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14th international
Starnberg Management Days
A brief review
October 25th and 26th, 2018
Becoming simpler and faster
the DNA renewal of B2B companies

The main questions were:

  • What are the most important levers to become simpler and faster?

  • Which companies are at the forefront of radical simplification and acceleration?

  • Are we aware that companies can only be simplified if the key players are constantly setting an example?

  • How do you lead and keep pace in the digitization age?

  • How simple is it to get simpler?

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From the very beginning, the host Werner Seidenschwarz felt completely at ease with his guests, as he and his team have already worked together with almost all speakers in projects and management circles of Seidenschwarz & Comp. Correspondingly carefree and unbiased, he told his stories of many unnatural complexities on the one hand and many examples of success on the other - with a clear focus on the latter.

Whereas two years ago a "same day delivery" from a distributor to the manufacturer was still an enthusiastic feature, today it has to be the on-time nightly delivery to the customer's delivery truck on site - of course sorted according to the system.

"Simplicity is not a single race. It's 10 race series in a row. It's not that easy to come up with Brilliant Basics." Power Point battles, email floods and marathon meetings with overly large groups don't help. But intelligent use of messenger services ("without formalities"), email ("I should be able to answer an email in full directly"), telephone ("when it exceeds the ability to answer an email") and meetings ("for more complex multi-person decisions") allows for significant reduction, at least in basic communication.

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Executives have to exemplify exactly that. For this purpose, Werner Seidenschwarz focused on examples from his work with the Leading Sales circle of Seidenschwarz & Comp.: companies that embody the spearhead of successful B2B sales in Europe.

Because successful sales does not have the possibility to become complicated at all. The customer has to understand it. In one hour of sales talk, a maximum of two important topics can be accommodated. If the customer doesn't understand us, we won't reach him. And customers today don't have time. It has to be uncomplicated and fast. But does sales enjoy enough esteem in a manufacturing company - as does simplicity?

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 often chosen by Werner Seidenschwarz. Simplicity takes time, persistence 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.

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First to start was Michael Sen, a member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG since 2017. He was able to convince the participants very early on why he was announced with the words: "There are really few people in the world who are so good at dealing with investors and owners and also have such a good command of capital market communication as Michael Sen."


Healthineers, which he oversaw at the IPO, is a successful example of how Siemens aims to develop other global champions from its conglomerate of the future.

And Michael Sen himself is an excellent example of the Substantial Leadership concept propagated by Werner Seidenschwarz: He has in-depth knowledge of the healthcare sector from his own career, he knows the capital market, the competitors and the products - and of course the internal environment. He can therefore credibly communicate and lead the "Runway for Growth" to all stakeholders.


He used a large number of examples to demonstrate that biology, IT and digitization will be the major topics of development at Healthineers.

It was therefore a kind of home game for Michael Sen at the gates of Munich: a captivated audience and an entertaining discussion based on the topicality of the subject.

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Dr. Hans J. Langer, founder (1989) and since then CEO and Chairman of the EOS GROUP, then 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. This even puts pressure on the "classical" digital factory, as additive manufacturing is moving away from geometric thinking towards bionic design and production.

To enable user companies to make this fundamental change, Hans Langer has also turned to the big steps of change. He offers his customers to not only have machines delivered by EOS - he can also build them entire factories. Radical simplicity.

The EOS experts of Additive Manufacturing and the Target Costing experts of Seidenschwarz & Comp. have now set up a joint program for this purpose.

This will make it easy for users to calculate the benefits and transition to additive manufacturing-enriched and digitized business models. EOS and Seidenschwarz will present this to interested companies at selected regional events in 2019, providing them with the opportunity for a benefit-based and computable transformation strategy.

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Klaus Göldenbot, CEO of Nisbets Plc. in Bristol since 2017, received an equally warm welcome at the event.

For many years, he has been a pioneer who understands how to simplify and digitize companies while not only maintaining their human touch, but consciously expanding it and using it as a differentiating factor.

