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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 position:Senior Full Stack Software Developer (w/m/d) 
Projects and tasks as a Full Stack Developer: Insights from Fangfang and Israel

Maximum transparency with Payment Status Overview

In many companies, the accounting department often runs out of time to concentrate on value-adding activities. Instead, a lot of effort is invested in processing incoming inquiries. Time that is not spent on important tasks. Accounts Payable specialists are well trained and often solve complex financial issues. In most cases, the supplier requests are just about when an outstanding invoice will be paid. Checking the processing status takes up a lot of time, resources and ultimately costs companies unnecessary money.Together with Bosch as a pilot customer, SupplyOn has developed a new Invoicing add-on that provides all suppliers with information on the processing status of their invoices with just one click. The "Payment Status Overview" add-on solves this task via a freely accessible web portal that does not require a login. By entering the invoice number, amount and date, the information is retrieved directly from the customer ERP system and displayed to the user. This allows them to see whether the invoice has been successfully received, is still being processed or the payment is already planned. Any rejection is also displayed in the overview. Further status messages are also possible. Optionally, the payment date can also be retrieved from the customer ERP and displayed to the supplier. The added value of this solution benefits suppliers as well as customers. The resulting advantages include:Suppliers receive a transparent status of the processing status of their invoices at any timeYou no longer need to check the payment date with the customer's supplier accounting departmentFor customers, the solution offers a significant reduction in incoming inquiriesA considerable amount of time and effort can be saved in the accounts payable department this wayThe highlight of the Payment Status Overview solution is its free availability to all suppliers. No registration or password entry is required. By simply entering the necessary document data, it is ensured that no unauthorized access occurs, as only the supplying company and the customer are in possession of this data.Here is a business case calculation from the customer's perspective:Assuming it takes about 10 minutes to process a request - from opening the e-mail, reading the request, searching for the processing status of the invoice, and writing a reply to the supplier. In addition, an hourly wage for a bookkeeper of €30 per hour is assumed. As a result, the cost per inquiry is €5. With 20,000 inquiries per year from suppliers regarding the invoice status, this results an annual saving of €100,000.Further functionalities for the add-on are planned for 2024. These include the ability for suppliers to send specific queries to customers via the web portal in case of ambiguities. This information will be processed and answered by the customer in a targeted manner.
Maximum transparency with Payment Status Overview

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

Supply Chain Digitization: accomplishments, tasks and insights from Kathrin

Senior Consultant 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. 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
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.
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
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!
Supplier Community Event: Customer voices and supplier feedback on Transport Management