Project house for SAP logistics sets course for the future and looks positively to 2024
Augsburg, December 19, 2023 – After an investment-rich year, SWAN is optimistic about 2024 with promising forecasts. Successful commissioning, particularly in the retrofit sector, intensified customer and partner relationships and consolidation of the product and service portfolio mean that SWAN can look forward to 2023 with satisfaction. Further milestones include the renewed Great Place to Work® award and the revision of the corporate values. With a clear view to the future, SWAN is planning further growth in 2024, expanding its service portfolio and entering the field of SAP DM (Distributed Manufacturing).
Although the logistics industry is still feeling the effects of the negative global economy and ongoing crises, SWAN 2024 is optimistic. A reorientation in terms of content and structure and good forecasts make the SAP logistics consultancy confident for the coming year. As a specialist in digital transformation, SWAN continues to benefit from the automation and digitalization boom.
“2023 was a challenging year for our industry in many respects. We experienced a hesitant logistics industry that often had to postpone major investments due to the global economic and political situation,” says Alexander Bernhard, Managing Director of SWAN GmbH. “As SWAN, we have been able to make good use of this to future-proof our content and make the necessary investments for our future. Thanks to structural and strategic course adjustments, we are entering 2024 in a stronger position and can offer our customers even better services with our revised portfolio.”
Customers mainly implemented retrofits with SWAN in 2023
In 2023, SWAN successfully implemented SAP EWM intralogistics solutions for many global companies, primarily in the automotive, pharmaceutical, fashion and food industries. In addition to intralogistics solutions for new warehouse buildings, its focus was increasingly on retrofits – the modernization of existing systems. “Many companies are cautious, especially in view of the global economy, and are delaying investment in new buildings. The modernization and optimization of old warehouses is therefore playing an increasingly important role for us,” emphasizes Kai Starke, authorized signatory and Director SAP Realization at SWAN. “Also because we use our SAP EWM and TM expertise to promote digital solutions, automate and streamline processes. In this way, we create more transparency and help companies to operate more efficiently and counteract the shortage of skilled workers in logistics.”
Another driver for companies that rely on SAP for their warehouse management is the discontinuation of old SAP EWM 9.5 systems. They must migrate to the new SAP S/4HANA suite by the end of 2027 in order to be prepared for the future. Kai Starke adds: “The switch to S/4HANA also offers companies the opportunity to optimize their structures and processes and realign them to their individual requirements. Our experts will help you find the best solution.”
Outstanding long-term customer relationships create the basis for new projects
SWAN is characterized by close customer loyalty and continuous support. Last year, the SAP project house focused more strongly on expanding its service portfolio, which is set to grow beyond existing customer support in 2024. Thanks to the high level of customer satisfaction, many follow-up projects have been created following successful go-lives. One example of this is the ongoing collaboration with Migros Genossenschaft Ostschweiz. After the first successful implementation of SAP EWM in 2019, further product ranges were converted to SAP EWM in 2023. Thanks to the excellent cooperation and the modular solution, SWAN is currently in talks to introduce a national SAP EWM template for other Migros cooperatives. The third warehouse commissioning at automotive supplier Brose and the commissioning of three plants for plastics manufacturer Pöppelmann in 2023 also resulted from previously successful projects.
Successfully completed project in the target market of Central and South America
The completion of the first project in Central America should also be emphasized. SWAN optimized the supply chain at Mexican food retailer La Costeña. “Central and South America are growth markets in which we see great potential. We are therefore continuously investing in the further training of our employees in Mexico in order to be able to guarantee the usual SWAN expertise and quality there as well,” emphasizes Andreas Brand, authorized signatory and Director SAP Realization at SWAN.
Corporate values 2.0
An active corporate culture plays an important role at SWAN. The merger with the SSI Schaefer Group in 2021 not only led to a sudden doubling of the number of employees, but also an increase in the number of branches. “With the immense growth of the team, our spirit has changed. After twelve years, it was time to question the original values and develop them further together,” emphasizes Alexander Bernhard, founder and Managing Director of SWAN. In workshops, all employees developed SWAN’s four core values: trust and transparency, flexibility, respect and appreciation, and team spirit. These four principles not only characterize SWAN’s identity, but also reflect the attitude of all team members.
Double Great Place to Work® award again
The high level of satisfaction among SWAN employees was also reflected in two employer awards. The project house for SAP intralogistics was recognized as one of the top employers in the ITC sector for the second time in a row, both at national and Bavarian level. In the “Bavaria’s Best Employers” category of the Great Place to Work® competition, SWAN achieved an outstanding 20th place among employers with 50 to 250 employees. SWAN is one of the top 29 ICT employers in Germany. With the Great Place to Work® award, the renowned international research and consulting institute of the same name honors outstanding employers every year.
Continuous investment in employees
The continuing success of SWAN has led to an increase in the number of employees to over 140 at seven locations. The Altenstadt an der Waldnaab site was relocated to Weiden at the beginning of 2023. The team moved into a larger and more energy-efficient new building there. The modern rooms fit in with the flexible working culture and deliberately offer areas for personal collaboration and communication. “We are noticing that colleagues are once again looking for direct, personal interaction and are coming into the office more often. We are pleased about this development and are investing in state-of-the-art working environments,” says Yvonne Oehme, authorized signatory and Director Business Administration.
Training and further education also play a fundamental role at SWAN. The in-house SWAN Academy is aimed not only at trainees and dual students, but also at all employees. SWAN has brought another trainer on board in order to be able to supervise even more trainees in the future. Other benefits such as language courses, the assumption of childcare costs, flexible working options and modern company car models are available to all employees.
Strategic realignment of the product portfolio: focus on SAP enhancements
SWAN used 2023 to revise and streamline its own product portfolio. With its consolidated portfolio, SWAN will focus more strongly on SAP-related products and cooperation with partner companies in future. The “Products & Innovation” department was restructured to develop and consolidate these SAP add-ons. The current team of three is responsible for the research and evaluation of solutions and ensures the process reliability behind product development.
“Since our foundation in 2011, we have developed smart logistics solutions for and with our customers,” emphasizes Alexander Bernhard. “The merger with the SAP division of the SSI Schaefer Group has further expanded our product portfolio beyond original SAP solutions. We streamlined this last year and focused on SAP enhancements. This allows us to offer our customers clear added value for their logistics in the SAP environment.”
Outlook 2024: Further growth and new business areas
The new year brings promising orders and digitization projects for SWAN. In addition to the focus topics of “values” and “consolidation of the service and product portfolio”, which will continue to be strategically supported, the focus will be on further expanding the service portfolio. Following the addition of the TM (Transportation Management) area in 2022, SWAN now also wants to gain a foothold in the field of “SAP Distributed Manufacturing (DM)”. By connecting production machines to SAP systems, companies can optimize their processes even further. The experts at SWAN also want to use their technical expertise in this area in the future.