Jörn Messner in conversation

“Customer orientation is the indispensable basis for success.”

Jörn Messner is the new Managing Director of Lufthansa Industry Solutions. In this interview, he talks about the current challenges for the economy, the new responsibilities of companies, and how IT and standardized AI services can support them.

Mr. Messner, you have been the sole Managing Director of Lufthansa Industry Solutions (LHIND) since July 1, 2021. Prior to that, you had managed the business together with Bernd Appel for three months. What were your first impressions?

Despite Corona and lock-down, the welcome culture at LHIND made it easy for me to get started. You quickly get to talk to all the employees and realize that you can achieve a lot together with them. I was impressed by the diversity in the company, the high level of technological professionalism, the extensive industry knowledge, and the goal-oriented and customer-oriented approach.

How important is customer orientation to you?

That is the indispensable basis for success – for us and our customers. I myself attach great importance to always thinking about issues from the customer's point of view, and it is important to me that the projects turn out to be a success from the point of view of our customers and also their customers. I want to drive innovation and invest in innovation to help our customers succeed in a strong market environment. Our passion must be to understand the customer's processes and assess how technology can help them become better and make their business even more successful. To do this, it is important that we as IT consultants always look at technology, products, or individual solutions from the customer's point of view.

I want to drive innovation and invest in innovation to help our customers succeed in a strong market environment.

Jörn Messner , Managing Dircetor

LHIND serves customers in a wide range of industries, from medium-sized companies to corporate groups. What are currently the biggest and most pressing challenges in the market?

Market pressure on the German market from abroad will increase. The German economy can only respond to this with efficiency and productivity. Added to this is the Corona crisis, which forced many companies to undergo a transformation that would have taken a decade in normal times. According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, this forced digitization push could lead to rising productivity in the economy, and productivity growth could be twice as high every year up to 2024 as in the pre-Corona era. However, this can only work with the same high quality through technologies, through more computing power and artificial intelligence.

Another challenge that will strongly shape the next decade is decarbonization. The topic is much more present than in previous years. There is almost no industry left that does not have a goal of reducing its carbon footprint. The German government's decision and the new EU climate protection law are increasing the pressure on companies to be more climate-efficient. In addition, established industries are increasingly being challenged by new, fresh ideas. One example is the automotive industry. It is currently learning how to deal with the issue of electromobility in an impressive way and at an impressive speed.

How are consumers responding to these challenges?

Consumers are increasingly demanding that companies take responsibility for their products. This also includes creating transparency about supply chains. The new Supply Chain Act, which will come into force in 2023, places greater obligations on companies to comply with human rights. They will then have to identify risks of human rights violations among their suppliers and, where necessary, take and document countermeasures.

In addition, the trend toward individualized products is intensifying. Customers want to feel that they are being addressed more personally. The challenge for the economy will be to really implement this customer centricity.

What role does IT play in this?

With all these challenges, IT and digitization are levers and opportunities for success. Technology has always been the driver of change and development. We will see a productivity and efficiency boost in the next decade through hyper-automation and through delay-free supply chains. One example of this development is ports, where container handling is now largely automated.

What are the main differences between smaller and larger companies in this?

In the case of larger companies, there is a particular demand for more individual solutions that are specifically oriented to the company's processes. As LHIND, we develop customized solutions for the customer's business in interdisciplinary teams with technology and industry expertise and together with the customer.

Small and medium-sized companies, on the other hand, in my view, will need more and more IT solutions in the future that are offered compactly as services. That's why we're now launching our new “Artificial Intelligence as a Service” offering. We have developed these turnkey AI tools in various customer situations for different needs and are now offering them as pre-trained solutions to all industries. Programming interfaces allow users to harness and benefit from the power of AI without having to write a single line of code.

Which technology will customers benefit from the most in the next three years?

Artificial intelligence is certainly a great opportunity for the future, and its share of IT projects will be much greater in the next few years. We will see more and more AI elements and AI as a Service being embedded in large projects. We are already seeing this, too, as our customers are increasingly calling on our AI expertise to integrate these technologies into their projects.

Digitization must become part of the DNA of economy, politics, and administration.

Jörn Messner - Managing Director bei LHIND
Jörn Messner
Managing Director

What requirements does Germany as a location have to cope with when it comes to digitization in order to remain competitive?

Digitization must become part of the DNA of economy, politics, and administration. My expectation of policymakers is that they invest in particular in programs that make the professions that are in demand for the future exciting for all groups, and that they succeed in making Germany a sought-after country for highly qualified specialists. There are already examples of this, such as the “mint:pink” project in Hamburg, Norderstedt and Bremerhaven, which is working to increase the proportion of girls in scientific and technical subjects. Such initiatives have the potential to keep Germany competitive as an economic location in the long term. However, it is crucial that economy and politics enter into a close exchange for this purpose – not only in the development of ideas, but also in their implementation.