20 years of delaware. 20 talks between generations of customers and the #peopleofdelaware
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The power of understanding your customers’ needs
To reach 150 years, you have to understand your customers’ business and industry.
Thomas Faisy, Information Systems Manager for CONDAT group, Thomas Zimmerer, responsible for IT at Karl Knauer and Han Cornelissen, responsible for IT at Heiploeg, discuss when and why they decided to get involved in a partnership with delaware, the challenges encountered prior to their collaboration, as well as reflect on their project and how it succeeded thanks to delaware.
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The power of understanding your customers’ needs.
When/why did your organization decide to partner with delaware and what was the goal of the project?Thomas F: We've been partners with delaware since 2009. We started with the DEL20 project, which deepened our understanding of their competencies and sparked our interest.
Thomas Z: Our 13-year partnership began in 2009 when we sought a sustainable ERP solution for the packaging industry, drawn by delaware's industry expertise and SAP-based template.
Han: We joined delaware in 2011. Their SAP FAST template was used to replace multiple disconnected legacy applications, improving logistics and finances in the food industry.
What were the biggest challenges in the project and how did you deal with them?Thomas F: To address the growing scarcity and costliness of raw materials, we partnered with delaware to implement a system that identifies products on our production line, halting production when deviations from specifications occur to conserve raw materials and ensure optimal quality from the start.
Thomas Z: Karl Knauer's diverse production portfolio posed implementation challenges, but delaware's industry expertise guided us. Since 2012, we've improved our processes. Now, we're transitioning to S/4HANA with delaware to stay at the forefront of technology.
Han: As a private label company, Heiploeg faces dynamic challenges like diverse customer demands and market shifts. This project tested our adaptability, addressing issues like scope creep and management engagement.
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The power of understanding your customers’ needs.
Overall, do you look back on the project and collaboration with delaware with fulfillment?
Thomas F: The delaware team has exhibited remarkable adaptability in accommodating our customers' unique constraints throughout the project. This unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction is a hallmark of their service.
Thomas Z: The collaboration between Karl Knauer and delaware has been successful, despite typical project fluctuations. Effective communication has been crucial. Most notably, change management in IT and digital projects have been vital to ensure seamless user integration. Challenges emerged internally and with business stakeholders, but improving communication channels will be key for future endeavors.
Han: Reflecting on our project, we managed to adhere to our budget and nearly meet our timeline targets. The importance of change management and user training became evident. Investing in user training is essential for project success.
Thank you for this interview, Thomas F, Thomas Z and Han!
To reach 150 years, you aim to change the world every once in a while.
delaware has consistently emphasized the importance of "doing things right" and "doing the right thing". That’s exactly how we manage to change the world every once in a while. In 2009, we played a major role in the development of Johnson & Johnson's Patient Outcome Measuring Tool, which significantly revolutionized healthcare data. Despite initial concerns regarding data protection, this tool proved to be a game-changer and brought crucial advancements to the industry. Similarly, today delaware is partnering with Uze, a Belgian startup, to realize their ambitious vision in providing electric vehicle charging services in cities, as convenient as ordering a pizza. Dr. Tomas Sorgeloose, Project Sponsor and Subject Matter Expert for value-based healthcare of the J&J project, and Kris Verdonck, CEO of Uze, share their experiences regarding these impactful developments.
“The main challenge was the required change in mindset.”
To reach a 150 years, you show resilience and perseverance.
In our year-to-year journey from 2003 to 2023, the year 2008 proved to be remarkable, characterized by strong traits of determination, tenacity, and resilience. In the early 2000s, the tourism industry faced an imperative need to swiftly adapt to digitalization. As a testament to their unwavering perseverance, Neckermann earned the prestigious distinction of being recognized as the best travel e-commerce site in 2008, as affirmed by Gert De Caluwe, the Executive Chairman of Neckermann.
