SAP is celebrating its 50th anniversary, which serves as reflection time for the SAP community to ask: What is success and where does it come from? Alongside all the technical achievements, impactful innovations and business inventions, SAP’s guarantee of success has always been the relationship management between SAP and its customers, as well as holistic problem solving. GIB was founded on these values and will continue to develop as part of the ifm group. I was able to observe some steps of its successful path.
GIB was founded in 1992 and currently has about 120 employees at the Siegen site and 900 customers worldwide. The company supports roughly 1000 SAP systems. GIB has had a partnership with SAP for 21 years and has developed sustainably – the term sustainability is chosen very consciously here.
Sustainability as a principle of action means avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance – or, in other words: that something successful in turn continues to create something new. The term comes from forestry, where obviously prudent management of the forest not only yields but also allows growth. The principle of careful resource management can be applied to many areas. Sustainability is also about giving future generations a chance and is therefore the opposite of overexploitation.
GIB primarily deals with the topic of procurement, which is not only a complex challenge, but also involves the imperative to achieve maximum yield in a resource-saving manner. A careful handling of the means of production brings about sustainability in the organizational and operational structure.
GIB became an important player in the SAP community and has helped many SAP customers to gain a new perspective on the topic of procurement. To a certain extent, the company from Siegen thus pursues an educational mission. Annual events at the company headquarters are not only an SAP community hangout spot, but also a learning opportunity.
Those in charge at GIB have always shared their experience and knowledge with customers, because shared knowledge has the sustainability effect described above.
Officially, this successful development is described as follows in a company presentation: “GIB’s software solutions extend the SAP standard by important planning functions and methods. Two central effects of the solutions are the reduction of unnecessary inventories and the increased readiness for delivery. Consequently, GIB customers gain a decisive advantage in their competitiveness and efficiency.” Because procurement within the framework of an ERP system is only part of successful logistics, GIB has evolved into a holistic SCM provider. Currently, GIB has a world-leading Supply Chain Excellence program and offers SAP users sustainable end-to-end processes.
Supply Chain Excellence
Supply Chain Excellence is no small task, as it ultimately involves creating a successful process in a cybernetic system. GIB took on that challenge of supply chain cybernetics. This step from a procurement solution provider to a holistic supply chain solution provider was important because existing SAP customers need more and more of this kind of control. The term cybernetics comes from ancient Greek and refers to the helmsman who steers his ship safely and successfully through the Aegean Sea. Hence also the generally accepted translation for cybernetics as the art of steering, which GIB now offers with its software tools to the SAP community.
What comes after Supply Chain Excellence? Even the supply chain is only one part of a larger whole that can be described as IoT, Industry 4.0, and ERP. The challenges of the coming years will not only be resilient supply chains and production sites, but rather a holistic and effective mastery of one’s own organizational structure and processes – from the CNC machine to financial accounting. Or, as GIB’s parent company, ifm, puts it more precisely: “ifm is strategically focusing on digitization and will thus develop from a sensor manufacturer to a solution provider.”
The company ifm was founded in 1969 in Essen, Germany, and currently employs 8,100 employees worldwide, who serve more than 160,000 customers. Since its founding, the company has been developing, producing, and selling sensors, controllers, software, and systems for industrial automation. In the past few years, this tireless work has resulted in over a hundred patents. As one of the pioneers in the field of Industry 4.0, ifm develops and implements holistic solutions for the digitization of the entire value chain “from the sensor to the ERP”.
It is a logical step for GIB and ifm to merge. ifm will carry the knowledge and experience of GIB into the world, and both companies will complement each other’s expertise.
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