No day like the other – a report by a young project manager in yard management

We ask for details: What does the everyday work of a young project manager in the field of yard management at OAS look like? Our interview of an OAS employee reveals interesting details of a project manager’s daily business. Let’s have a look at what really matters. Philip Zimmermann joined us directly after his studies as an industrial engineer in Bremen and he became project manager after a short time.

“Each project is an interesting new challenge! To take on responsibility in this area after such a short time and feel the support of a top team is great”, Philip Zimmermann states – a project manager of OAS AG since February 2020.

What formal vocational training have you completed and how did you find out about us?
I studied industrial engineering here in Bremen with a focus on production technology and successfully completed my studies with a master's degree in 2019. Actually, I became aware of OAS AG more by chance when I took a closer look at the companies here in the industrial park. As the company made a very good impression on me and there were several jobs advertised that matched my expectations, I tried my luck. Then everything actually happened very quickly. And my application obviously had the desired effect, so I had a great interview just one week later. I was shown the advantages of OAS but also my personal perspectives within the team. Another week later I received an employment contract, which I would sign again today – nine months later.

How long have you been employee of OAS AG and what exactly is your job?
For a short time only. In February 2020, I started in the distribution department. In order to get to know better our products and system solutions, it was a good idea to gather experience while working closer to the projects. At the beginning, I was even allowed to directly assemble a terminal myself during a two-week training as an skilled electrician. Today, I am working as a project manager in the field of YMS. As you can see, sometimes a professional change happens quickly.

There are so many terms in this field. What is YMS?
YMS is the acronym of Yard Management System. Before, this field used to be called control of incoming lorries. It is about depicting in a comprehensive way the processes, the driver of a lorry goes through while being on-site. This starts with registering at one of our logistic terminals, then large information boards show the driver that s/he may access the site, and finally the despatch takes place on-site so that the driver may leave the site. Often, weighing processes are involved. Actually, the weighing technology is our business from the very beginning when we started growing.

Our yard management systems accelerate and simplify the processes resulting in an additional benefit not only to the ordering parties but also to the drivers and, finally, in an increased efficiency of the plant logistic processes at our customer’s.

What is a typical yard management project and what makes it so interesting for you?
Multifaceted and individual! We are working on smaller and larger projects. Often, our customers require the extension of an existing yard management system, for instance in case of new business processes to be included. On the other side there are many inquiries of customers which have not run an OAS system so far. Here, the project manager’s tasks range from clarifying the technical feasibility of the customer's request, to the conceptual design and the implementation. Externally, I am then closely cooperating with the customer itself but also with the customer’s IT service provider or suppliers which are important for the project. Internally, the development of both, the hardware and the software, has to be initiated and coordinated. So it really never gets boring.

What was your biggest challenge so far and what are you particularly proud of?
Each day is an exciting new challenge! At first I was allowed to get very used to customer communication. But I really notice every single day that I learn something new. When I was then allowed to go to the customer on my own for the first time to train the users on our systems, I was already filled with pride. Then I recognized: Philip, your work is really important. And that feels great.

Which skills do you think are most important for a project manager?
Just like the job itself, the demands on it are also very diverse. As the project manager you always have to keep an overview. This is sometimes very demanding for larger projects, especially as several projects usually run in parallel. So being able to juggle to keep the many balls in the air does no harm. Of course, you should also have a certain affinity for technology in order to find your way in the fields of software and hardware. Last but not least, good communication skills and an eye for business contexts should not be underestimated.

What does your typical working week look like?
There is actually no such thing as a typical working week. I work more conceptually, for example to do preliminary work for software development. Another time I am at the customer's site and put a new yard management system into operation. Since we as a company have been selling our systems for many years, the support of our existing customers is also an important part of our work. Here, getting to know older projects shows me again and again how dynamic the YMS area is, how much our systems have changed until today, but also what will be possible in the future.

We thank Philip for the interesting conversation and wish him continued enjoyment in project work with the internal team and our customers.

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