As in the past two years, students at Leuphana University Lüneburg worked on two practical digital business projects for the building materials producer Holcim in the summer semester of 2021. This year, due to corona, the final presentation was again purely digital via video conference, which has already visibly become routine for the presenting teams after one and a half years of study in times of the pandemic.
This year, five groups of students developed digital solutions for two different tasks: Three teams tackled the development of a digital procurement platform. Two others developed concepts and prototype tools for the daily recording and visualization of material inventories in the plants.
The audience and jury in personal union were specialists and managers at Holcim who had worked very closely with the teams over the past months. On the part of the university, Professor Mathias Groß (Business Informatics, focus on e-business and knowledge management) again supervised the project in the third year of cooperation, in which students from a wide range of disciplines were involved. It was all the more remarkable to see the enthusiasm, analytical approach and problem-solving skills with which all five working groups tackled the tasks.
After only three months of dealing with the topics, the students came up with impressive solutions. “I am thrilled with the professionalism with which they took on the challenges,” said Christian Schuldt, Head of Logistics at Holcim Germany, who also praised the composition of the teams: “The interdisciplinary composition of the five groups with students from very different disciplines brought together a wide range of skills, perspectives and focal points, which made the collaboration very fruitful.” An assessment that all participants fully agreed with. Emilien Collard, Head of Operational Procurement at Holcim, was also amazed: “I have rarely received such qualified input from people who do not even work for us. It is fascinating how in-depth the students went.” Professor Mathias Groß was also very pleased: “I would like to thank all the employees involved at Holcim for their great commitment in the exchange with our students. We look forward to hopefully many more joint semester projects in the years to come.”
In previous years, parts of the digital solutions created have already been implemented at Holcim Germany – and this is to be expected again this year, as spontaneous applause broke out among the audience during the presentations. The jury was unanimous: If the various tools were linked together in a meaningful way, internal processes could be optimized effectively and quickly.
As in previous years, the project was again led by Mohamad El Faraj, IT Project Manager. “This year, the Purchasing and Production Aggregates Departments were involved in the students’ tasks. For next year, many other departments have already announced their interest in cooperation.” It proves how much all sides benefit from such collaborations: Holcim receives not only great developments in prototype status but also valuable assessments from the outside, while the students can put their theoretical skills into practice. All parties involved have already agreed to continue the cooperation in the coming year.