MARKANT Member Convention 2012
Cooperation as a core competence
Under the motto "The Strategy Conflict – achieving one's objectives alone or together wit others?", the MARKANT member convention took place in Munich in mid-June. Renowned speakers gave the 250 entrepreneurs from the MARKANT Group valuable food for thought. The core messages.
Cooperation or solo attempt: In times of the financial and government debt crisis, it is essential for industrial and trading companies to find the right balance in this strategy conflict. "The tensions surrounding Europe demand a lot from on us – and from you", said Franz-Friedrich Müller, executive director of MARKANT AG, in front of more than 250 guests at the Bayerischer Hof in Munich. He pointed out that MARKANT would also give its backing to the member companies in the future. In this context, MARKANT pursues a policy of expansion: "Over the first five months of this year, we have been able to raise billing sales by more than 10 percent in comparison to the same period of last year." The new members have also contributed to this increase", declared Mr Müller. The objective was to further pursue this course: "We wish to continue growing."
New framework conditions
Through its rearward services, MARKANT generated saving potentials for its members – across the entire value creation chain. Together with Euler-Hermes, MARKANT offers its members a 100 percent guarantee, unique within the European environment, through which security is provided for all accounts receivable from industrial companies. It is a dedicated objective of MARKANT that all supplier contracts to be concluded in the future shall include this guarantee.
For the partners of MARKANT, it is important according to Mr Müller to prepare themselves for changed political framework conditions. This included the EU Cosmetics Directive, which would apply from 2013, and the new Food Information Act (LMIV), which is set to require more transparency and the provision of detailed product information from the industry from 2014 onwards. "The retailer bears part of the liability on the basis of joint responsibility", Mr Müller pointed out. However, MARKANT also offered support within this context: With the Product Management Information System (PROMIS), MARKANT would provide all relevant information on products in the future wherever this proved possible.
"This is the project of the future", emphasised Mr Müller. Moreover, MARKANT would make a data pool available to its members from October of next year, which would show all special offer prices across Europe. "This will be the best system in the market", said Mr Müller.
According to the stock corporation's executive directors Franz-Friedrich Müller and Markus Tkotz, the objective of MARKANT is to become Europe's number one in terms of information and services. By 2016, the services of MARKANT are intended to be linked with a service remuneration, which will be charged as soon as the services are utilised. Strategically, MARKANT pinned its hopes on the cooperation with its members, whose independence and uniqueness in the market though would not be restricted. "Cooperation is our core competence and works only at eye level." Mr Müller called on the members: "Realise and inspire our cooperation."
At the MARKANT member convention, renowned speakers discussed the opportunities and risks of cooperation. Prof Dr Lars Feld, a member of the German Council of Economic Experts, demonstrated the effects of the government debt crisis on the national economies of Europe. The economic expert presented a debt reduction alternative that appears to be very bold in terms of German constitutional law: communitisation of the debts in the EU member states. For this purpose, the Council of Economic Experts has proposed a debt redemption pact.
To learn lessons from the financial crisis was the demand of Prof. Dr. Hans Tietmeyer, former president of the German Central Bank. "I wish we had a similar institution in Europe as the Council of Economic Experts in Germany", said the chairman of the board of trustees of the Initiative for a New Social Market Economy.
From the very beginning, European integration had been "fragile to a certain degree", Mr Tietmeyer pointed out. "A currency union without a political union is not possible", emphasised the expert and, at the same time, warned against trends that might lead to an abolishment of the euro. "The way out of the euro is not a way into the future, but rather the exact opposite“, Mr Tietmeyer argued. The return to national structures would produce ossification of these structures instead of moving forward.
Food for thought for entrepreneurs
Further speakers at the member convention presented solutions for success from their individual perspectives. The personnel coach and best-selling author Patrick Heizmann spoke about the eternal struggle of "head against stomach" when it comes to achieving the perfect body. Heizmann's demand: "Add protein to your diet on a regular basis." Scaremongering because of cholesterol in the egg yolk was unfounded, and information on the right nourishment did not protect in general against overweight: "The Germans know everything about nourishment and are the fattest people throughout Europe nevertheless", Mr Heizmann pointed out.
The right decision under pressure
Herbert Fandel, vice international referee of the year and chairman of the German Soccer Federation's referee committee, spoke about his experience as one of Europe's top soccer referees. "Taking safe decisions under pressure", was the title of his lecture – making convention participants aware of how much this title applies to the men in black. Fandel's "Back Four of Success" also applies to decision-makers in trading and retail companies: Basic competence, experience, personality and authenticity provide for security.
While Mr Fandel had compared the task of a soccer referee to the management of a company, the management coach and conductor Dr. Christian Gansch highlighted the parallels between orchestras and co-operations. "Listen to each other and act together", is the formula for success of the four-time Grammy winner. Co-operations depend on the trustful interaction of all persons involved", said Mr Gansch.
The significance of ethics and responsibility was stressed by the philosopher and best-selling author Richard David Precht. According to Precht, the three stages of human morality are the inhibition to kill, compassion and an innate sense of unfairness, of which a human being is affected.
At the evening of the first convention day, MARKANT invited its guests to the traditional Bavarian evening. For this occasion, Munich's Hofbräuhaus provided a suitable, hearty location. Beside the performance of cabaret artist Simone Solga, a sporting highlight also was in store, consistent with the European Soccer Championship: The popular commentator Werner Hansch presented a soccer panel and discussed issues like the quality of the German international team with vice international referee of the year Herbert Fandel and legendary goalkeeper Sepp Maier. The Jetzendorfer Hinterhof musicians provided for a genuinely Bavarian atmosphere.
The numerous decision-makers of the MARKANT member companies explicitly praised the Bavarian evening as a successful complementation of the convention programme. The atmospheric event fostered the team spirit, true to the motto: Cooperation instead of Solo Attempts.