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Andreas - Head of Projects

Success or failure is not just a matter of having the best solution for the market. It’s also essential to actually get the show on the road and implement the projects effectively. One of the people who has been doing that at GK for nearly a decade is Head of Projects Andreas. It is his job to translate customers’ wants and needs into contracts and to set the relevant wheels in motion internally. “The biggest challenge in this job is that you represent the company when talking to the customer but you also represent the customer’s needs internally. That demands a certain degree of backbone when dealing with both sides.” And in addition to the ability to deal with so many different types of people, he of course also needs the skill to lead large-scale projects efficiently and to overcome the inevitable gaps and bottlenecks. So it is useful that he can draw on almost 20 years of project management experience in the retail sector.

When I joined GK there were just over 100 employees, and project management mainly involved managing development for our ten customers. In that sense, we’ve come a long way in terms of professionalization.

In that time, Andreas has managed more than 25 POS-related customer projects, and for GK alone he has already been responsible for over 25,000 checkout installations in various countries. Is there anything that still makes him nervous? “Whenever the phone rings at 7 a.m. on a Monday morning, when checkouts are causing problems, or when there’s a hitch at the close of business on a Friday evening, it means that immediate action is required. In our business, our customers can’t afford to wait a couple of hours for a solution.” Those situations call for leadership qualities in order to mobilize the right people and resolve the problem quickly.

 

The equivalent of once around the world

But even without crisis situations, the job of project manager is demanding on a daily basis. The most important tasks are planning, monitoring and above all communicating. The role also means that Andreas spends much of his time sitting in a car, on a train or on a plane rather than in his office, since certain things can only be discussed and arranged on site with customers or at one of GK’s subsidiaries. So he easily travels 40,000 kilometers a year, or in other words the equivalent of once around the world.

When the project manager looks back on his time at GK, the company’s strong growth since 2006 becomes particularly apparent. “When I joined GK there were just over 100 employees, and project management mainly involved managing development for our ten customers. In that sense, we’ve come a long way in terms of professionalization.”

 

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