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SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting, learning and talent amanagement in humen capital management at the webasto group

Digitalization and standardization of global HR processes with SAP SuccessFactors

Company / Industry
Webasto SE / Automotive supplier

Range of Services
Webasto is the global market leader for roof and convertible roof systems as well as parking heaters and one of the 100 largest suppliers and system partners for the automotive industry worldwide. At more than 50 locations worldwide, Webasto employs more than 15,700 people and generates sales of 3.7 billion euros (as of 2021).


One of the most important findings of recent years is that employees are the most important pillar of any company. HR management is proving to be a particular challenge for the companies operating internationally and is therefore becoming increasingly important. In the area of digitalization, increasing competition also demands an intensive examination of a contemporary design of HR processes. Companies such as the successful automotive supplier Webasto, which want to maintain their leading position in global competition, are therefore focusing their HR management on modernization through proven systems and new specialist concepts.

As the world market leader and internationally renowned brand in the field of roof and convertible systems as well as parking heaters and one of the leading suppliers of innovative products in the automotive industry, Webasto faces new challenges every day. The globally successful company accompanies change in the automotive sector with forward-looking system solutions, for example in the field of e-mobility. Webasto is as sought-after and successful as an employer as it is in the industry. In January 2022, the family-run company with headquarters in Stockdorf near Munich was once again named “Top Employer Germany 2022” by the Top Employers Institute.

With more than 15,700 employees at over 50 locations worldwide, HR in particular proves to be a multifaceted challenge for a company like Webasto on a daily basis. Both recruiting and all other HR tasks require resources and increasingly require small-scale networking as part of an overarching corporate strategy. The digitalization and structuring of elementary HR processes is therefore a dynamic task for Webasto, for which the company makes targeted use of suitable systems that, not least, enable centralized control. With SAP SuccessFactors, Webasto has opted for a personal management system whose diverse modules specifically support those responsible in their work and equip them for the future. As a consulting and implementation partner, projekt0708 was able to successfully support Webasto with know-how and diverse project experience and lay the foundations for a successful future.


Strategic further development of existing systems

Starting point was a global SAP HCM system on premise. This system is used to manage employee master data and performance management across all locations. In addition, individual sites use the system for time management and payroll accounting. In Germany, event management was also implemented.

In the course of introducing a new specialist concept in talent management, those responsible in the specialist department were finally looking for suitable software. In addition, recruiting at Webasto was not yet based on a uniform system at that time. In learning, on the other hand, two separate tools were in use: the SAP-based event management system and the learning management system from a third-party provider. The explicit wish was to cover the tasks here with one application as well.

As a result of these considerations, Webasto decided in 2018 to issue a call for tenders and thus to search for a suitable system as well as a competent consulting partner for all existing requirements from the company’s various departments.

During the tender process, SAP SuccessFactors was ultimately chosen as the system solution and projekt0708 as the service provider for its implementation. Here, the experienced HR consulting and implementation partner benefited both from SAP listing as a partner with Recognized Expertise in the area of SAP SuccessFactors and from the project for the introduction of SAP Performance Management that had already been successfully carried out together.

„Thanks to the high level of project expertise and the wealth of experience of projekt0708 we don’t have to start from scratch even with pilot projects.”
Michael Suerbier
Head of IT Enterprise Solutions at Webasto
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Systematic implementation by projekt0708

The size and diversity of the overall project, as well as its implementation at different locations of the globally active company, required systematic planning and implementation of all necessary measures. For this reason, the project was primarily divided into two independent projects. In the first step, Recruiting in Germany and Learning worldwide were implemented in parallel. A second project team developed all the necessary concepts and measures for the introduction of global talent management.

Projekt0708 worked with its proven standard implementation methodology as well as an iterative approach. Within the classic conception phase, workshops were used to be able to adequately consider the concrete requirements in the subsequent configuration phase. Exactly ten months after the start of the project, the first roll-out of the new SAP SuccessFactors system took place in the Recruiting area.

In the area of Learning, Webasto placed great emphasis on the composition of the workshop teams and process optimization. Since Learning is organized globally within the company, representatives of the functional and regional academies as well as coordinators from the superordinate regions were included.

