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The Digital Product Passport is due to start — are you prepared?

Creating transparency across the entire life cycle of a product: this is what the Digital Product Passport (DPP) aims to achieve. On November 23, 2023, the European Commission published a regulation that will come into force in 2024. Due to the highly interconnected international supply networks, this regulation not only affects companies in the EU, but also has an indirect impact worldwide.What is the Digital Product Passport (DPP)?The regulation contains detailed requirements for the content of the DPP. The Digital Product Passport should contain information about the following topics:Product identity and origin Product composition and propertiesEnvironmental impact of the productProduct repairability and recyclabilityEvery citizen should then be able to access the described information via a QR code or a hyperlink attached to the product.The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) has already published a list of the product groups for which the DPP will be mandatory by 2025. These areEnergy consumption-relevant products: Household appliances, office equipment, consumer electronics and lighting fixturesLarge electrical and electronic equipment (EEE): Televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers and air conditionersTextiles: Clothing, shoes and bed linenPackaging: Plastic packaging, metal packaging and paper and cardboard packagingWhat is the Digital Product Passport for?According to the ministry, the introduction of the Digital Product Passport will make an important contribution to the circular economy. The DPP will enable consumers to make more sustainable consumption decisions. It will also help manufacturers to improve the environmental impact of their products.Concrete impacts of the DPP:Consumers will be able to recognize more easily which products are repairable and which are not. This will help to ensure that more products are repaired and fewer end up in the garbage can.Manufacturers will be encouraged to design their products in such a way that they can be repaired more easily. This will lead to an extension of the service life of products.The recyclability of products will be improved. This will help to ensure that more raw materials from old products can be reused.The introduction of the DPP will be an important step towards a more sustainable economy.Implementation of the digital product passport in practiceThe SupplyOn Traceability solution supports customers and suppliers along the supply chain in collecting and providing the data required for the DPP. The data is then available to authorized users for further processing in the SupplyOn Data Lake called DAISY (data space industry). In addition, SupplyOn's Digital Twin solution offers a wide range of options for providing data to all participants in the industrial network.The EU has already announced that the list of mandatory product groups will be expanded in the future. The European Commission plans to review and adapt the DPP regulation every three years. SupplyOn will follow developments very closely and expand its services for new product groups and content accordingly.
Christian Kastl · March 1, 2024 - reading time < 3 Min.
The Digital Product Passport is due to start — are you prepared?

