For Hauke Kießler, sustainability is a personal goal. That is why, alongside his strategy development work at the Mercedes-Benz Group, the Business Studies graduate has created an internal resource exchange. Employees can use the platform to offer or swap items that are no longer required in their units – from office supplies to furniture and tools. In his interview, Hauke explains why sustainability requires a can-do mentality, what he considers to be so unique about the work atmosphere at the Group, and how Mercedes-Benz made his degree an experience.
Mr. Kießler, what is the idea behind Mercedes-Benz's resource exchange platform?
The platform allows items to be transferred from where there is too many of them to where they are required. There are already numerous apps and networks that operate in a similar way for private individuals. Clothes, books and even food find new owners instead of ending up in the trash. That's good for the environment and for society, and it saves money. This idea can also be implemented in our company.
How exactly does it work at Mercedes-Benz?
The resource exchange is an open page in our Intranet. All of our colleagues at the various locations throughout Germany can post and offer the things they have too much of. In the interest of sustainability, we also always need to consider whether an exchange makes sense locally. After all, transporting a single ring binder across Germany to another plant using the internal mail system would make little sense.
So what kind of things are shared via the resource exchange?
It varies a lot. The items range from the very small, such as ballpoint pens, notepads or USB cables, to the very valuable. We once had a coffee machine and a pallet truck on offer, for example. In such cases, a transaction can amount to several thousand euros.
We have co-workers who support us as 'ambassadors' at almost every location. The many positive responses are very motivating!
What gave you the idea of creating it?
I had the idea in 2017 when our team was relocating to a new building. The rooms there were designed in accordance with the Mercedes-Benz Me@Work office concept. This means that there are flexible workstations and a lot of digital tools instead of "traditional" offices. Of course, the furnishings and fixtures of our old rooms were no longer suitable. So we were unable to continue using a lot of our furniture.
…and that gave rise to the resource exchange?
Exactly. In the past year I took part in "DigitalLife Open Space". That is a really fascinating series of Group-wide events at which employees work together to develop solutions for various issues. Anyone can register and get involved. I put forward the idea of the resource exchange. My colleagues Larissa Velitselos, Diana Teske-Zerr and Philipp Sondermann and I then developed a concept, and got started on its implementation.
What happened then?
Later on, we presented the resource exchange to 1,000 attendees of the "DigitalLife Day"
What's fascinating is that anyone can help conserve resources and protect the environment with simple means. We simply need more of a can-do mentality.
The positive response must be motivating?
I am happy to have generated more interest in sustainability with our project. I also think it's great that at Mercedes-Benz, I have the opportunity to contribute and develop ideas like the resource exchange. My boss even gave me a dedicated space to work on the project. I really appreciate this open work atmosphere here.
What challenges does the project entail?
There are some organizational and legal issues, such as the treatment of an exchange for tax purposes. We work closely with Controlling and Accounting in this regard. One of the goals we are working on right now is connecting the platform directly to Mercedes-Benz's ordering system. Then, if a department orders ballpoint pens for a customer event, for example, a notice could first appear that there are currently ballpoint pens available in the resource exchange.
Why is sustainability so important to you?
What's fascinating is that anyone can help conserve resources and protect the environment with simple means. We simply need more of a can-do mentality. One simple example is that a lot can be achieved through a large number of small steps by asking myself if I really need to print out a document for a meeting, or if I can view it on my tablet.
You actually work in Corporate Strategy. How did you end up at Mercedes-Benz?
I started my career at Mercedes-Benz in Sindelfingen through a vocational training to become an industrial management assistant. Then I wanted to better myself by studying Business Management in Münster. During my studies I maintained close ties with the company through the Mercedes-Benz Student Partnership Program, and during my practical stages I was able to get to know a lot of fascinating units at the group. I spent one semester at the Group in Beijing, for example, which was of course a special experience. I then wrote my thesis on the subject of "car sharing", which is how I came into contact with Corporate Strategy.
My current job is still in Corporate Strategy, but the Strategy Intelligence unit. We aim to analyze our market environment in connection with a variety of trending topics in order to draw conclusions for our strategy.
Personal details: Hauke Kießler (32) Hauke Kießler has been fascinated by the Mercedes-Benz brand since he was a child. His grandfather drove a real classic in the form of the 190. The native of Gifhorn in Lower Saxony did not have to think long about starting his training at Mercedes-Benz. Hauke also has a personal interest in the subject of sustainability. For him, it's the small steps that make a difference, whether it's shopping at the corner grocery store or choosing not to take unnecessary car journeys. His passion for cycling is of course perfect in this regard.