Consulting spotlight

Costing individual items

Steinbeis helps develop a new cost index

In March of this year, VERSA, the German consolidated freight transport association, introduced the first “cost index for systembased consolidated freight transport.” This index will replace “houseto- house proposed tariffs” based on recommendations made by medium-sized businesses. On the one hand, these prices were proposed by third parties for business services, but they were regularly much lower than needed due to margin effects. On the other, there were major problems with the pricing system, primarily because processes were ignored. Professor Dr. Dirk Lohre, director of the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Transport and Logistics at Heilbronn University, provided scientific input on the design of the index.

The new cost index is based on the process of general cargo service provision and can basically be applied to all kinds of tariff agreements. To arrive at a price, key cost categories were defined and distributed according to each process required to dispatch consolidated freight. Toll charges were deliberately not included due to the nature of the system. The result: Between 2011 and 2012 the cost of a consolidated freight consignment rose by 3.37%. Within individual categories, staff costs rose by 3.03%, fuel costs rose by 4.50% and material costs rose by 3.29%.

The benefits of the cost index are totally apparent as it makes it possible to refer directly to individual company pricing structures. This was impossible with previous proposed tariffs. Cost trends captured by the index will also make it easier to find one’s bearings during price negotiations.

Certified job coaching

Steinbeis helps mothers return to the workplace after maternity leave

For three years, the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Systems – Projects – Potentials accompanied mothers returning to work after a break to look after children. This was part of a model program developed on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs. Another success: Four out of five women returned to work!

The plan is to build on this momentum. The District of Boblingen has now asked the two consultants, Verena Burgbacher and Heidi Boner-Schilling, to keep supporting men and women during the return-to-work phase after caring for children or loved ones. A follow-up program is also being provided by the Stuttgart Employment Agency. Women can register with the agency and receive certified coaching through the VIVA WORK program at the Steinbeis Consulting Center in Bobligen.

The joint project has been running successfully for years due to the collaborative efforts of the municipal authority, the local employment agency and Steinbeis, and it is carrying out important groundwork to mobilize “hidden reserves” of highly qualified women. Verena Burgbacher and Heidi Boner-Schilling are providing support to women and men with know-how and ideas developed in-house over a number of years. “There are parallel systems here, the family and work, and the complexity of each has to be understood in order for them to be reconciled,” explain the Steinbeis experts. Their success lining up work in recent years shows they are right.

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