14th Starnberg Management Days 

Becoming simpler and faster

- the DNA renewal of B2B companies -

Simplicity is one of the central prerequisites for staying fast and flexible. In a great autumn atmosphere and directly at the lake, extraordinary speakers discussed this challenging topic with an extremely committed and highly competent group of participants.

The host Werner Seidenschwarz felt completely comfortable with his guests, especially since he and his team have already worked together with almost all of the speakers on projects or in leadership circles of Seidenschwarz & Comp..

Correspondingly unbiased, in his stories he told of many unnatural complexities on the one hand and many success stories on the other - with a clear focus on the latter.

Two years ago, a "Same day delivery" from a distributor to the manufacturer was still an enthusiasm feature, but today it must be the on-time delivery at night into the customer's delivery van on site - of course sorted according to the system.

"Simplicity is not a single race. That's 10 racing series in a row. It's not so easy to work out the Brilliant Basics." PowerPoint battles, e-mail floods and session marathons with too large groups don't help. But an intelligent use of messenger services ("without formalities"), e-mail ("I should be able to answer an e-mail directly in full"), telephone ("if it exceeds the possibility of answering an e-mail") and meetings ("for more complex multi-person decisions") allows a substantial reduction at least in basic communication.

Executives must set an example. This time, Werner Seidenschwarz focused primarily on examples from his work with the Leading Sales Circle of Seidenschwarz & Comp.: Companies that embody the spearhead of successful B2B sales in Europe.

Successful sales do not have the opportunity to become complicated. The customer must understand it. In one hour of sales talk you can accommodate a maximum of two important topics. If the customer does not understand us, we will not reach him. And customers don't have time today. It must be uncomplicated and fast. But do sales in a manufacturing company - like simplicity - enjoy enough appreciation? And how can you learn this speed and the simplicity that goes with it?

"I didn't have time to write a short letter." This is one of the quotes most chosen by Werner Seidenschwarz. Simplicity costs time, patience and perseverance. And this is exactly what the guests invited to the event prove every day with their success stories. Therefore, it was a pure pleasure for Werner Seidenschwarz to lead his excellent guests through the event.

Michael Sen, a member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG since 2017, started out first. He was able to convince the participants at a very early stage why he was announced with the words: "There are really few people in the world who are as good at dealing with investors and owners and also with capital market communications as Michael Sen.” Healthineers, who he supervised during the IPO, is a successful example of how Siemens intends to develop further global champions from its conglomerate of the future. And Michael Sen himself is an excellent example of Werner Seidenschwarz's management concept of Substantial Leadership: "From his own career, he has in-depth knowledge of the healthcare sector, the capital market, competitors and products - and of course the internal environment. That's why he can credibly communicate and lead the "Runway for Growth" to all stakeholders. He used a variety of examples to demonstrate that biology, IT and digitisation will be the major development topics for Healthineers. That's why it became a kind of home game for Michael Sen on the outskirts of Munich: captivated listeners and an entertaining discussion based on the actuality of the topic.

Subsequently, Dr Hans J. Langer, founder (1989) and since then CEO and Chairman of the EOS GROUP, ignited an entrepreneurial fire in the audience. As contagious as a technology pioneer can be. With his topic of additive manufacturing, he outlined a way to radically simplify design and production, enriched with examples, figures, data and facts. Even the "classic" digital factory will come under pressure as a result, as additive manufacturing will move away from geometric thinking towards bionic design and production. In order to make this fundamental change possible for the user companies, Hans Langer has also turned to the big steps of change. He offers his customers not only machines supplied by EOS - he can also build entire factories for them. Radical simplicity. The EOS experts in additive manufacturing and the target costing experts at Seidenschwarz & Comp. have now set up a joint program for this. This makes it easy for users to calculate the benefits and the transition to business models enriched and digitized with additive manufacturing. EOS and Seidenschwarz will present this to interested companies at selected regional events in 2019 and thus offer them the possibility of a benefit-based and calculable transformation strategy.

