The fourth MANN+HUMMEL Global Supplier Event was held on 28 September 2015. As you might imagine, this event has become one of the major fixtures in my calendar given my role as project manager. It is the culmination of all of my in-depth planning, which I have come to find requires a healthy mix of perfection, dedication and a touch of humour. As is so often the case, the devil is in the detail!

Our first Global Supplier Event took place back in 2008, and the aim then was the same as it is now – to inform our key suppliers about the strategic direction MANN+HUMMEL intends to take in the coming years and to encourage them to join us on our journey.

With this in mind, CEO Alfred Weber and Group VP Purchasing Hanno Höhn reported on the Group’s figures and plans, set out the requirements of MANN+HUMMEL customers over the next few years, and outlined the framework within which the relationship between the Purchasing department and our preferred suppliers is set to evolve.

This year, 68 of our 71 top suppliers from across 16 different countries accepted the invitation to bring two representatives to the Event. The tagline for this year’s event was ‘Passion to Intensify and Innovate’ and we designed a matching logo – P2I2 – that appeared throughout the accompanying exhibitions and on the backdrops, event materials and promotional freebies.

Our guest speaker Luna Maurer from Amsterdam-based design studio Moniker gave a talk on the topic of ‘Innovation by Play’. The MANN+HUMMEL product champions, Charles Vaillant and Dr. Hartmann, together with his team, gave a presentation on the latest products and innovations from a range of divisions within the company. After a one-hour break, it was time for the evening gala dinner, which included the traditional awards ceremony, with prizes going to the top seven suppliers of the year. This year also saw the introduction of a new special prize – the ‘Innovation Award’.

   

Nine months in the making

When I look back over the preparations for this event, it hits me just how long the run up to such an event actually is. The first preliminary meeting with Hanno Höhn was back in mid January of this year – a brainstorming session that led to a briefing with potential event organisation agencies who were invited to present their plans. At the end of the pitches we decided on Pulsmacher, an agency we have worked with many times before when organising events.

In April, we made a start on our supplier selection process, which took up to five weeks. This is no surprise really, as with a purchasing volume of around EUR 1.8 billion, it is really important that the process is transparent and well documented. We selected our suppliers on the basis of nominations from the global material group managers. They each put forward their top suppliers based on specific criteria and the decision on the final list of suppliers was then made by the Sourcing Council, which is made up of the three most senior Purchasing Managers at MANN+HUMMEL.

There were hundreds of details to organise throughout the spring and summer months, including the personally addressed invitations, the seating plan for the gala dinner and the exact lighting requirements for the items on display in the product exhibition. Every last detail was planned with extreme high precision, right down to where the award winners needed to stand when they received their prizes.

Organising an event of this scale is hard work but it is also a lot of fun. And I can say this despite having to take care of all kinds of details – I even folded the freebie boxes and filled them up with chocolates and was loading files onto 200 USB sticks for the attendees the night before the event because another final change had been made to one of the presentations. But when everything comes together at the end and goes smoothly, it’s all worthwhile.

At the end I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues Germana Teibl and Iris Trausch, who put so much effort into helping me organise the event (picture), and Irmgard Beck, who made sure we were following the corporate design guidelines throughout. An extra special thank you also goes to Claudia and Irina who took lots of jobs off my hands during the event and always made sure that the sun was shining 🙂