The companies he leads therefore repeatedly succeed to a particularly high degree in linking an emotional customer relationship with operational excellence. The result is exceptional customer trust.

Klaus Göldenbot's core question is always: Is this easy ... and convenient for the customer? The digital sales channel will contribute significantly to growth in the coming years.

Just as you can conduct a customer conversation in an exceptionally winning way, you can do the same in the digital environment. Klaus Göldenbot has already demonstrated extremely successfully how to take a company there at Würth and at RS Components.

At the Starnberg Management Days, he described Nisbets' departure into these new worlds.

For him personally, however, it began - very classically - when he joined the new company by working in professional kitchens with his users 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 could simplify their day-to-day work in a digitalized way, giving them more time for their core business: cooking.

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"Yes, that is indeed true. The customer likes it when it's simple!" This was underlined by the next speaker with exceptional experience in a complex B2B environment.

The technical transformation towards simpler worlds seems to Hans Sondermann, Managing Director Sales at Rittal, almost the easiest part of simplifying and digitizing.


"You have to respond to the customer. You can't reduce the complexity requirements of your customers. But you can very well simplify their implementation."


Rittal has begun to digitize its entire value chain. In their innovation center, they show this explicitly, tangibly and impressively. But Rittal would not be true to its entrepreneurial roots if, in addition to its increasingly hardware- and software-integrating solution business, it did not also successfully venture into entirely new territories.


In the meantime, for example, the company owns what is probably Europe's largest and greenest data center in Norway.

And it could grow faster than suppliers can deliver to the data center. Growth, integration and diversification - that is pure entrepreneurial spirit!

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Finally, with Amazon, a company joined the circle of speakers that is in competition with almost all other speakers and participants!

Klaus Bürg, Managing Director of Amazon Web Services, described at the Starnberg Management Days not only how successful Amazon is today with its cloud activities and its web services ("we are the ones who earn the money in-house").

He also talked a lot about how differently a company like Amazon ticks and is managed. "A company always has to be Day One. We work without PowerPoint at meetings. If you want to bring up a topic, you have to write it out in flowing text beforehand, so everyone can go into the meeting prepared because they'll get that write-up a few days before."

And, "We only work with small teams." With all his experience at Microsoft and now at Amazon, he embodied the "new normal" of a manager in an increasingly digitalized age.

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Richard Hausmann, CEO of the Swedish medical technology company Elekta, was asked about other topics that evening, however.

He has held top management positions in Europe and China with Siemens, in the U.S. with General Electric, and now in Sweden with Elekta.

He chatted about many professional and private experiences, how one experiences the different parts of the world in terms of simplicity and speed.

What he admires most about his current home country, Sweden, is its openness to new and innovative topics. At the same time, as a German, he sometimes feels a little alienated by the rather low level of decisiveness and forward-looking attitude in companies.

But that is why he has accepted the task of using new impulses to lead the company with new simplicity and speed into increased growth in an almost duopolistic market across the world.

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In addition, Werner Seidenschwarz discussed in the evening round, which took place in a relaxed atmosphere, with the highly committed Princess Auguste of Bavaria, great-great-granddaughter of the last king in the Free State and a renowned bird researcher.

One of her biggest tasks at the moment is 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 where adults and children can enjoy learning about life sciences.

Auguste von Bayern has therefore been able to establish direct points of contact with companies such as Siemens Healthineers and Elekta in particular.

In the late evening, Thorsten Havener was allowed to take part. As an expert for body language, mental strategy and entertainer, he involved a lot of participants in his program and made clear how much can be said with so little.

If one would like to summarize the event simply and concisely, then one may take up the quotation mentioned at the beginning by Werner Seidenschwarz and bring it into a logical conclusion: All successful players had the time to write a short letter :)


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So that the participants could take home three good ideas from the event again this year, which they can also implement directly!

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