Klaus Göldenbot, CEO of Nisbets Plc. in Bristol since 2017, was also warmly welcomed at the event. For many years, he has been a pioneer who knows how to simplify and digitize companies while not only preserving their human touch, but also consciously expanding it and using it as a differentiation factor. The companies he manages are therefore particularly successful in repeatedly linking an emotional customer relationship with operational excellence. The result is exceptional customer familiarity. Klaus Göldenbot's core question is always: Is this easy ... and convenient for the customer? The digital sales channel will make a significant contribution to growth in the coming years. Just as it is possible to conduct a customer conversation in an extraordinarily profitable way, this is also possible in the digital environment. Klaus Göldenbot has already demonstrated extremely successfully how to lead a company in this direction at Würth and RS Components. At the Starnberg Management Days, he now described the departure of Nisbets into these new worlds. For him personally, however, when he joined the new company it began - very classically - with the fact that he worked with his users in professional kitchens in the first few weeks. He began to understand his customers well. And at the same time, he was able to teach his customers how they can simplify their daily work in digital form and thus get more time for their core business, cooking.

"Yes, it is true. The customer likes it when it's easy". This was underlined by the next speaker with extraordinary experience in a complex B2B environment. The technical transformation towards simpler worlds appears to Hans Sondermann, Managing Director Sales at Rittal, almost as the simplest part of simplifying and digitizing. "You have to be responsive to the customer. It is not possible to reduce the complex requirements of customers. But their implementation can then very well be simplified". Rittal has begun to digitise its entire value chain. In their innovation centre, they demonstrate this explicitly, touchable and impressively. But Rittal would not be faithful to its entrepreneurial roots if it did not successfully venture into completely new fields in addition to its solution business, which is increasingly integrating hardware and software. In the meantime, the company has probably the largest and greenest data centre in Europe in Norway. And it could grow faster than suppliers can supply the data centre. Grow, integrate and diversify - that's pure entrepreneurial spirit!

Finally, Amazon joined the circle of speakers as a company that is in competition with almost all other speakers and participants! At the Starnberg Management Days, Klaus Bürg, Managing Director of Amazon Web Services, not only described how successful Amazon is today with its cloud activities and web services ("we are the ones in the company who earn the money"). He also talked a lot about how different a company like Amazon ticks and is run. "A company must always be Day One. We do not use PowerPoint in our meetings. If you want to raise a topic, you must formulate it in a continuous text beforehand, so that everyone can go to the meeting prepared, because you will get this elaboration a few days in advance." And: "We only work with small teams". With all his experience at Microsoft and now at Amazon, he embodies the "New Normal" of a manager in the increasingly digital age.

In the relaxed atmosphere of the evening, Werner Seidenschwarz discussed with the highly committed Princess Auguste of Bavaria, the great-great granddaughter of the last king in Bavaria and a renowned bird explorer. One of her biggest current tasks is the patronage of the major BIOTOPIA project. The aim is to develop the natural history museum, which is now housed in Munich's Nymphenburg Palace, into a landscape in which adults and children can enjoy getting to know life sciences. Auguste von Bayern was therefore able to establish direct contact points with companies such as Siemens Healthineers and Elekta.

Richard Hausmann, CEO of the Swedish medical technology company Elekta, was asked about other topics on this evening. He was based in Europe and China at Siemens, in the USA at General Electric and now in Sweden at Elekta in top management positions. He talked about many professional and private experiences, how to experience the different continents regarding simplicity and speed. At his present home in Sweden, he particularly admires the openness for new and innovative topics. At the same time, as a German, he occasionally strangers sometimes with the rather low decisiveness and forward agility in the companies. But that's why he took on the task of using new impulses to lead the company across the world with new simplicity and speed into increased growth in an almost duopolistic market.

Later in the evening, Thorsten Havener started his performance. As an expert for body language, mental strategy and as an entertainer he involved a lot of participants in his program and made clear how little body movements can tell you so much.

If you want to summarize the event simply and concisely, then you may take up the quote mentioned by Werner Seidenschwarz at the beginning and bring it to a logical conclusion: All successful players had the time to write a short letter :-).

The next international Starnberg Management Days will take place on 25th and 26th of November 2019 in Starnberg. We recommend early bookings for the limited places.