Start-up meets SME

“Both sides have benefited from each other”

Start-up meets SME: MotionMiners and META-Regalbau expand cooperation

Creativity meets expertise. Innovative products and services meet established processes and networks: When start-ups work together with small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), worlds do occasionally collide. “All participants can learn from each other and jointly reap numerous benefits,” Britta Scherer of Digital.Hub Logistics and “Digital in NRW – Expertise for SMEs” says with conviction. Fraunhofer IML’s initiatives for entrepreneurs and founders based in Dortmund specifically promote cooperation between SMEs and start-ups. Successful cooperation between MotionMiners GmbH founded in October of 2017 and the traditional company META-Regalbau GmbH & Co. KG based in Arnsberg is the most recent example.

The young provider for the automated analysis of manual processes encountered the renowned warehouse technology specialist in July of 2017. It quickly became clear that the conditions for working together were right. “The MotionMiners concept was coherent and comprehensible, and the technology is used in the warehouse – where we are also at home,” says Kerstin Herdtle, Manager Digital Innovation & Technology at META-Regalbau and head of the start-in META & YOU. “We also want to blaze new trails and pursue the further development of partnerships to open up new business areas.”

The three founders of the start-up: Sascha Kaczmarek, Dr.-Ing Sascha Feldhorst, and Dr.-Ing. René Grzeszick

Kerstin Herdtle, head of the start-in META & YOU

After two meetings in the Digital.Hub Logistics in Dortmund and at META headquarters in Arnsberg, a pilot study was launched in January of 2018. Process times for picking the articles META SPEED-RACK and META MULTIPAL would be analyzed in plant II to uncover optimization potential. Measurements, presentations, analyses – and a few challenges – data had to be clarified, and META had to deal with operating process disruptions. “The project was an important learning process for all of us,” Kerstin Herdtle and Sascha Kaczmarek agree.

A learning process that paid off. The project participants agree on that as well. “The benefits clearly predominate,” says Christoph Schöttler, Division Manager Supply Chain Management at META. “New process potential was identified, we were able to collect initial experience in partner management based on the extensive Digital.Hub Logistics network, and we identified possibilities for acquiring new customers as a result.” MotionMiners also draws a positive conclusion from the cooperation between start-up and SME: “There was always direct contact with management, efficient decision-making, and little bureaucracy,” Sascha Kaczmarek says.  “This project was uncharted territory for both sides,” says Sascha Kaczmarek, COO of MotionMiners, looking back, “both sides worked together well and benefited from each other.”

There is good reason for the cooperation within the Digital.Hub Logistics and beyond to continue: Further analysis projects, a distribution partnership, and a joint use case by MotionMiners and META, which will be presented at LOGIMAT 2019, are planned.