Supply Chain Digitization: accomplishments, tasks and insights from Kathrin

Kathrin Reimann has been working at SupplyOn in Hallbergmoos near Munich since 2018. She started as a working student and is now a Senior Consultant Supply Chain Digitization, managing customer projects in the area of Supply Chain Collaboration and Transport Management. What are your tasks as a Consultant Supply Chain Digitization at SupplyOn?I take care of the implementation of customer projects in various modules of our SupplyOn platform. The focus of my tasks is on implementing customer requirements in the Transport Management Systems (TMS) module and our Supply Chain Collaboration Platform (SCC). I support customers from the conception of the future process to the test setup and go-live.My tasks also include training on individual SupplyOn applications. Both for customer key users and for new employees. I train them in how to set up and maintain our systems and explain what configuration options are available.I mainly carry out my tasks from my home office. One exception was my trip to Shanghai in September this year. I spent two weeks there supporting and training our Chinese colleagues on an ongoing local project in China. I really enjoyed the international exchange.You can find out more about the tasks and role of the Consultant Supply Chain Digitization at SupplyOn in Munich on our Consulting careers page. What does a typical working day or week look like as a Consultant Supply Chain Digitization at SupplyOn?We usually start on Monday morning with a team overview: We have a quick chat on our weekend activities and then, in the second part of the meeting, we discuss who is taking on which tasks this week and which topics are on the agenda.The day is then divided into several internal and external appointments (mainly via MS Teams, occasionally on site), as well as meeting-free working hours.In the customer meetings, current requirements are coordinated, challenges are clarified and the project status and next steps are discussed.The internal meetings are used, for example, to align with product development. As consultants, we provide input here so that the product developers receive first-hand feedback. Both from us as application professionals and directly from the customer.In some cases, we also support our sales team with new customer demos or detailed questions.In the meeting-free time, we configure systems such as our SupplyOn Portal or the Transport Management System and prepare workshops or customer scenarios.How many customer projects are you currently working on and what specific challenges are you solving?As a Senior Consultant Supply Chain Digitization, I am currently working on six customer projects for four different customers. The number of customer projects varies greatly for us and depends on various factors. For example, it depends on the customer's project phase. But the preferences within the team are also taken into account when assigning projects.One challenge that I am currently tackling together with some customers is the creation of transparency regarding the daily location of delivery goods and delivery materials for production. For example, these customers do not yet know where materials and goods are located after pick-up and whether delayed transport may have an impact on production. Any transport status is missing. The TMS module, for example, could provide more visibility here. Every transport status is recorded and displayed transparently for the customer. The customer has clarity about where the goods are moving and can plan more efficiently.Another challenge my customers face is providing evidence and traceability as to whether and where potential damage has occurred during the transport process. To this end, we use a mobile app solution to offer transport service providers the opportunity to report damage directly upon collection of the goods.The results from the mobile app are systematically mapped on our platform and can be enriched with photos, status updates, etc. to provide better evidence. As a result, the customer receives a systematic recording and logging of damage to delivered goods and materials and can better understand complaints from transport service providers and take countermeasures earlier if necessary.How does your role as a Consultant Supply Chain Digitization influence your customers' business development? In the examples mentioned above, the solution to my customers' challenges helps them to be able to produce more efficiently and transparently and thus save costs.At the same time, some customers, with whom I usually have a close relationship of trust, involve me in new topics at an early stage. They ask me for advice on how certain problems can be solved using our system landscape. What was your career like before you joined SupplyOn and how did you become interested in the supply chain industry?I completed my Bachelor's degree in Business Administration at LMU Munich with a minor in Computer Science and my Master's degree in Management and Technology at TU Munich. During my studies, I did an internship semester and repeatedly took on working student jobs, which gave me an insight into different areas of the company.After working as a student trainee in the area of supplier evaluation, I specifically looked around for working student digitization jobs in this area in Munich and came across SupplyOn.What particularly appealed to me about SupplyOn in consulting was not only the digitization of processes but also the area of process analysis and process improvement.How has your career as a Consultant Supply Chain Digitization at SupplyOn developed?I started in 2018 as a working student in the consulting department and was already involved in preparing customer workshops and analysing data. In some cases, I was already allowed to take on junior tasks.The following year, I wrote my master's thesis in the Invoicing department at SupplyOn on the topic of "Influences of electronic invoicing on key financial figures".After completing my studies, I applied for a junior position and started at SupplyOn in November 2019 in the Consulting SCC/TMS team with Martin Zwingmann. Here I was able to work directly on a major project, a transport management system migration for our customer Schindler.After successfully completing the project, I was promoted to Consultant Supply Chain Digitisation in 2021.I gradually took on more responsibility: I managed projects, initially sub-projects, then several customer projects in full and in parallel.I also supervised employees, such as working students in the team, and trained new colleagues.At the beginning of 2023, I was promoted to Senior Consultant Supply Chain Digitization.You can find out more about possible development stages in the Consultant Supply Chain Digitization role at SupplyOn on our Consulting career page. How do you collaborate with other teams and departments within SupplyOn?We work very closely with our corresponding team, Product Development Transport Management System, before and during product development and specify and test features, for example.We occasionally exchange ideas with other consulting teams from the Finance and Supply Chain Collaboration departments.What always helps me personally in the initial phase of complex large-scale projects are brainstorming sessions with process flow models (if already known) on the whiteboard or via Microsoft Visio. I welcome the fact that these often take place in the office, where we can all see each other in person.I would describe the collaboration as very trusting. The working atmosphere within Consulting is generally open and collegial. There is no one you can't ask for advice and you help each other.What excites you most about your position as Consultant Supply Chain?We still have a varied field of activity. It never gets boring, which is also very important to me personally. I always feel comfortable at SupplyOn and am challenged and encouraged.And my interest in digitization and process optimization has remained the same even after five years at SupplyOn. I am always delighted when we implement smoothly running end-to-end processes for customer projects that ideally no longer require 1000 manual interventions. I particularly like it when customer projects, which we have usually worked towards for months or years, are finally realized and take flight. What opportunities for further training and development does SupplyOn offer to consultants  in the area of supply chain digitization?In Consulting, there are internationally recognized qualifications in which we undergo further training. In the area of project management, for example, PRINCE2 or a training course on "Winning Complex Sales".Individual requests for further training can be addressed during the annual feedback meetings, in which personal requests for further education and training can be taken into account and agreed.So far, I have been invited to various presentation training sessions, for example on designing slides for presentations to a steering committee. In the future, I am looking forward to moderation training and/or conflict management training.SupplyOn also supports self-organized learning via digital learning platforms such as Udemy and LinkedIn Learning. Learn more about this in the interview with my colleague Angila.Where will your career take you in the future? Do you already have plans or wishes?My greatest wish is to never be bored.So far, my career at SupplyOn has developed by successively taking on new responsibilities.To keep things exciting, I can imagine taking on more different projects in the future, for example building up expertise in other SupplyOn modules or continuing to support the team in the USA/China. I am also open to a management role in a smaller (sub-)team. How do you ensure a balance between work and private life?I find our flexible working time models very positive. From a doctor's appointment, which can only be attended at certain times, to other private commitments, I can take advantage of these when customer appointments and the workload allow and organise my working hours as I wish.I also think mobile working abroad is a very cool benefit at SupplyOn, which I like to take advantage of. I spent a few days with a colleague in Thessaloniki this summer, for example, where we worked together remotely and could relax together in the city or on the beach after work.Otherwise, the workload itself depends on the project cycle. For example, there are definitely "hot" phases in the day-to-day work of a Consultant Supply Chain Digitization when projects are completed. The workload is then higher. However, I then try to compensate for this in quieter project phases.I generally work with appointment blockers. From 4 p.m. onwards, I generally have a meeting-free period in which I continue to work on important topics. During lunchtime, I schedule a fixed break in my diary every day and consciously arrange to meet with the team in the office twice a week to exchange ideas. What skills are crucial to be successful in the role of a Consultant Supply Chain Digitization?It is helpful to have a certain intrinsic motivation and the ability to think processes through to the end. Curiosity and a willingness to familiarize yourself with new systems are also a benefit. An affinity for IT and a basic technical understanding are ideal. In my experience, the relevant expertise in transport management systems or supply chain collaboration is helpful, but not crucial, as this can be learnt on the job as you go along. What advice can you give future SupplyOn applicants if they want to apply for the position of Consultant Supply Chain Digitization?Personally, getting a taste of the company as a working student really helped me to form an opinion and sound out my interests. So my tip is: just try it out and get to know SupplyOn and the subject area! Has Kathrin's experience report as a Consultant Supply Chain Digitization piqued your interest?Apply now asJunior Consultant Supply Chain DigitizationSenior Consultant Supply Chain Digitization
Carina Schmitz · February 22, 2024 - reading time < 10 Min.
Supply Chain Digitization: accomplishments, tasks and insights from Kathrin

