Digitisation at MAPAL
Chief Information Officer Erwin Schuster explains why speed is everything in his job
Between big data analytics, artificial intelligence and new business models, Erwin Schuster and his teams create the general conditions so that technological progress is a reality at all levels every day at MAPAL.
“The core task of my position is to act as a hinge between the business and IT departments”, says Erwin Schuster, describing his role as CIO at MAPAL. He manages the IT structure, communicates with Management and exchanges information with the various departments to establish requirements. The latter is particularly important to him because understanding the day-to-day operational business of individual disciplines is enormously valuable in his role. Especially in IT, you always have to be open to change and sometimes use new methods to achieve success. This drive towards combinatorial thinking can be seen early in his CV. After training as an electrotechnical assistant, he studied computer science with a focus on software engineering, followed by a PhD as an engineer at the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart. Most recently, he worked as IT Manager for a plastics specialist in Baden-Württemberg until 2018, when he decided to take on the challenge of a medium-sized family business and international supplier of precision tools.
Interlocking two worlds
At MAPAL, he comes face to face with the coexistence of an existing and evolved world. Both are deeply rooted in the organisation, develop in parallel and influence each other. For example, they’re faced with the task of modernising a powerful SAP that’s more than 20 years old by docking cloud-based satellite systems. “Bringing the worlds together and replacing or integrating one with the other will be a big challenge for us”, he predicts. Implementing new processes is strongly considered end-to-end and always has a cross-functional impact, which requires a completely different approach. Due to his key position, Erwin Schuster is always involved in a variety of projects ranging from processes, master data, SAP to Microsoft. At MAPAL, digitalisation is particularly evident in the growing tool and technology landscape. “For our young employees, these technologies are very exciting because we deal with projects and topics that you probably wouldn’t expect from a medium-sized company”, Erwin Schuster explains.