Dieter Zeiml, Michael Mohr, Interview, Menschen, Branchenkompetenz


After 80 years on the path to success, SSI SCHAEFER is today a leader in planning and implementing comprehensive logistics systems including the software solutions. The market, its demands and the needs of customers have changed. Today's customer-driven markets call for a new focus – a sector-specific one. Michael Mohr, Executive Vice President Sales Automation, and Dieter Zeiml, Senior Vice President IT Realization, discuss the new orientation of the sales organisation and perspectives in intralogistics.

Michael Mohr: Our sales team is globally active, seeks to make contact with customers and sells solutions and products. In recent years, we have been noticing a new movement – a transition towards more holistic system requirements and relating to this, ever more specific and demanding customer expectations. For example, a brewery has entirely different requirements of its warehouse logistics to an e-commerce fashion company; pharmaceutical companies are likewise completely different. For this reason, it is important to speak our customer's language and also to recognise their market situation and to develop individually tailored solutions. Whether it's the IT or the hardware, we have to develop the right range of services for each customer and respond to their demand. To achieve this, we have specialised in the following six market sectors, in which we combine specific expertise: food retail, food & beverage, retail & wholesale, healthcare & cosmetics, industry and fashion.

Dieter Zeiml: IT means analysing our customers' intralogistics processes to then automate, support, optimise and visualise them using our software solutions. Our WAMAS® logistics software can do all this, making it an outstanding, scalable solution for all six market sectors. Let's take the example of e-commerce; this is a driving force and is at home in all market sectors. There is no such thing as a universal "e-commerce functionality". You have to differentiate between market sectors. With our new orientation, we are able to develop the exact solution that the customer needs – even for e-commerce. We can compose the right package of services for the individual demands.

Michael Mohr: Within the framework of this orientation, we are carving out market segments that we can serve professionally, globally independently and optimally. In doing so it is important to us to use synergies from different projects in the global market sectors. Fashion customers in Asia can, for example, benefit from our experiences with customers in America. This concentrated expertise will also be supported by local experts in the hubs; our national subsidiaries. Eventually, the central expertise in our global sales organisation will be completed by the expertise of the individual regions – for the benefit of the customer.

Dieter Zeiml: Our customers follow different business models and therefore focus on heterogeneous specifics. For each of them, different processes take precedence, to which the software solution must also be adapted. We have recognised this and now take it into account in our approach to market sectors.

Michael Mohr: Both in sales and IT, we are now much closer to the customer and so can respond to their requirements even more individually. What distinguishes us at SSI SCHAEFER, is that as a system provider we develop unique solution packages. And that's exactly what the market expects. Our product portfolio includes all kinds of modules and components that can be integrated, that are associated with each other thanks to intelligent and scalable software solutions. As a general contractor for construction and intralogistics we realise a turn-key system solution. Customers want to know how the machines are set up and linked to each other or precisely which processes have been integrated, but most important is the final, working solution, and that is exactly what we offer the customer.

Dieter Zeiml: This is true both for the hardware and the software. Even if the same components are used in individual solutions, the focus is on the specific customer solution. Of course, synergies are used between different market sectors: there are functionalities that everyone draws on, but there are also specific applications. We have the particular advantage in IT of being able to interact between sectors, as all our software engineers speak the same language and so can act across sectors. The sector-specific language is a particular feature that requires expertise to transfer the requirements to our WAMAS logistics software and ultimately to the customer solutions that are being implemented. We are now implementing this way of thinking and acting throughout the entire SSI SCHAEFER Group.

Michael Mohr:  As SSI SCHAEFER, we are now very focussed, with our specific orientation towards market sectors. Our aim is to even better understand market and customer demands, to take on new challenges and to continue to successfully implement our projects. Opting for this structure has already proved to be the right decision after only a short while and will confirm and strengthen our leading market position. To that effect, we have already been able to form clusters that assign special products to the market sectors. The trend towards product developments for specific sector requirements must also be recognised. With this approach, we are looking ahead to the future with optimism and are looking forward to further exciting topics in the individual market sectors.