2024 — the year of change

Like most people this year, I had every intention of writing about the New Year in January, but honestly, the busyness of last year never stopped; it carried over not only from last year, but from 2022, through the holidays, and into this year. Now I feel like I blinked and landed in February. It seems only fitting to write about this new year during the Lunar New Year, especially since this is the Year of the Dragon. Dragons are a revered symbol of power and thought. It is considered the luckiest sign in the Chinese Zodiac. If you know me, then you know my pension for dragons. This year, the mythical creature is paired with the element of wood, which is said to bring good fortune, action and growth. What better way to get started on my old 2020 goals that have reemerged from lockdown and new goals than to blaze a new trail on the heels of a fierce dragon? After the pandemic crisis came to a screeching halt, organizations had to scramble and implement stopgap measures just to get by. When we emerged from the pandemic in 2021, it was paralyzing, with an uncertain world around us while we figured out the new normal. In 2022, organizations began to share more about the challenges they were facing and put effort into understanding new ideas and solutions that could change their current state. In 2023, I saw organizations get more serious about change, especially around digital transformation strategies and initiatives. Now, finally, 2024 is the year when organizations will be driven to change.10 success factors for digital supply chain transformationHere are my mission-critical, key factors for successful supply chain digital transformation in 2024 and beyond:True leadership: Digital transformation is more than a one-time mandate from headquarters; it is a true commitment. It requires an ongoing effort from a C-level leader to not only educate and drive this change, but also to bring their best street fighting skills and rocket science thinking cap to ultimately make the change happen.Strong team: Assemble the best teams that get it and share the vision, passion, and drive to work together to understand and document the current situation, research solutions, build a business case, plan deployment, lead internal and external change management, launch, and work to continually improve processes and the solution.Partnership: Digital transformation is an investment in every sense of the word. The right supply chain collaboration tool is a complex solution that connects data from multiple data points. It requires analysis, planning, design, mapping, configuration, testing, and training. To make this transformation a success, it's critical to choose a solution provider that can guide, educate, support, and share your vision and mission. One that will be with you before, during and after.Be open: With any type of change, it's critical to be open to different ideas, processes, and solutions. The digital world moves at lightning speed and has changed for the better. It can be hard not to get stuck in the past with old technology that maybe didn't work well and outdated concepts that are no longer relevant. Step back, explore, and look at the big picture to find a new way.Understand ROI: Return in Investment (ROI) is both tangible and intangible. It will also vary from one organization to the next. There is no quick ROI answer for a solution; it's going to take some work to build it so it's real and measurable. For the tangible part, the starting point must come from existing data and be aligned with financial goals. For example, simple goals might be to reduce inventory or emergency freight costs. This is easy enough to do the math with current costs and then figure out the reduction targets. The intangible ROI can be much harder to measure, but the benefits can be more impactful. For example, reducing manual effort could result in a happier team that can be proactive rather than reactive, which in turn could result in better planning, optimized build schedules, less overtime, better pricing, less downtime, more on-time deliveries, and some very surprising cost savings. For the intangible ROI, talk to your team and create an estimate. Then align that with some of their goals.Budget: Digital transformation is an investment and requires money to make it happen. A realistic budget with a twenty percent contingency is optimal. It's also critical to look beyond the annual fee for the solution and understand that there are not only external implementation costs, but also internal resources required to implement new solutions, such as a one-to-one ratio of days from your solution provider. It's also important to know what's really included in the package beyond the bottom line price tag. Also, do not forget to budget for change management if you want the project to be successful.Change Management: Implementing a new solution without a change management strategy is like buying a car without wheels and expecting it to go anywhere. Change management requires a solid plan that includes clear goals and messaging, an internal and external portal with information, training and progress. It requires a strong kick-off presentation from leadership and an ongoing, scalable dialogue both internally and externally with stakeholders.The right solution: Finding the right solution and tools takes some time and research. Make sure it meets your current needs, but is also scalable for your future. Configurable is definitely better than custom, as the latter can turn into something that cannot be updated later. Continual enhancements and updates are also a plus to avoid painful and costly migrations in the future. Make sure it works with any ERP and 3rd party solution. It should have plenty of support options. Most importantly, it should be easy to use—after all, it's no good if it's not used.Realistic goals: While there is an urgency to digital transformation, the process takes time and internal teams are working on this mission in addition to their full-time jobs. Depending on the day-to-day business, the research phase alone can have many starts and stops. Planning, budgets, internal approvals, legal, alignment, and preparation can also be delayed. Faster isn't better if the solution isn't right, the implementation isn't done right, and the whole project lacks change management.Solid roadmap: It's easy to get excited and geeked out about digital transformation. Don't skip the planning stages. Create a solid roadmap for your journey, and know that it's okay to make mid-course corrections if necessary. Be flexible, open and mindful.2024! Ready. Set. Go in like a dragon.
Cathy Sue Carpenter · February 13, 2024 - reading time < 6 Min.
2024 — the year of change

New features live: the results of Program Increment 2023-03 and 2023-04

May we present the new features that our developers have realized over the past months. These are the highlights from the different areas: Visibility & AnalyticsOur goal? Continuously increasing transparency for transports! In the Container Tracking Overview customers can now view the current position of the ships with their shipments on a map. The color scale shows whether the shipments arrive on time (green) or whether there are deviations (yellow or red depending on the length of the delay). Supply Chain CollaborationThere are many new functions to discover in Supply Chain Collaboration:In the order overview, a preview now shows orders in PDF format and allows to navigate through the list at the same time.Previously, collaboration within the solution could only happen between the customer and their suppliers. With "Extended Collaboration", the customer can now define an additional party (for example a logistics service provider) that performs certain tasks for one or more suppliers.The overview of call-offs (call-off preview, delivery call-offs, detailed call-offs) now also appears in a new and modern user interface.In the Capacity Management solution, our development teams have added an assessment-driven component. The customer can use it to carry out a structured evaluation of the supplier's capacity data. This is particularly helpfulin case of poor quality,in the start-up phase and for new developments,for strategically important parts,for new suppliers - or simply to reduce the general risk in the supply chain. Supplier Quality ManagementThe compact "All Questions" overview allows users to view all questions in the Technical Review solution and analyze their status at a glance. If required, users can also access a specific question directly from here. This function is very useful for both customers and suppliers, especially for complex questionnaires.In the Problem Solver solution, it is now possible to work with a database when manually entering material master data. This is particularly interesting for customers who do not use their own backend system. AirSupplyWithin AirSupply the Practical Problem Solver (9S) has also seen some changes:The new analysis solution with KPIs can be used to monitor the performance and number of 9S documents created over time.The "Quality Wall" is now also available as an additional tool for improving quality. The customer can activate it on a 9S document to carry out additional important checks.The customer can now also record identified quality defects - so-called non-qualities - and share them with the supplier.With the advanced search, users can create and save their repeated searches as individual profiles.  So many new functions! Stay tuned and discover the results of the current development phase!
Lena Zuber · February 9, 2024 - reading time < 3 Min.
New features live: the results of Program Increment 2023-03 and 2023-04

