Interview

Before digitalizing processes, make sure they are “lean.”

Zahlen, Daten, Fakten
Interview
March 8, 2022 | Digitalization

In many companies, key elements of value creation processes have already been digitalized. Nevertheless, digital transformation itself has only just begun. To remain competitive, companies urgently need to accelerate their digital transformation.

An interview with Frank Krüger, Senior Partner at Staufen AG.

Frank Krüger has many years of professional and management experience. As an expert in transformation processes in mechanical engineering as well as in the computer and supplier industry, he has led many international projects. At Staufen AG, he and his team are driving digitalization topics such as process mining, EMS, RPA, ERP and digital Shop Floor Management.

Frank, what should a company focus on to avoid getting bogged down in digitalization?

At its core, it is always about process excellence, i.e., how processes can be continuously optimized. Today, digitalization offers methods and opportunities to view processes more holistically, i.e., as end-to-end processes, for example, to structure order processing as a comprehensive and consistent order-to-cash process.

Digitalization helps me prevent typical individual considerations; instead, I can take a closer look at the totality of all data including its dependencies and system breaks. This makes analyses more valuable in the overall context and solution approaches more realistic and meaningful, since they take into account all influencing variables in the correct relations.

Interesting. Can you explain how this method works?

I need only three elements for this: first, a timestamp, i.e., a date or time; second, a transaction code, for example a material or invoice release; and third, identification of the object on which this transaction acts, for example a material or order number.

With these three pieces of information, data models can be built, which I can then use to take a very close look at the actual process. This is an incredible advancement in the analysis process.

What does the customer get out of it? What do you do with the results?

For the first time, you get a picture of the actual processes in the company, of the diversity and variance of the process landscape. You get a picture of how processes actually run and a comparison of how they should actually run. The difference is often large. The deviations quickly reach six-digit figures.

How long does this type of process optimization take?

The implementation phase is short. Maximum three months. The key point is the approval processes and access to the data. Most companies have high security requirements and many restrictions in data handling.

This is an incredible advancement in the analysis process.

Frank Krüger, Senior Partner at Staufen AG
Zahlen, Daten, Fakten

How do you approach such a topic as a medium-sized company? Most companies do not have this kind of in-depth knowledge about the methods and possibilities of digitalization.

We work together with companies to tackle this. We usually use our “proof of value” tool to clarify the assignment. This is a small process model that quickly identifies the potential and shows how the technology works. This is a very good way to evaluate whether the investment is worthwhile and makes sense.

What does a typical customer project look like?

Typically, we proceed in phases. Phase one is the needs analysis, meaning the identification of the biggest pain points. In phase two, we deal with data connectivity and developing the database to fine-tune the data model. Standardized process models are available for this purpose, which produce results within two weeks. Then we start with a full data analysis, building dashboards for KPIs and performance measurements. In the final phase, we start to uncover the potential as well as optimize the processes and determine where the system should support day-to-day business.

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