Westernacher: Company Culture and a Drive for Innovation
At SAPPHIRENOW today, I met with Ronny Horvath, Managing Director & COO of Westernacher, an IT consulting firm that focuses almost exclusively on SAP.
With nearly 700 employees, a strong global presence, and a firm focus on supply chain solutions, Westernacher is an implementation partner with a difference. According to Ronny, this difference comes down to two factors in particular.
A culture of entrepreneurship
Westernacher is owned by its employees – which is a big part of the reason so many of the them stick around. “Our people know the business as well as IT,” says Ronny. “When we put people on a project, they typically have anywhere from 5-20 years of experience – which means that our skill set is second to none, especially compared to firms staffed by mostly young inexperienced talent.”
During our discussion, Christian Wagner dropped in, CEO Americas for Westernacher. As he explains it, the fact that employees own the company leads to a culture of entrepreneurship. “People feel personally responsible for how the company performs,” he says. “They take pride in their work as if they were running their own company – because they are.”
Focus on innovation
Westernacher is also focused on keeping its customers ahead with the latest technology. “Whenever SAP releases a new solution, we jump on it quite aggressively and try to learn everything we can,” says Ronny. “When a customer has a need for that solution, we’re ready to help them move forward.”
According to Ronny, this focus on bringing the latest innovation to market has helped Westernacher be among the earliest implementors of solutions such SAP Extended Warehouse Management, SAP Integrated Business Planning, and SAP Yard Logistics.
In a similar vein, the company has moved ahead with Internet of Things technology, building apps such as Connected Forklift, Connected Worker, and Connected Silos (not data silos, but actual silos used in farming). These apps, all built using SAP technology, enable Westernacher customers to get the data needed to stay on top of critical business processes and respond effectively.
A future of growth
Looking forward, CEO Christian Wagner sees one of Westernacher’s biggest challenges as that of managing growth. “We’ve grown quite a bit in the last couple of years,” he says. “This will continue, but our challenge is to do it in a way that maintains our culture of entrepreneurship, innovation, and partnerships with our employees.”
As the saying goes, that’s a good a problem to have.