Taking ownership at work: examples from Pia and Xiurong

"Taking Ownership" is a philosophy of corporate culture and a professional attitude in which employees actively and autonomously take responsibility for their work, projects and tasks, which we at SupplyOn welcome and encourage. It includes commitment, initiative, a sense of responsibility and self-motivation. On this subject, we interviewed Maria-Pia Drago and Xiurong Cai, Product Owner and Integration Specialist in the Visibility & Analytics Department.Learn more about Maria-Pia and Xiurong's approach to solving problems, driving innovation and promoting their professional development in the interview. Enjoy reading!How do you motivate yourself to proactively tackle issues, manage challenges and implement innovative ideas in your area of responsibility?Pia: I am fundamentally motivated by being interested in my job. It's very multifaceted. Each day I am confronted with different topics. This motivates me to constantly learn something new and to deal with different tasks and then successfully tackle them.I also enjoy working with my colleagues very much. The good atmosphere in the team, the team spirit. That keeps me motivated every day.SupplyOn as a company also motivates me. I feel supported as an employee and have the opportunity to work on different projects. An example for this was an internal leadership workshop. Taking part made me feel like I was really a part of the company and not just a number.Xiurong: My greatest motivation is my curiosity to learn more about myself and the world. The challenges fascinate me. For me, it's exciting to see that you can take different approaches to solving a problem. I am very interested in pursuing them, analyzing and evaluating them and testing different methods to find a solution.I strive to grow together as a team. People think differently depending on their experience and background. Working together as a team, I therefore enjoy sharing my experience and perspective on problems and learning more about my colleagues' approaches. In this way, I experience that we can learn from each other as a team and grow together.How do you take a proactive approach to identifying and dealing with challenges in your area of work?Pia: Challenges often become apparent in discussions with colleagues or during status analyses. This is when I look at the current status of the issue and consider how I can take a step-by-step approach. I like drawing up a short plan or process for this. I ask myself the following questions: What is my problem? What are the individual points that I should tackle now? How do I prioritize them? And how do I find my solution? To avoid potential blinkers, I get feedback from colleagues.Xiurong: Personally, I am a very data-oriented person. I observe the challenges and categorize them. I use internally documented findings, comments from colleagues, external community insights, e.g. from forum posts - and thanks to the AI boom - machine-supported impulses. This kind of data-based approach suits me very well. This gives me the feeling that I can evaluate the situation objectively. If I need decisions from my manager or buy-in from other departments to solve the tasks, I proactively approach them and ask for feedback.What steps do you take to actively work on your professional development and how do you proactively contribute to promoting innovation?Pia: I always try to keep myself informed. For my own professional self-development, I'm a huge fan of workshops or online courses that you have access to quickly. I use the LinkedIn Learning access provided to me by SupplyOn to attend training courses. I get a sneak peek into different subject areas and get to grips with them to expand my range of knowledge.In my opinion, innovation can only occur when there is an interest in trying out new things. Driven by the curiosity I've already described, I try to implement things in product development that we didn't have before at SupplyOn, which may also require a new concept. It is also important to me to initiate and drive forward new, value-adding topics within the company.Xiurong:My philosophy is: "Learning is a lifelong journey in different phases." I differentiate between active and passive learning channels. Passive for me means training up on the job. I receive goals and requirements from colleagues and then implement them.For me, learning on the job also means actively learning about topics that are interesting to me beyond my work tasks. For example, I have developed an interest in being able to understand my colleagues' code beyond debugging and have taught myself other programming languages through online courses.However, learning in a work context is just a small part of the learning journey. In my opinion, most of it takes place outside of work. For example, I'm currently spending a lot of time learning about AI, because the current AI boom isn't just changing the way we work, it's really changing our world. Other topics I'm currently learning more about include neural networks, PyTorch and deep learning.Personally, learning is an important prerequisite for innovation. In order being able to continuously learn in the subject areas that interest me, I have built my own, customizable AI tutor that provides me with the learning content that interests me and helps me to progress.I set up sources and used them to create my own news channel. My AI tutor extracts information from websites, provides me with tech news from sites I follow - e.g. from LinkedIn and content from Telegram or WhatsApp. I have created bots that request this information for me. I use ChatGPT to customize my learning topics. Instead of sitting in front of my PC for several hours studying, I consume my personalized learning information in bites on my smartphone or tablet every day, for example on my way to work.What steps do you take as a team member to proactively promote a culture of ownership in your team or at SupplyOn?Pia: In the meantime, there are four product owners in the team with different expertise and experience. I suggested that we set up a small PO group to exchange ideas. We realized in the group that this regular exchange helps us to structure our day-to-day work. We recognize similar problems that we have with customers, for example, give each other tips and define new processes that could help us. This mutual support helps us move forward.Xiurong:Whenever I see that colleagues are facing challenges that I can help to solve based on my experience or my mindset, I approach them. Officially, it may not be my job, but I think it's a win-win for all parties to share the way we think. It helps us to develop together.What tips or advice would you give to people who are interested in living the concept of "Taking Ownership" in their own work and career, but may not dare to do so because they may be afraid of change?Pia:As a general rule, you shouldn't approach something new with a feeling of fear. Instead, my tip is to always plan a short period of observation in order to minimize any potential feelings of uncertainty. Take a look at the change, reflect on it and let it sink in. This is the only way to work out both the positive and negative factors. So my advice is: be open and courageous, don't be afraid! Observe first and then form an opinion.Xiurong: I also believe that we should always be open to change and new technologies. My recommendation is to be better prepared for a changing world and to adapt your way of thinking to the changing way of working. Because the world is changing, and anyone who doesn't change with it will be changed by it.Innovation always means testing and making mistakes. So my tip is to aim for small, incremental changes that you can take back and correct before pushing forward on a larger scale. I think this could be a good compromise when evaluating the risk between change and stability for people who are afraid of change.Are you interested in working in a company where personal responsibility is expressly encouraged? Then we look forward to receiving your application! To our job advertisements: SupplyOn Group
Carina Schmitz · January 25, 2024 - reading time < 8 Min.
Taking ownership at work: examples from Pia and Xiurong

