not a separate issue, but an integral part of business practices, especially in purchasingTherefore, SupplyOn has made ESG a new strategic business area. As an interface between suppliers and customers, SupplyOn aims to integrate ESG to create a holistic and sustainable supply chain management system that benefits all participants.Sunny Chowdhury, Vice President of the new ESG department at SupplyOn and I, as a sustainability expert, presented SupplyOn's sustainability solutions that support suppliers and customers in meeting their individual ESG requirements.As part of the new SupplyOn ESG Suite, companies can use various software solutions to implement requirements from the LkSG, CBAM or the CSRD. The solutions enable the legally compliant implementation of ESG requirements by automating process steps to the maximum, seamless collaboration and data exchange between suppliers and customers and integrated action management. Existing and new customers benefit equally from SupplyOn's experience in supply chain management and its existing corporate network. Further information on the offerings can also be found on the new SupplyOn ESG website. Companies should not perceive sustainability as a threat, but as an opportunity and possibility to generate added valueIn summary, the event was a complete success, confirming not only the importance of the topic, but also the willingness and interest of the suppliers to contribute towards a sustainable transformation. The collaboration with Taylor Wessing also demonstrates SupplyOn's new positioning in the area of sustainability not only as a solution provider, but also a knowledge mediator for the creation of holistic and sustainable supply chain management.
Sabine Helm · March 21, 2024 - reading time < 5 Min.
Due diligence in the supply chain: What do suppliers have to consider?

Projects and tasks as a Full Stack Developer: Insights from Fangfang and Israel

What was your career like before you joined SupplyOn?Israel: I have been working as a Full Stack Software Developer for 5 years and have been with SupplyOn since 2023. I studied industrial engineering. During my studies, I already gained experience in software development through part-time jobs, internships and working student activities. I work remotely from Berlin.Fangfang: Before I started as a full stack software developer, I worked as a UI/UX designer in the IT industry for 8 years. For example, I managed websites in-house for various companies.There I already worked closely with full stack developers and discovered my interest in coding, but had no opportunity to gain professional experience in programming.Through the Full Stack Developer Java Bootcamp at neue fische GmbH, I managed to make a career entry at SupplyOn. How did you become interested in SupplyOn?Fangfang: The Java and React focus of my current project fits perfectly with the knowledge I acquired in the bootcamp. The frameworks are applied in a modern way at SupplyOn, which appealed to me.I also live near Hallbergmoos near Munich, so SupplyOn is also ideal for me in terms of location, as I personally like going to the office.Israel: I was looking for a new professional challenge as a full stack developer and heard about SupplyOn through a recruitment agency.In addition to the industry and working environment, what was exciting for me was that I could continue to apply my previous knowledge of the .NET framework, but also learn a lot of new things in my role.The possibility of flexible working hours and remote working from Berlin were also reasons for me to choose SupplyOn. What does a typical working day as a Full Stack Developer at SupplyOn look like?Israel:I usually start at around 8am and start coding. At 10 o'clock we have our stand-up. This is when we briefly discuss the current status with the rest of the team. We clarify who would like to go into more detail with whom in the team. After the stand-up, individual follow-up appointments are then arranged. The daily routine is then divided into meeting-free time, during which I program, and coordination meetings with team colleagues and the product owner.Fangfang:As we work with Scrum and therefore in sprints, there are also monthly meetings. At the end of each sprint, usually every other week on Fridays, we have a review meeting. This is where we present our results from the last two weeks to the Product Owner. This is followed by the retrospective. At this meeting, the Scrum Master, we as Full Stack Developers and our Product Owner come together and discuss how we can improve our collaboration. On the following Monday, we then start planning the next sprint. What all SupplyOn departments have in common is that all Scrum teams meet quarterly in line with SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) to discuss dependencies and risks and agree on the overall sprint planning for the next three months.Find out more about the role of Full Stack Software Developer at SupplyOn in Hallbergmoos near Munich on our Full Stack Developer careers page. How is the balance between front-end and back-end development handled in your position?Israel: When a user story or feature is implemented, it is the exception rather than the rule if only front-end or only back-end development is involved. Accordingly, I develop in both the front-end and back-end areas.At the beginning of the two-week cycle, during sprint planning, we decide which user stories are to be implemented.The tasks are clustered into sub-tasks. Sometimes we divide the front-end and back-end development between us, depending on the strengths and preferences of the team members. But we also implement both.Fangfang: For me, as a career changer coming from UI/UX, I am currently focusing on deepening my front-end knowledge.I would estimate that I do 70% front-end development and 30% back-end development. With my direct team colleague, it's the other way around.As full-stack software developers at SupplyOn, we have the opportunity to independently determine the proportion of programming we do. A 50%/50% split is not compulsory. What projects and challenges are you currently working on and which technologies and tools are you using specifically in the technology stack?Israel: In my team, we are currently working on a traceability application. This helps our customers to trace products down to the raw material level