The new Talent Management was implemented independently using two SAP SuccessFactors modules. In the future, SAP SuccessFactors Performance and Goals will support Webasto in the continuous identification of internal high-potential employees. This also includes Calibration as a means of checking and ensuring uniform talent assessments. The Succession & Development module is also used for talent development. Since these are global processes for Webasto, the entire project team thought globally from the start and coordinated the implementation in consultation with key users from the largest user regions in order to ultimately realize a global go-live.

The circumstances surrounding the Corona pandemic, which had an impact on the implementation of the project, proved to be a particular challenge. As a result, the project increasingly dispensed with on-site meetings and proceeded remotely. Thanks to the high level of commitment of all those involved, it was nevertheless possible to establish a goal-oriented communication culture and to develop maximum efficiency, reliability and trust in the collaboration, even at a distance.

In addition, the top priority in the project was to use the system as close to the standard as possible and thus to adapt the international processes to the standard as far as possible.

Challenge accepted – Lessons learned

In retrospect, the extensive project was associated with a number of challenges, which the project team was able to overcome very well with the support of projekt0708.

The central topics here were, on the one hand, the necessary involvement of the works council in the elementary change processes and, on the other hand, the topics of data protection and data security, which are gaining in attention and importance, especially in Europe.

The fundamental shift from a previously on-premise based system to a global cloud product required addressing other issues such as authentication and system access.

To make matters worse, Webasto's implementation of SAP SuccessFactors marked a move from a previously largely decentralized organization in human resources to a globally standardized system. This involves standardizing numerous processes globally on the basis of the SAP SuccessFactors standard.

“One recommendation that we can pass on to other companies with comparable project plans concerns project team training. In the current project at Webasto, these followed the first analysis phase with a three-month delay. Afterwards, however, it became clear that it would have made sense to start the project team training on SAP SuccessFactors at the beginning in order to create a basis or basic understanding among the employees for all subsequent project steps,” recalls Silvia Thum.

Webasto currently works with a hybrid system landscape and continues to use both SAP SuccessFactors as a cloud-based system and the existing SAP HCM on-premise solution in parallel in individual areas. With the experience and the professional and technical expertise from “both worlds”, projekt0708 was able to competently advise and support Webasto in all questions regarding the required interface solutions.

“For us, the hybrid approach is the right middle ground,” knows Silvia Thum, IT Project Manager HR at Webasto. “As a central point of contact, projekt0708 has always provided us with comprehensive advice and support, not only relevant to the project, but also strategically, in a professionally thought-out, flexible and committed manner.”

Overall, the cooperation between Webasto and projekt0708, at the operational level in various project teams went very well. Despite cross-connections, the individual teams worked largely independently of each other. Internally, projekt0708 held regular meetings with the individual project managers to ensure that the autonomous working methods did not have a negative impact on the overall project.

„As a central point of contact, projekt0708 has always provided us with comprehensive advice and support, not only relevant to the project, but also strategically, in a professionally thought-out, flexible and committed manner.”
Silvia Thum
IT Project Manager HR at Webasto
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Mission accomplished - to be continued

With the gradual conversion of recruiting to SAP SuccessFactors through further rollouts in the USA, Mexico, Portugal and Romania, massive positive changes in the associated processes are already evident, especially in favor of significantly increased standardization and transparency. For example, the system’s internal notification principle for incoming applications replaces the mailing of applicant data and documents. Not least, this enables Webasto to meet its own compliance standards with regard to data protection.

The centralization of recruiting supports Webasto above all in the implementation of global strategies. Not only can all job postings worldwide be managed via one platform, but external personal service providers can also be seamlessly integrated, for example. For individual processes, time-consuming, mostly analog and often error-prone tracking procedures are no longer required. Those responsible receive status information on each process at a glance and can thus check at any time where measures are required.

For the future, Webasto is already planning a further expansion of the system, for which projekt0708 will continue to be the service provider of choice for Webasto as an implementation partner. “We want to continue to use projekt0708’s integration expertise, also in cross-system projects, in order to continuously develop further,” explains Michael Suerbier, Head of IT Enterprise Solutions at Webasto. “Thanks to the high level of project expertise and the wealth of experience of projekt0708 we don’t have to start from scratch even with pilot projects.”

„Thanks to the high level of project expertise and the wealth of experience of projekt0708 we don’t have to start from scratch even with pilot projects.”
Michael Suerbier
Head of IT Enterprise Solutions at Webasto
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