Premiere: first customer host for the SAP CIO Round Table

Today I’m reporting on a special event that was hosted by my boss Holger Blumberg, Head of Information Management. SAP Germany’s CIO Round Table is an exclusive event for the customers of the manufacturing sector. The CIOs were sent written invitations by SAP’s Sales Manager. The substantive keynotes lie in the presentation of new topics and ongoing customer projects. It’s particularly the intensive mutual feedback between the CIOs and with the SAP experts that makes the event so valuable for both sides. For the first time in the event’s history, the Round Table was not held on the premises of SAP, but of a customer – namely us.

On Tuesday, 6 March, we were pleased to host representatives of the Phoenix Contact, Aurubis, König & Bauer and Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen companies – to name only some of them. Following a brief stand-up reception, Alexander Waldi, Head of Manufacturing and Automotive at SAP Germany, opened the event. This year’s motto was “Digitalisation in the manufacturing sector”. Alexander Waldi presented the feedback on the last event, and also provided some information on the upcoming top events – the Hanover Industrial Fair, and the SAPPHIRE in Orlando. We are particularly looking forward to the fair in Hanover, since we shall be represented on the SAP stand with our Bottling on Demand concept study and with an after-sales-service showcase featuring SAP AIN (Asset Intelligence Network). So please feel free to come and visit us in Hall 7, Stand A02!

Following an introduction by Alexander Waldi, Holger Blumberg took over the presenter’s role, starting with a brief portrait of Krones AG and some background on information management. He dealt with our current SAP landscape, for example, and outlined what it’s going to look like in the future with SAP S/4 HANA. There was an animated discussion on our planned greenfield approach for the introduction of S/4 HANA. In addition, a map of the world was used to illustrate the status of planned and existing SAP ERP integration and the rollout of SAP Business One.

Holger Blumberg then moved on to the keynote topic of digitalisation at Krones. In this context, we are concentrating on the following cornerstones: the digital customer factory and the competences of our staff in the environment of digitalisation. Many of our innovative products like Share2Act are already supporting our clients today in operating their systems and lines. The next step would be the digital delivery chain, i.e. a completely networked process extending from the customer’s or consumer’s purchase order through production all the way to ultimate delivery. This would mean, for instance, seamless integration from the client’s ERP down to the machine level.

The second cornerstone relates to our digitalisation competence, focused primarily on developing new business models as a solution provider. We have created the requisite foundations not least by setting up our SYSKRON subsidiary and our Innovation Lab. The question also arises of what competences our staff require for this purpose, and how we can encourage and progress them, says Holger Blumberg.

Another highlight of the CIO Round Table was the presentation given by Heiko Flohr from SAP, who spoke about strategy and innovations for the manufacturing sector. SAP’s vision in regard to digitalisation looks like this: at present, employees are performing many repetitive activities. In the intelligent company of the future, software solutions will handle these activities, performing them with the aid of artificial intelligence. The unique selling point of human beings will be their ability to handle high-quality, complex tasks and knowledge-intensive work. SAP is already developing software solutions of this kind that are able to perform repetitive tasks. So we have some exciting new products to look forward to.

Dirk Häusermann from SAP then presented the SAP Data Hub – a data management suite. He began by outlining what in most companies nowadays are separate data landscapes – and the concomitant explosion of data in terms of volume and complexity. And this is where the Data Hub now comes into play, since it enables its users to link together data silos (this means data from the ERP and other distributed data storage units).

The series of presentations was concluded by Christian Blattgerste from SAP, who dealt with the subject of “GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) – knowing and forgetting”. The focus here was on how SAP’s solutions support its customers in implementing the EU-DSGVO (an extensive harmonisation of European data protection law).

Following a brief session of feedback and discussion, the participants brought the day to a convivial close over a shared dinner in our Krones company restaurant. During a delicious meal, there were plenty of opportunities for networking und interesting conversations.