It pays off to use digital tools

By: Annett Wölfing

Digital Tools improve the flow of information in a company. This allows the employees to be more flexible and increase their productivity. At the same time, it also helps increase employee satisfaction and involvement by providing the correct information at the right time. A well-developed technological structure pays off – teams can work from any location and with any device, simultaneously. At Heidelberg Materials I have the opportunity to use innovative digital tools that speed up the process of collaboration and help analyze data.

Woman standing in front of an office plant

My name is Annett Wölfing. I am an IT Controller in the HDigital Finance & Governance department. I am originally from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the far north of Germany, but during my apprenticeship and subsequent studies, I moved further and further south and finally landed in Heidelberg.

During my master's studies, I already supported the IT department as a working student. This gave me a good insight into the structures and processes of IT. At this time, I was completely impressed by the great working atmosphere and the cohesion within the company, so I decided to apply for a position as Junior IT Controller at Heidelberg Materials. I have now been working in this area for 3 years and I am happy to be part of a great team.

What makes my work so exciting? As a Financial Analyst, I never get bored, there are new challenges every day. It may seem that work in the financial area is about repetitive tasks, but it’s simply a lot more than that. In my position, I am, among other things, the Business Unit Controller for the Customer Engagement Department. Here it’s my task to track the financial performance, by analyzing actual results and compare it with plans and forecasts. This ensures to identify trends and make recommendations for improvements.

Furthermore, it’s my challenge to create financial models for decision support. Another important part of my job is the quarterly recharge of our IT services and projects costs to about 200 of our legal entities in more than 35 countries. So, this is a dynamic environment which requires constant improvement – both in terms of exploring the potential of digital tools and exchanging ideas and information

A woman working on a computer

In order to be able to react as quickly as possible not only to internal adjustments but also to external customer requirements, our agile working methods are fundamental.

Our well-developed technological infrastructure, with tools such as Office 365, Miro, or Jira, enables the teams to work efficiently at any time and from any location. This was a big advantage for me at the beginning of the pandemic, as I could easily switch to mobile working without any obstacles. Furthermore, modern technologies such as robotic process automation are paving the way for making our structures even more efficient. In order to be able to react as quickly as possible not only to internal adjustments but also to external customer requirements, our agile working methods are fundamental.

Digitalization is not about performing tasks on autopilot

Digitalization is the future. To maintain our position in the market successfully, we must invest in our digital infrastructure to meet future challenges. Our goal is to become the first industrial tech company in our industry. We have already achieved initial great successes, such as HConnect, our customer-facing digital product suite, and I am certain that with the prevailing commitment and motivation of our employees, we will stay on the track to success.

As part of the Finance & Governance Department, I strongly contribute to steering the company in the right direction with regard to the digitization strategy. Our financial and benchmark analyses are the foundation for important decisions. When it comes to essential purchasing decisions, I work closely with the Purchasing and Product Owner Team and am therefore able to shape and steer the process from its early stages. We are one team, and digitalization helps us not only to organize our work, but also to improve our performance.

Heidelberg Materials is a global player with more than just building materials behind it. With its innovative ideas and excellent reputation, Heidelberg Materials is not without reason the market leader in cement and ready-mix concrete and the leader in sand and gravel. I find it impressive that we are actively working to reduce our environmental footprint and are already pioneers on the road to CO2 neutrality.

A woman in a conference room

A team that supports each other

As a member of a great team, I am happy to go to work every day. Every day brings new opportunities and challenges, which I tackle with great motivation. In addition, I enjoy being part of a group that exchanges ideas and supports each other not only in the professional context but also in private.

As an employee at HeidelbergCement AG, I benefit from the company’s training and development programs, as well as its Corporate Health Management program. Through the “Fit for Life and Fit for Family” program, the company helps me (and other employees) achieve a healthy work-life balance. I appreciate these benefits as well as the company’s model of flexible working hours and the possibility to work from home.

The Finance & Governance team, currently with fourteen members, is one of the smaller teams in HDigital; however, it is by no means inferior to larger teams. The leadership style of our manager is collaborative. There is a great basis of trust, enabling us as employees to drive forward topics independently and take on responsibility. I can proudly say that we also have the most balanced gender ratio within HDigital and even the highest diversity in terms of our cultural background.

A woman working on a computer

Working at Heidelberg Materials is a great growth opportunity

After graduating with a Master’s degree in Tourism and Travel Management from the University of Worms in 2018, my expertise was initially concentrated on the colourful world of travel. I had received fundamental knowledge of business basics during my studies, but the peculiarities of the IT and construction materials industry were entirely new territory for me. Therefore, one of my biggest challenges was learning to understand the IT world and its language, as well as how their processes worked.

I succeeded more quickly than I expected. My manager helped me take advantage of the company's training seminars, including an introductory seminar on IT controlling and a certification in ITIL. I also benefited from HDigital's in-house learning day, which highlights IT topics and helps to keep employees informed about changes in the field.

In regular employee reviews, my manager has open discussions about career and development opportunities; additionally, personal goals are discussed and methods of achieving them are shown. My manager also made me aware of the Grow Program, which will be an important milestone in my future career at Heidelberg Materials. My goal is therefore to further expand my expert knowledge in the different areas of IT controlling and to do a further deep dive into different topics. As soon as I feel personally ready, I can also imagine being responsible for my own team in the future, to contribute to Heidelberg Materials success on a different level.

Tips for the working world

  • Believe in your strengths and be brave.
  • Take challenges and bring your motivation to the table, you can learn additional skills here.
  • Don’t be afraid to apply, even if it appears that your profile doesn’t match the job offer in 100% at first glance – it pays off, you can grow along with the company.