Supplier Community Event: Customer voices and supplier feedback on Transport Management

The Supplier Community Event on the topic of Transport Management was a complete success. Valuable tips and tricks paired with practical insights from Bosch Building Technologies and ZF Friedrichshafen — discover all the highlights of the event here. As Manager for Supply Chain Collaboration and Transport Management, Martin gave the opening speech of the event. He pointed out the benefits for suppliers when using the solution: seamless communication centralized in one place and traceable for both sides at all times. This is because the demand and ordering processes intertwine:almost all FPAs (Forwarder Pick-up Advices) are based on previous demand notificationsand the ASNs (Advance Shipping Notification) are then based on the FPAsThis eliminates both media breaks and double entries. Insights from customer voicesChristian Schwab (Head of E2E-Logistics) demonstrated the comprehensive and successful use of the Transport Management solution at ZF Friedrichshafen: both inbound and outbound transports are managed centrally, regardless of the type of transport — whether land or sea freight. ZF relies on the cooperation of suppliers and a holistic approach. Around 50 plants are currently fully connected to the solution, handling around 1,000 shipments per day. Impressive figures, but there is more to come: Christian is planning further expansion towards a seamless, worldwide usage.Alexander Radtke (Vice President Logistics) presented the use of SupplyOn Transport Management at Bosch Building Technologies - from the initial motivation to the planning and strategy for 2024: Nowadays, the solution is used in inbound and resource planning, in manufacturing as well as to improve the ecological footprint. Alexander incorporates supplier feedback into further solution development. On request, the booking of transports was recently optimized and simplified for suppliers. The goal for 2024: 100 % coverage of inbound transport. Life hacks around Transport ManagementIt wouldn't be a Supplier Community Event if tips & tricks for even more efficient use of the solution weren't also on the agenda. Daniela and Matthias ran through typical scenarios from everyday supplier business and revealed helpful life hacks on…Using views and filters sensiblyCopying, cancelling or deleting FPAsSetting up warningsPrinting labelsAutomation with EDISpeaking about effective usage, Andreas, Manager for EDI, presented the benefits and requirements of an EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) integration. Here, one system sends data automatically to another, avoiding manual data entry. This saves time and effort and is also less prone to errors. New feature, yes or no? Suppliers votedWho could give a better outlook on the further development of the solutions than Mirjam, the Product Manager herself? Firstly, she presented the planned new functions. She then asked the audience to vote on whether an address book feature for carrier data would be helpful and should be realized. The majority of the community voted in favor of introducing the function. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for taking part in the poll and look forward to incorporating user feedback into the development of the solution. However, it is not only during the Supplier Community Events that suppliers have the opportunity to contribute to product development. As Mario, founder of the Supplier Community and Head of Supplier Management, reported, suppliers can currently vote for the next feature to be implemented in the Supplier Forum.We would like to thank everyone involved in this event for their contribution to making it a complete success and are already looking forward to the next one!
Regina Schmitz · January 18, 2024 - reading time < 3 Min.
Supplier Community Event: Customer voices and supplier feedback on Transport Management

Aviation Forum 2023: navigating the future of aerospace

Held on December 5, 2023, the Aviation Forum 2023 showcased the industry's resilience and determination, commencing sharply at 9:00 am. Despite adverse weather conditions that caused numerous flight cancellations, over 1,300 attendees, 130 exhibitors, and 70 speakers converged for the two-day event. Beyond the impressive numbers, the event quality was also reflected by the insightful contributions and discussions which encapsulated the current state, challenges, and opportunities of the aerospace industry.In essence, all the discussions revolved around a common goal: shaping the future of aerospace.Ramping up: a multifaceted challengeThe aerospace industry is gearing up for a substantial increase in production, targeting approximately 100 aircraft per month. Although international traffic is approaching pre-COVID levels, Airbus and its suppliers face a multifaceted challenge amid a poly-crisis, encompassing issues like interest rates, climate challenges, and material shortages.Managing the ramp-up is not a singular challenge but a poly challenge, given the myriad of interconnected issues.Collaboration emerged as a pivotal theme, recognizing that 80 % of the industry's added value stems from procurement activities. Cooperation between different tiers and OEMs is deemed crucial for future success.Collaboration: unlocking supply chain efficienciesJürgen Westermeier, CPO of Airbus, emphasized that collaboration is key to enhancing supply chain efficiencies. Airbus introduced four major initiatives:ZeroM: aimed at reducing the impact of supply chain disruptionsAXEXX: focused on increasing competitiveness and reducing costsAeroExcellence: a cross-industry initiative to mature supplier industriesNextEra: aiming to secure industrial continuity through collaboration and data leverageSustainability: the future license to operateSustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is crucial for its sustainability efforts, but the industry is also exploring alternative energy sources, such as liquid hydrogen (LH2) fuel cells and GKNA LH2 concepts.Holistic sustainability requires the involvement of all stakeholders: suppliers, OEMs, operators, regulators, and political and business leaders.In addition to alternative energy, industry efforts include recycling materials, exploring eco-friendly alternatives, reducing buffer stocks, and leveraging data and technology for a greener future.Challenges and opportunities aheadOne of the major topics for the future is the concept of a "digital material passport". Efficient systems and digitization will be essential for tracking materials throughout the aircraft lifecycle.Another future topic are environmentally friendly materials such as green aluminum or green steel. Yet industry acceptance is still at an early stage for these potential alternatives.Reducing unnecessary buffer stocks is crucial not only for cost but also for sustainability.Collaborative, transparent, and open use of data and technology can drive a greener future, too. But the industry grapples with the challenge of building trust and taking decisive action. In conclusion, the Aviation Forum 2023 illuminated the path forward for the aerospace industry, emphasizing collaboration, sustainability, and technological innovation as key drivers for future success.
Jorge Alvarado da Piedade · January 11, 2024 - reading time < 3 Min.
Aviation Forum 2023: navigating the future of aerospace

