Several companies suddenly realized during this time of the Corona virus that they all have some amount of catching up to do on digitization. And, interim management solution providers like Management Angels (WIL Group Member in Germany) can certainly help with that! Executive interim managers are high calibre professionals who can temporarily implement projects and move on – possibly to another interim assignment in another company!
Hans van den Bosch, the financial director of the roads division of Duisburg-based Imperial Logistics International was urgently looking for a Commercial Manager for the company’s Munich transport subsidiary during the summer of 2019. Things were not exactly running smoothly at the 140-strong subsidiary, that handled the just-in-time transport of automotive components between suppliers and a manufacturer in southern Germany. The ERP software system was yet to be ready due to lack of human resources and verifiable data. "This meant that our invoices were not always traceable," says van den Bosch. "Therefore, proper evaluations and timely decision making for planning and controlling the business processes were becoming difficult." A financial expert with a sound knowledge and working experience of an ERP system was needed, but there was no one in the company who could fit into this role!
Roll up your sleeves and get started
The finance director turned to Management Angels that specialises in executive interim management because Imperial Logistics International did not have the luxury of conducting an extensive recruiting process to tackle this situation. Management Angels has an experienced pool of 7,000 executive interim managers that are willing to take on interim assignments. One of them - Ralf Schäfer, a highly experienced logistics manager with 25 years of professional experience in medium and large size logistics companies has been working as a serial interim manager since the last 7 years. Ralf typicaly joins companies on short-term missions, implements certain projects within a defined timeline, before exiting the company. Van den Bosch was convinced that he needed an executive interim manager like Ralf for this commercial mission. His requirements were quite clear: "The interim manager must be able to familiarise himself quickly, understand the complexity of the tasks and most importantly be able to get along well the entire team. In addition to the final implementation of the ERP software, the interim manager's tasks also included its integration with the day-to-day business, interface with the company management for financial accounting and also manage some other projects, including increasing profitability by reducing costs.
Ralf rolled up his sleeves and immediately got going. "As a primary step, it is important to quickly identify various hurdles and potential roadblocks be able to draw up a strategic roadmap that offers a clear orientation to all those who are going to be involved in the mission." Besides strategic thinking, you often need to have a lot of tactfulness and sensitivity, "because an external person is not perceived as someone with good intentions". At Imperial, things were a bit on the slower side, "so many urgent steps and quick decisions had to be taken, such as the short-term establishment of a monitoring system to increase the billing quality along the process/supply chain". Schäfer conducted workshops in order to define the key control indicators, set up dashboards for the evaluation and control of business activities, as well as change and culture management plan.
Helping top management by using executive interims
For Till Puffert, a Senior Consultant at Management Angels, the Duisburg project is a prime example of Experienced People Delivering Results. Ralf Schäfer assume direct operational responsibility in a management position to quickly resolve customer-specific tasks in a target-oriented manner.