"In our IT department, we have a very flexible ERP system with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017, which always makes extensions and specific adjustments available for the respective companies in the BIG group through various tools and special solutions from our IT partner COSMO CONSULT."
Sebastian Braband, ERP department manager at B.I.G.
Engineer Igor Haschke developed a laser technology process in 1999, patented it and founded Scansonic the following year to further develop and commercialize his process. In the meantime, the company considers itself a world market leader in the field of optical systems for laser joining in car body construction, and the F.A.Z Institute recently ranked Scansonic among "Germany's innovation leaders" on the basis of an analysis of 150,000 patent applications filed by companies operating in Germany.
Following investments in other companies such as the diode laser manufacturer Lumix or GEFERTEC, the developer of an innovative process for 3D metal printing, as well as other company foundations, in 2018 they established the brand Berlin.Industrial.Group. (B.I.G.). "Under this name, we merged the various companies into one corporate group, albeit somewhat deviating from the strategy of classic corporations," says B.I.G. Managing Director Tom Lüders. Everything that the B.I.G. companies develop and produce revolves around high-tech of the highest innovative quality. "That's why we bring together people who share the same passion and "tick" in a similar way. People are at the center of everything we do, the teams are highly self-organized, and everyone can contribute their full potential in the best possible way. There is an exchange, but it is not imposed or regulated from above," says Lüders.
Lüders knows how to explain the success of the group members: "Our innovative strength is based, among other things, on the fact that we as B.I.G. do not first look for synergies, but rather each of our unique companies shapes its own future. The goal is to become the market or technology leader in its specific market. And so that they can concentrate fully on their value-adding activities such as product development, service companies in the Group take care of all other specialist issues for them. Our slogan "Unique, United" sums this up very succinctly." The three service companies Technology Services, Marketing Services and Corporate Services ensure that even the smallest and youngest member of the Group is positioned as professionally as possible. B.I.G. Corporate Services, for example, provides the group members with their entire IT centrally. "In doing so, we have to make sure to rely on highly flexible IT solutions that meet the needs of all group companies," knows Sebastian Braband, the ERP department manager, "In our IT department, we have a very flexible ERP system with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017, which always makes extensions and specific adjustments available for the respective companies through various tools and special solutions from our IT partner COSMO CONSULT."
The portfolio of the COSMO CONSULT Group, which is one of the world's leading providers of Microsoft-based industry and end-to-end business solutions, includes ERP systems as well as solutions for Data & Analytics, CRM, Office, Teamwork, Document Management and the Internet of Things. "If a group member's need can be met with existing technical resources, a solution approach is developed and discussed together. If the need cannot be met by existing products, the priority and intensity with which a solution is to be developed is agreed," says Braband, describing the procedure.
Scansonic PGS GmbH, for example, is a one-off manufacturer. The ordering processes and warehouse management are easy to carry out, and the production result is new, uniquely manufactured articles. To physically define all variants, 20 client-specific technical specifications are required. Scansonic MI GmbH, on the other hand, is a small batch or one-off manufacturer that relies on a platform, module or modular strategy, using around 17,000 active articles in a wide variety of combinations. Here, you need far more comprehensive tools for management. And the variety of variants can only be mastered with a product configurator in which all product variants are compiled. The ERP system contains all assemblies and later also supplies the bills of materials and the corresponding data for production planning and purchasing. Purchase prices as well as sales prices are included, as are drawings and assembly instructions for production.
As the number of variants increases, production conditions also change. As a result, new production control strategies must be defined and supported by software. In such a case, a project team presents the changed framework conditions, the analysis and its results to the ERP area manager. If a module extension makes sense, possible solutions are reviewed and presented to the users. "Currently, we have submitted an inquiry to COSMO CONSULT for the Industry Solution cc|Task-Based Planning. If the solution turns out to be suitable or nearly suitable, we go into a preliminary project planning phase to coordinate the commercial, technical and time dimensions and commission an implementation project," Braband cites an example.
"This means that the support know-how for the various technical and organizational solutions only has to be available once within the group of companies. On the one hand, this avoids duplicate or multiple personnel costs and, on the other hand, creates a standard in the corporate group for the same or similar processes that is available to everyone," states Braband. Software systems can also be licensed at group level to take advantage of economies of scale in licensing costs. The infrastructure for all companies can be based on the same technology and thus on the same hardware. This results in cost reductions in the area of procurement.
Ultimately, the Berlin.Industrial.Group. business model has proven to be a complete success, in which the central supply of members with the required software, process and system platforms plays a significant role. "And it helps us decidedly that we have a full-range provider in our IT partner COSMO CONSULT. Especially when it comes to technical topics, we can always see what solutions can be provided from the large consulting, project and software solution portfolio," knows Sebastian Braband. And Tom Lüders confirms: "We know that we have a partner at our side who can support us with flexible solutions in all areas of the value chain and successfully accompany our constant change.