As a regular contributor in this blog (https://www.continental-people.com/author/menkk/) I tried to provide some insights into the tasks and challenges of an Automotive DRIVE Graduate Trainee. Now, this 2-years phase of my life has come to an end. I finished the DRIVE program in April 2017 and would like to use this post to describe where life took me after the Trainee.
With my background in Marketing and the experiences I gained in the Business Unit CVAM (Commercial Vehicles and Aftermarket) I had the chance to be at the right place in the right time. A new project has already casted its shadows ahead for quite a while and seemed to be awaiting me. The segment Independent Aftermarket was planning to set up a customer loyalty program, a program that incentivizes our customers, the independent workshops and garages, to purchase our Continental products of the different brands such as ATE, Galfer, Barum and of course Continental. You might want to compare this in a larger sense with B2C programs like “Payback Card” or “Deutschland Card” for those of you from Germany.
Having the end of my Trainee program in mind, I started discussions about my future position already quite early with almost 6 months to go until my transition into “regular” business. At the beginning there was no clear answer about my future placement but my superiors started preparing, placed the information in the right corners and launched discussions. The option of taking over a role in the new Customer Loyalty Project was obvious right from the beginning and was one that also suited me well. Luckily, a few weeks before the end of the trainee I finally got the approval, the position “Program Manager” was made available as of May and would be grouped within the Sales Service team. I accepted the department move from Marketing to Sales Service and – wow – here I am now.
The new position is very interesting in many different aspects. The two main ones are probably those: First, my dotted line dependence provides me with many new insights – so, even though I am located in Sales Service, my main leader works in the Business & Process Development department which provides me with interesting insights into other topics in addition to the project I am working for. And second, the project itself is supposed to be an overarching aftermarket issue. So not only the segment of CVAM is involved but also a business unit of our ContiTech division and a business unit of Continental’s Tires division who both also serve the same aftermarket customers with different products. This means not only frequent traveling to Hannover to meet the respective responsibles but also great insights into (parts) of two Conti divisions that I haven’t had much contact with before.
So now, in November 2017, we finished to design the concept for the customer loyalty program, called MoreContinental, using the help of a small but experienced external agency, we thought about point earning and burning mechanisms, fraud protection, discussed the planned program with controlling, legal and compliance departments and I am very much looking forward to the next step: the technical implementation of our concept.