Student Award Business Chemistry: Agility in Chemical Procurement

    For his master's thesis, Niels Gerhard took a closer look at the procurement function of a chemical company: How agile is the organization – and is there any room for improvement? He delivered an excellent analysis, which we honored with our Student Award Business Chemistry 2018 in cooperation with the University of Münster.

    Prof. Dr. Hans-Ulrich Humpf, Silke Grosse-Hornke, Niels Gerhard, Prof. Dr. Jens Leker (from left to right) Photo: Dr. Peter Dziemba

    The term "agile work" is usually associated with project management as it is common in product design or IT development. But also corporate functions such as purchasing benefit when teams process their tasks more flexibly and at shorter intervals. What is the potential of agility in chemical purchasing? Niels Gerhard dealt with this topic in his master's thesis at the University of Münster.

    Employees are sometimes unequally occupied

    In his case study, he examined the purchasing organization of a major German chemical company. The student asked internal experts to assess the agility of the department, and what challenges they see in this area. Among other things, it turned out that some employees are unevenly occupied because their tasks change frequently. Niels Gerhard also interviewed several external scientists. At the conclusion of his work, he presented options on how the chemical company could make its organization more agile.

    We found his thesis extraordinarily conclusive and practically relevant. Therefore, Niels Gerhard was awarded this year's Student Award Business Chemistry. Since 2012, Grosse-Hornke has been granting this 1,000 Euro prize in cooperation with the Institute of Business Administration at the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy at the University of Münster.