Similarly, Mitsubishi Electric China embarked on its own transformative path towards digitization in order to meet the evolving expectations of its customers. Haoran Wang, the Planning Division Director of Mitsubishi Electric China, attests that resilience played a pivotal role in achieving their triumph.
"We believe that human society can become more rational, tolerant and creative." Haoran Wang
The power of long-term vision in times of crisis
Jan Delaere, founding partner of delaware and Fabio Carneiro, partner & chairman of the board at delaware Brazil, discuss the positive results of having a unique vision. To reach 150 years, you go against all odds. Jan Delaere tells how delaware Belgium went its own way during the financial crisis in 2007, turning the crisis into an opportunity. In 2022, delaware Brazil went its own way in implementing SAP's cloud strategy, dramatically increasing its market share. Fabio reflects on how delaware Brazil went its own way.
"It's important to realize that our projects have a big societal impact."
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To reach a 150 years, you go your own way against all odds.
How do you approach growth, and how did you manage to navigate through the 2007 financial crisis?
Jan: "Our approach to growth includes having a long-term vision and commitment. When the 2007 financial crisis hit, we were affected just like our clients. While other companies were downsizing, delaware invested in talent, delaware saw it as an opportunity to strengthen the workforce and prepare for the resumption of the war for talent.
What made you create a company designed for never being sold?
Jan: "I was one of the 3 partners who launched delaware. The decision to never sell is based on the insight that we need all #peopleofdelaware to make this company a long-lasting success."
Fabio: "We took the same starting point as Jan 20 years ago; we have created a strong local team that has to become #peopleofdelaware. They will work closely with skilled people from other countries, and this combination is the key to our success in the future."
How do you create trust in times of crisis?
Jan: "With a combination of vision, actions and especially also a lot of communication. We don’t hide our concerns and make people aware of the dangers, but at the same time we highlight our long-term focus and confirm our commitment to our stakeholders. We empower everyone to stay sharp."
Does focus on the long term always pay off and where do you see delaware in 2123?Fabio: "In our case it really does, as it helps us to stay focused. When markets shift, we don’t chase the quick wins but stay focused on what we believe to be our true assets."
Jan: "I want to add that delaware envisions a strong, worldwide and well-managed company, still building on the same values of today in 2123. And still being an independent partnership, because this gives us competitive advantages in a world where agility is key and where building on the world’s best talents is crucial."
Fabio: "We have carried out a fantastic agrobusiness project, where we generated value and reduced social inequalities. Our projects often have a big societal or environmental impact."
What’s the project you are proudest of?
Jan: "Absolutely true. The project I’m most proud of, is delaware itself. I’ve always been fascinated about how to unleash the amazing potential of people and organizations."
Success factors for supplier relationships
David Eslick, director of business technology at Gulfstream Aerospace, working with delaware since 2006 and Tom Breure, financial director at Leerdam Crisal Glass, (LC Glass) working with delaware since 2022,
talk about the value of long-term business partnerships.
"Never being sold creates a sense of long-term success."
Reflections on strategic challenges
Luc Van Aelbroeck, managing director of delaware in 2005 and Eric Hiernaux, managing director of delaware international in 2023, discuss how strategic challenges have evolved over time and what the key strengths of delaware are for the future.
"Saying yes is challenging, but we just did it, all together."
Luc Van Aelbroeck
The secret behind the long-term career path
Jan De Bock joined delaware in 2004 and his career path evolved from junior to partner and managing director of delaware BeLux. Today he talks with Josh Westwell, a new junior analyst at delaware, to discuss the secret behind the long-term career path of delaware employees.
"The juniors of today are the leadership of tomorrow." Jan De Bock
The founding of a company, to 'never being sold'
Peter Oyserman, founding partner of delaware and Ataa Erroussafi, general manager of delaware Morocco had a captivating talk about our company's long-term vision, local culture, and delaware's 'never being sold' vision.
"The whole idea of seeding, feels more like doing the right thing than obtaining only business results." Peter Oyserman