in order to solve quality problems quickly and continuously improve product quality.In the back-end, we write the software solution in the .NET Core Framework, ultimately developing a REST API that is then used by the front-end or other services. We use React for front-end development. We are free to choose the development environment. I prefer Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. Colleagues of mine work with JetBrains Rider, for example. Our applications then run on Azure Web Services.We carry out several customer projects simultaneously in the area of traceability. The application was developed a few years ago for a first customer and was expanded this year to include various use cases and multi-client capability.The aim now is to make the application as usable as possible for all customers and to support customers already working with the product in integrating the new features into their tool landscape.At the same time, a new product, the Product Carbon Footprint application, was developed. The challenge here was to certify it and ensure compatibility with the CatenaX industry network.Fangfang: My team is developing a Capacity Management solution for customers in the automotive and aerospace sectors. The application supports our customers in increasing the resilience of their supply chain through smart capacity management of suppliers.We use Spring Boot, Gradle and Docker as frameworks for back-end development. We program with IntelliJ as our development environment. Our databases are also based on Microsoft Azure Web Services. We also code the front end with React. We develop the software solution on a customized basis according to our customers' requirements.In our case, the customers have specific ideas about implementation and compatibility, so our challenge is to create the application end-to-end in a target-oriented and functional way.What I really like about SupplyOn is the professionalism of our Product Owner when it comes to working with Scrum: it is a real practice that we can only concentrate on software development and our sprint phases and the Product Owner cushions any issues that go beyond this.What does the code review and quality assurance process look like?Fangfang: There is a code review for every task. After pushing my code, my team colleagues read it and approve it before merging and branching can take place in the main branch. We have a high test quota, which must be met as a minimum. We write a test for almost every method.Israel: It's similar for us. We use Git for version management. We use Azure DevOps to host our Git repositories. New or changed code is always developed in a separate branch first, then we create pull requests.After running automatic pipelines, teammates check the code. This is done at least according to the four-eyes principle. We then usually run several feedback loops.After the (also automated) installation in the QA environment, further manual tests can be carried out. At the same time, the product owner can also test the new developments here and provide feedback on whether the requirements have been implemented as expected. How do you use the opportunities for professional development and training?Fangfang: Every two weeks on Thursday afternoons, we have a cross-team tech meeting and receive training from internal and external development teams on innovations, such as library updates or similar.Individual training requests can also be discussed with our manager. I am attending a React conference this year to keep up to date with trends in this framework and to get inspiration for my own work from keynote speeches.There are also standard training courses that we go through as Full Stack Software Developers at SupplyOn, such as SAFe training.Israel: I also find the exchange with colleagues for internal training very valuable. Most recently, I wanted to learn more about automated testing in front-end development and used learning platforms to do so.Self-organized learning and access to learning platforms are supported by SupplyOn. Our Scrum Master colleague Angila, for example, used it to deepen her knowledge of Docker and Kubernetes and tells you more about it in her experience report on Agile Learning. What is the corporate culture and working environment like in the team?Israel: Very friendly, personal but also very professional. The team members are always open to feedback and I find the collaboration very constructive. There is very good interaction with colleagues across all hierarchical levels.Fangfang: My team is very international. There are colleagues from China - like me -, India, Turkey, France, Ukraine and Germany. Everyone helps each other. I really like that. What flexibility do you have in terms of working hours and location?Israel: The flexibility of working hours and location was one of the main reasons why I chose SupplyOn. The working day is not overloaded with meetings and the meeting-free time is completely flexible and can be arranged individually.I can work from anywhere in Germany and several weeks a year from other European countries. I have already used mobile working abroad this year and would like to make even more use of it in the future. Why would you recommend SupplyOn as an employer to Full Stack Software Developers?Israel: SupplyOn is an established company, but also a company with a lot of potential that is still in the process of developing and where there are also many opportunities to help shape software development. SupplyOn is a very forward-looking company that attaches great importance to ensuring that we as employees continue to develop. This is also very important to me personally and is practiced here.Fangfang: Due to its size, there are still very flat hierarchies and there is comparatively little bureaucracy. In particular, lateral entrants or Software Developers with a previous focus on front-end or back-end development are given individual on-the-job training opportunities and can grow with their tasks. Like Fangfang and Israel, would you like to use your Full Stack Developer skills to help shape the collaboration of global supply chains in a sustainable way?Apply now for our Full Stack Developer positions:Full Stack Software Developer (w/m/d)Senior Full Stack Software Developer (w/m/d) 
Projects and tasks as a Full Stack Developer: Insights from Fangfang and Israel