Health and success: tips from Thomas

As Vice President, Thomas Bickert is responsible for the SRM & Portal Solutions division at SupplyOn with over 35 employees. His department designs and develops integrated solutions for successful supplier relationship management - supplier management, source-to-contract and  supplier quality management. In the context of the SupplyOn Health Weeks, we asked him for personal insights and tips on health and work-life integration. Enjoy the reading!How important s health to you and how do you personally integrate time for your own well-being?Health is an important issue for me, particularly because I expect to keep my job for longer. I want to stay fit for a long time. Not only for me personally, but also for my family. However, I am not someone who goes to extremes in terms of sports and nutrition. I try to eat balanced and do sports on a regular basis. But I am not a top athlete and do not exercise daily. I try to maintain a healthy balance.How has your own engagement with health evolved during your career and what experiences have strengthened your focus on this important issue?I realized over time that I can't just perform. At some point, you must pay attention to signals from your body and take them seriously if you don't want to struggle with any ailments on a permanent basis.In my experience, every person, every body, has certain stress valves (e.g. back problems, knee pain, infections). When things get too stressful, they react. Probably everyone knows these points for themselves. I know mine. This is where you need to actively deal with them and decide. Do I want this permanently? If not, you need to adjust your behavior.A few years ago, these valve points were the determining factor for me to rethink. So, I started asking myself questions: What am I changing? What am I actively modifying? Where do I set limits?I implemented my personal answers, and I'm now living a good life with them.Certainly, you often have a busy workday and deal with a high workload. How do you manage to switch off from your daily work routine and maintain a healthy work-life balance?Time and self-management is essential for me. This personally helps me a lot, and I always try to optimize and develop it for myself. This begins with perception. I start to focus on the contexts in which I'm moving. Am I currently in the context of work? Or in the context of family, for example?Each context has specific rules for me. In the context of work, I focus 100% on my work and exclude my private life. This also means, that in my private life, I focus completely on my family life. For each context, it is very important for me being able to rely on managing things.For me, an important learning is to recognize that I can't work through everything. Because that will never happen. At some point I said: There will always be work for the next day and I will never get my inbox down to zero.In this process, I believe it is important to develop a method or approach that offers a feeling of confidence and to find the right balance between personal ability and the expectations of the company or team. This self-organization leads to satisfaction, self-affirmation and prevents negative stress.How do you support your employees in improving their own work-life balance and taking care of their personal well-being?I trust in the self-responsibility of each individual and in the fact that my employees will take measures and give me signals if there is an imbalance. Taking this into account, I see it as my responsibility to recognize and respect the limits of my employees and not to influence them negatively. For example, if employees tell me that they pursue a hobby at certain times during flexible working hours and cannot be reached at that time, I respect that.It is not part of SupplyOn's culture to expect people to be available outside of regular working hours. We don’t have a - I write an e-mail at 9 p.m. in the evening and expect a response by 7 a.m. the next morning.I communicate this actively. It is even more important to demonstrate this in your own behavior.What advice would you give (younger, less experienced) employees about setting boundaries and reaching that balance you named?It is very important that you already have the understanding that this is a process. A highly individual one. No one can dictate that. In my opinion, there is no pattern, and a healthy balance will not appear by accident. Everyone needs to figure that out for themselves: Some people need more to be satisfied, others less.One thing that helped me personally was confidence. Trust in my own performance. Trust in my own assessment of the fact what I'm doing is good. This confidence is also generated through feedback.I would recommend getting feedback proactively by the organization. Is this how it works? Is this what is expected of me? Do they expect more? And not just to reflect on this with your manager, but also with colleagues or customers.Be confident to actively ask for feedback, managing your own expectations and building trust as a result. Recognize: What I'm accomplishing is enough. Or recognizing that not so much is expected of you, but you are putting pressure on yourself and stressing yourself out.Colleagues may also be surprised of how much you can achieve and perform during your available time, and you realize being able to slow down. It's worth making that adjustment and investing in your own self-confidence!Thank you, Thomas, for the great insights and tips! Are you interested in an employer who cares about your health? Learn more about our benefits and find out about our job offers.
Carina Schmitz · December 6, 2023 - reading time < 6 Min.
Health and success: tips from Thomas

Leonardo extends AirSupply to the entire supply chain and kicks off second phase of Leap

