Andreas Lukert Overview Research & Development Organization, Law & Communication IT & Telecommunications Supply Chain Management Production Procurement Finance & Controlling Corporate planning/strategy Marketing & Sales

"With our digitalisation strategy, we are reducing complexity and increasing speed".

In the Digital Transformation Strategy team, project manager Andreas Lukert is overseeing a wide range of digitalisation topics in the Integrity, Governance and Sustainability (IL) division. In his interview, Andreas talks about the challenges that come with a transformation, how he is continuing his education while working and the connection between his former internship and his current job.

Hi, Andreas. As part of the Digital Transformation Strategy team, your job is to drive digitalisation at IL. What is your specific role?

My job involves maintaining an established IT tool that provides advice on legal, compliance and integrity issues within Mercedes-Benz. For example, this might involve general enquiries on the subject of integrity or things like specialist questions relating to legal issues. In addition, I am also responsible for the further development of our division-specific digitalisation strategy. To be more precise, this is a strategy that aims to simplify processes. In this context, integration into existing systems and taking IT strategy into account is particularly important. On top of that, I am working as a project manager on a pilot project that is aimed at mapping the future of consulting within our department, and I also oversee communication topics related to the digital transformation at IL for our team.

"You have to constantly challenge and adapt yourself in order to act as a role model and remain credible."
"You have to constantly challenge and adapt yourself in order to act as a role model and remain credible."

Digital transformation is about strategy development, implementation of technology, data management and the design and introduction of new working methods, to name a few examples. How challenging is that for you as a project manager?

For me, there are two aspects to it: On a personal level and as a leader. On the one hand, you have to constantly challenge and adapt yourself, which is what I like to do in order to act as a role model and remain credible. And on the other hand, it is important that employees are convinced of the benefits of the transformation. Change is part of our everyday work. But how do I establish the willingness and openness in my team to repeatedly go along with this? I need to be able to make people see change as an opportunity. For example, during the introduction of new IT systems, it is important to make the benefits of these changes very clear.

You are also responsible for innovation and communication at IL. What are your responsibilities in this regard?

In the area of innovation, one of my tasks is to observe and assess new technologies. This means that we look at new technologies for different subject areas. For example, in the field of generative artificial intelligence (AI) – this includes things like ChatGPT, chatbots or no-code/low-code applications that we can use to automate processes – we look at these from the following perspective: How can they be used to benefit us?

I also attend events and trade fairs where I speak about digitalisation topics, for example, as a member of an expert panel or as a speaker. The topic of communication is all about how we, as a division, present ourselves on our social intranet with respect to the topics, which we are driving forward, and how we give the right input. I manage our two communities on the intranet.

Which project is keeping you most busy at the moment?

I am currently the product owner of an IT system used by approximately 130 IL employees who advise on legal, compliance and integrity issues internally and externally. We would like to replace this application with a new consultation standard in the long term. In the future, a collaboration platform will enable us to work together more efficiently on issues, break down barriers and take IL's advisory services to an even higher level of quality.

"My manager has supported my MBA studies from the beginning. There many opportunities for further development at Mercedes-Benz."
"My manager has supported my MBA studies from the beginning. There many opportunities for further development at Mercedes-Benz."

How can we picture your team?

Our team includes everyone from data analysts to conventional project managers. One third focuses on data management, another third is made up of product owners, and the rest – myself included – deal with the topics of strategy development, innovation and communication. The team consists of equal numbers of men and women, including English-speaking employees from India and China.

And how might we picture all these people working together?

We work together in an agile and hybrid way in Stuttgart, meeting there at the office regularly every fortnight, and beyond this we also meet on-site if the project requires this. So, depending on requirements, our cooperation is flexible. A lot can be done digitally, but not everything. This makes the constant exchange of information regarding our issues all the more important in order to keep an eye on the bigger picture. I also work on interdisciplinary projects together with a wide range of IT specialist units. I find the variety of our tasks particularly exciting here.

In 2015, you were an intern in the IL division at Mercedes-Benz. How was it for you to become a specialist manager just a few years later in the division where you once started as an intern?

The great thing is that I'm currently in charge of the tool that I helped to build as an intern and for which I wrote the first user stories. I know why the product was created, and this still helps me now. What we built back then laid the foundation for the present. It's exciting to see how it has evolved. Perhaps now I need to "cut out the dead wood" in order to create something new.

Since March 2022, you have been taking part in the Mercedes-Benz Academic Programme and working towards your MBA in Digital Business, Management & Leadership. How extensive is this professional training?

It's a classic master's degree that takes four semesters. I'm currently in my fourth semester. Fridays from 4 pm and Saturdays are usually lectures or exams. During the week, I meet up with fellow students in the evenings to help prepare presentations, for example. On average, I invest 16 to 18 hours a week in the study programme. In the evenings, I don't sit in front of the TV, but work on a presentation or study. It is also about lifelong learning. For me, standing still is a backward step. My manager has also supported this plan from the beginning. The opportunities for further development here are many and varied. Added to this, you have the excellent working environment, from our office and work facilities to the possibility of working from home.

You are passionate about playing badminton and tennis in your free time. Who would you most like to play doubles with?

Rafael Nadal. I admire his will to win, the way he plays and the consistency with which he performs over long periods. For me, he's a super role model – not only for sport, but also in my daily work..

Andreas Lukert's father worked in quality assurance at one of Mercedes-Benz's suppliers – even then, Andreas was fascinated by the Mercedes brand. Today, this native of Waiblingen is proud that he is able to work for one of the world's most successful vehicle manufacturers. After his apprenticeship as an administrative assistant, where he also obtained his advanced technical college entrance qualification, Andreas worked for the city of Stuttgart for two years. The internship at Mercedes-Benz during his subsequent business law studies then convinced him to continue his career path here. Andreas likes to relax from work by playing badminton and tennis, where he also meets friends – provided his part-time MBA studies at the Nürtingen-Geislingen University of Applied Sciences allow him to do so.