Behind the scenes: Bernhard Nolte - Head of Global Infrastructure

Bernhard Nolte has been Head of Global Infrastructure at Fresenius Digital Technology (FDT) since June 2021 and demonstrated his expertise in several leadership positions before the current one. As an interim manager, he has a fresh, open-minded view of the company. He is currently handing over his position to the new SVP Global Infrastucture, Jyotin Shah. He then assumes responsibility in the outsourcing project, accompanying the affected employees through the change, transferring together with them to the provider and supporting the integration there. 

Which exciting projects is he involved in? What makes his job at Fresenius so special? What is different here compared to other companies? In this interview, Bernhard Nolte answers all these questions and more.

“Without us, no truck would leave the forecourt.”

What contribution do you and your teams make to Fresenius?

We provide the foundation. Without us, no truck would leave the forecourt. Would you like an example? If there is a network fault at a location, the site is cut off and can no longer “talk” to the main system at the headquarters. In this scenario, it is not possible to query warehouse stock or to find items in the high-bay warehouse. So, it is a fairly demanding job that has a lot riding on it. It is referred to as “Commodity IT” – which sounds a bit like anyone could do it – but you need to know and understand the corporation to do it well. Put simply, we keep things moving so the strategy team can do their jobs properly.

What is the most exciting project that you are responsible for?

Definitely the large harmonization project that we are currently working on. Up to now, our IT landscape has been a really mixed affair, with each segment within the corporation running its own systems. This means that there are a lot of interfaces to manage and, in turn, a lot of work. That is why we want to standardize the structures and processes. It will make it possible to repeat processes, to apply the same solutions over and over, and, at the end of the day, this saves money. We are currently switching to these standards at a pilot location in Sweden. In an ideal scenario, it would be great to operate the IT centrally, without needing anyone to do this on location. It is a fairly complex project, as we have had to automate all of the workflows, from procurement to delivery. We want to roll-out the solution globally if it all goes to plan.

What does this mean in practice?

Let’s take an example: An employee needs a new computer. The query lands in the SAP system and triggers an order, which is then forwarded to the hardware supplier. They install the necessary software, and the computer is then dispatched. This should all run so smoothly that the employee can unpack the computer, plug it in and start work immediately. And all of this without the need for any local IT support.

What do you like about working at Fresenius Digital Technology? How does it differ from other companies?

We have an extremely stable workforce with a great connection to the company. In no other company – and I have worked in a few – have there been as many 20th anniversaries celebrated as here in the last 9 months. The current transformation process has naturally created a little unease, as there will be significant changes in some areas of the business. But overall, compared to other companies, we provide a really good package for our employees, including social benefits. However, this alone is not enough. We currently have a huge desire for change. Right now, there are unimagined opportunities at Fresenius for people who want to make a difference. We are currently making huge leaps forward, both in terms of technology and within the organization. We also have lots of initiatives in the pipeline that will soon be ready to market. It is a really exciting time – not just for the company, but for our employees too.

Trust and transparency are vital in a period of transformation. How do you encourage this?

All changes bring initial discomfort, especially when you have to outsource services, as we are doing at the moment. I think that people have been a lot more understanding since we explained which provider we will be working with – a top provider from the sector, I may add – as well as how we will be approaching things and the reasons behind it. Communication and transparency are more important than ever – not least because a lot of the communication is still taking place virtually. There are various digital formats available for discussions at Fresenius, including cross-sectoral Townhall Meetings, which take place once a month. Then there are the All-Hands Meetings, in which the messages from the Townhall Meetings are broken down into the business divisions. A particularly important format is the Virtual Coffees, which are held in small groups. This is where I learn first-hand what is important to my colleagues.

“This current transformation offers huge potential, not just for the company, but for our employees too.”

Why are these formats so important?

Many people are still working from home, and we are missing those watercooler moments. It means that we need to take the time to explain things a lot more at the moment. And we like to do this to help keep an authentic dialogue going. People will only cooperate with change if they believe that we are fully behind them.


Thank you for the interview, Bernhard!



Diese Jobs könnten Sie interessieren