From 2018 to 2021, the value of production in the Leonardo-led supply chain grew by 14 percent, from 21.4 to 24.4 billion euros. How was this possible? Leonardo is a large defense and aerospace company, a sector that in Italy includes other major players such as Thales Alenia Space, Avio Aereo and Macaer. The company led by Roberto Cingolani, just in 2018 initiated the important Leap (Leonardo Empowering Advanced Partnerships) program with the dual purpose of creating a digitally integrated ecosystem and promoting advancement in terms of innovation and resilience of strategic suppliers. Quality, cost, time, and technology utilization targets were defined. Then, Leap evolved: sustainability targets were added, with Leap - Partnership for Sustainability. But all this would have been difficult to achieve without AirSupply.But what is AirSupply? It is a powerful tool for purchasing departments (provided by SupplyOn, a company with headquarters in Hallbergmoos, near Munich, but also with offices in China and the United States). It is a shared industrial Cloud platform that optimizes more than just the working relationship between the manufacturer and suppliers, but also communication with suppliers in the downstream supply chain. It enables suppliers not only to connect and receive purchase orders; but also to change, within certain limits, delivery times and quantities. Above all, the platform is characterized by high visibility: suppliers can see if there is a decrease in demand from Leonardo's customers, and based on that they can adjust their raw material purchases. If, on the other hand, demand is robust, they can make longer-term purchases, which result in financial savings. This has increased the resilience of the supply chain, and allowed Leonardo to shorten lead times.87 percent of the 4,000 suppliers using the platform are SMEs. For example, Lombardy-based Logic (active in the development of avionics and electromechanical subsystems and components); Marche-based Civitanavi Systems (which makes inertial navigation and stabilization systems); Apulia-based Manta Group (which produces aerostructures for both fixed and rotary wings); and Campania-based Ala (active in the distribution and supply of advanced logistics services). Leap's next step? That of working on CO2 emissions. The context is still the Partnership for Sustainability, but the idea is to reduce the environmental impact of companies. That is the challenge for the next few years, and it concerns, of course, the whole supply chain. Progress toward the targets will be measured scientifically.Giacinto Carullo, Chief Procurement & Supply Chain Officer at Leonardo, talks about all this.What information systems do you use for dealing with your supplier network? What technologies?We use the AirSupply system, a powerful procurement management tool used by large Groups such as Airbus, Thales, Safran, Dassault, Liebherr, Premium Aerotech and Daher. It was to harmonize and standardize collaboration with suppliers to have a common digital platform and procurement process within the group. AirSupply enables high traceability, responsiveness and inventory control in our supply chain. First, it was piloted, for indirect spending, by Leonardo Global Solutions; then, for direct procurement, by the Aircraft and Aerostructures divisions; and finally, by the Helicopters and Electronics divisions. Essentially, it is a Cloud portal: suppliers connect and receive purchase orders. Most importantly, they have visibility into confirmed orders, with the ability to modify them.What exactly does the ability to change confirmed orders mean? Within what time frame can they do so and to what extent?The time frame depends on the type of supply, e.g. for products within the 12-month lead time, typically the first two to three are "frozen," followed by three to six "flexible" months, during which, in agreement with Leonardo logistics, it is possible to change the quantity - by 10%, 15% - and the delivery date. There are then several additional "forecast" months, in which the supplier sees commitment, but this does not necessarily result in an order.And who benefits from not translating a pledge into an order?In the AirSupply system, when there is a decrease in our customers' demand for Leonardo's products, our suppliers see it. As a result, they can make their own calculations and, for example, buy a smaller amount of raw materials that they need to make their components. Conversely, this long-term visibility allows suppliers – when they know demand is intense – to make long-term purchases, which generally saves them money. All of this has the dual effect of increasing supply chain resilience, especially in times of stress; and allowing lead times to be shortened.Does this mean that suppliers must adopt AirSupply?The system is a KPI in our Industrial Sustainability Roadmap. In short, AirSupply adoption is a key driver for supply chain digitization and high-level procurement. Our goal is to use the portal for more than 80 percent of supplier transactions. More than 5 thousand suppliers are currently using it, including more than a thousand in "full" digital integration mode. It means that the most important suppliers are already operating on the platform, which helps to create a digitally integrated and synchronized supply chain ecosystem.How does this fit in with Leap - Leonardo Empowering Advanced Partnerships - a program launched in 2018?Leap is a program to transform and accelerate the development of the supply chain. It is designed as a constantly evolving model. The initial point, but also the "key" point, is that it is intended to increase the level of partnership. The excellent supplier becomes a long-term, "stable" partner, and consequently gains visibility in the system, and enjoying the certainty of the relationship can invest in its own business and growth (including technological growth) contributing to its competitiveness, ours and that of all the other players involved. Partners are called upon to increase quality and must be excellent in operations. This is first and foremost in our interest. Our CEO, Alessandro Profumo, has repeatedly stressed this; Leonardo cannot be sustainable and competitive if its supply chain is not: the quality and safety of the final products depend on it, as do the flexibility and ability of the company's business model to adapt to technological challenges. What we offer our suppliers is a long-term perspective of cooperation, putting them in the best conditions to be able to plan and pursue their investments over the long term, thus also supporting their ability to compete independently in the market. Supplies to meet the fulfillment of our contracts can in fact last for as long as 20 years; it is good for the supplier to remain in the market for an equivalent period, to provide the components and services essential to us and our customers. AirSupply strengthens the partnership and makes it more streamlined and secure. Moreover, in 2021 Leap underwent a major upgrade.What update have you made to Leap in 2021?The program has evolved into Leap Partnership for Sustainability. The dimensions of sustainability have been added to those of quality and technology.  Now partners are required to address security, health & safety, environmental and social responsibility, risk management. And they must share their strategies in this regard. In short, in 2021 we started building our ideal partner. Starting with an assessment.Did you carry out an assessment in 2021?Yes. The assessment involved 500 suppliers, the most important ones, and covered something like 200 KPIs. Already the fact that they were confronted with all these dimensions was important, for them, because it showed them the path to take by involving the staff. However, after "measuring" the degree of maturity of the partners on the dual quality-sustainability front, we began the maieutic approach.What does the maieutic approach consist of?We guided the 500 partners along the growth path, helping them to achieve their goals. With necessarily different actions from each other, based on the weaknesses of the partners manifested during the assessment. Some showed greater difficulties on processes, some on other aspects. In any case, we outlined a plan with two main objectives.What are the two main goals of your supply chain growth strategy?First, that of ensuring the strength and sustainability of the supply chain. Precisely because suppliers are called upon to provide us with services and components for periods of up to 20 years, they must be able to continuously improve their performance – the bar of objectives is continually being raised. Second, that of creating a significant number of Tier-1s (first-tier suppliers; typically, they know the strategies of the OEMs, know what technologies the OEMs are investing in, and are aware of their projects. In some cases, based on this information, they direct the whole supply policy and regulate its flows – note of the editor) and Tier-2 (basically specialists, who develop individual components on the basis of know-how established over the years – note of the editor) of international dimensions. Moreover, we are giving up supplier exclusivity. The fact that they have a strong partnership with us does not mean that they cannot or should not work with competitors. If they are good for us, they will be good for Airbus, for example. And in the marketplace they become more sound, more competitive and more resilient, helping to build a positive-sum game. All this merely increases the sustainability of our supply chain.What is the next step?The next step is to work on CO2 emissions. The context is still the Partnership for Sustainability, but the idea is to reduce the environmental impact of companies. That is the challenge for the next few years, and it affects, of course, the whole supply chain. Progress toward the targets will be measured scientifically, because Leonardo is part of Sbti (Science Based Targets initiative), a global initiative established in 2015 (by a collaboration between several organizations, such as the Carbon Disclosure Project, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature – note of the editor) to help companies set emission reduction targets in line with climate science and the goals of the Paris Agreement. The metrics used are very precise. The goal, for Leonardo, is a 40 percent drop in emissions by 2030.Does your supply chain generate a lot of emissions?Actually, the largest share of emissions is certainly downstream, among those who use, for example, our helicopters or airplanes. We have few energy-intensive factories; when it comes to the aerospace industry, this is equivalent to 2 percent of global emissions – but 1.5 percent is due to those who do aviation. So almost all of it.Among other partnership activities, you help your suppliers from a financial perspective. How does that work?Here, the "how" is very important, because it makes a difference. Results are generated or not generated because of the "how." Specifically, we have made agreements with seven banking groups to do supply chain financing. For example, we as Leonardo enjoy special factoring conditions (the assignment of credit – note of the editor): it was agreed that they should be extended to our suppliers. These moreover can get advances not only on invoices, but also on Leonardo's orders. For them it is a great help: since the lead time lasts 12 months, they must expose themselves financially; if they can get financing from banks on good terms, it is easier for them.And why did the banks agree to it?Because banks are familiar with our supplier program, and as a result they think that in the case of our suppliers we see a decrease in credit risk.There were 67 key suppliers of Leonardo, with a turnover of 1.3 billion euros and a total of 7,500 employees, who participated in the Elite-Leonardo Lounge program developed with Elite di Borsa Italiana. What did it consist of?In a development path aimed at entrepreneurs and top managers of supplier companies to accelerate their growth by facilitating access to capital, network, and key skills. Through it, companies were able to create a long-term strategic business plan and shared it with Leonardo. A key step: by overlaying our plan with theirs, we were able to assess whether the suppliers were heading in the same direction as us, especially in terms of technological development. What's more, about 50 M&A transactions have occurred in our supply chain; 70 percent of these involve companies that have gone through the Elite route. It means that they felt the need to strengthen themselves in terms of size, and this is good for us; it is also good for them from the point of view of competitiveness.What are the current obstacles for Leonardo's supply chain?For Italian suppliers, the problem is to be able to be competitive in the European context. As for the average size, these are small companies; as for the level of digitalization, it is good in relation to the average Italian company, but it is not yet at the level of the European average. In short, these companies need to be able to make a major leap forward. For this, a great product is not enough: you need planning, management, investment, long-term vision. And you must work on all these dimensions at the same time. It is not easy, but it is certainly not impossible. This interview by Marco de' Francesco has been published in Italian in the online magazine Industria Italiana: https://www.industriaitaliana.it/leap-leonardo-airsupply/
Cornelia Staib · November 28, 2023 - reading time < 11 Min.
Leonardo extends AirSupply to the entire supply chain and kicks off second phase of Leap

Navigating the bustling metropolis: a business trip to Shanghai

Stepping off the plane into the bustling metropolis of Shanghai, I could feel the energy and excitement in the air. I embarked on a remarkable journey to one of China's most vibrant and economically significant cities. It is home to numerous multinational corporations, financial institutions, and tech giants. During my trip, I had the opportunity to progress the project for “Transport Management Outbound for ZF China” for two pilot plants and support my Chinese colleagues with an internal application training. Together with the ZF local colleagues and Qianqian Shan and Xiaowei Zhang from SupplyOn Shanghai we clarified the detailed process steps and worked on the specification of China-specific requirements for Transport and freight cost processes to guarantee a smooth implementation. During those two weeks, I could experience a better understanding for the Chinese colleagues, the project conditions, and the local network. The SupplyOn China colleagues made it easy for me to feel welcome and supported me with whatever I was willing to do.They regularly made sure that I was tasting every food worth to try; During lunch we had a lot of different dumplings, buns, noodles, soups, and a lot of milk tea and snacks. We also went for Hotpot one night – that was definitely one of my culinary highlights! Besides that, I was lucky to be in China for Mooncake Season and tasted a lot of different flavors, colors, and sizes of Mooncake. (Moon festival was shortly after my departure on September 29th, 2023).Moreover, I was invited by Hong Rupeng to travel to the deep-water terminal of Shanghai Seaport for one sunny Sunday. We took the trip via the 42km long bridge to the island where this terminal is located and admired a huge number of containers waiting to be loaded and checked out the destinations of a few smaller ships with the vessel tracker on site. Although the container traffic seemed to be rather calm on that day, the port scenery was highly impressive. The Container throughput of Shanghai International Port (Group) is more than 40 million TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) per year. Thanks again for bringing me to the biggest port of the world!I appreciate the very warm welcome, dedication and hard work making this trip a memorable and productive experience. Your kindness and thoughtfulness made a significant difference in my experience, and I am so grateful for your hospitality to make me feel comfortable and valued.Next to the fruitful training and brainstorming sessions, we had a lot of unexpected daily adventures, like a spontaneous dancing class in preparation for the SupplyOn Shanghai 15-year birthday celebration, or a visit at a Chinese hairdresser, what added a special dimension to our time. I also had the chance to take part in the “Bobing” game, what is a special dice game from the region the SupplyOn China Head Zixi Zheng comes from. It is played only in mid-autumn and heavily focusing on rolling the dices to get as many fours as possible to be lucky next year.These are some for the lasting memories from the business trip. I gathered profound appreciation for the modernity, culture, and culinary delights of this dynamic city. I am confident that the insights gained, and strengthened connections during this trip will continue to benefit our projects and collaborations in the future.So, I left Shanghai with a sense of awe and admiration for this captivating city, and I can't wait to return for another adventure.
Kathrin Reimann · November 23, 2023 - reading time < 3 Min.
Navigating the bustling metropolis: a business trip to Shanghai