Chair of Technology and Innovation Management

ALDI Nord and ALDI Süd

How two of the largest food discounters innovate.

Swen Klußmeier (Director Innovation Management ALDI Nord) and Dr. Jörg Niesenhaus (IT Manager Strategy & Innovation ALDI SÜD) provided insights into the future of the retail industry in a virtual guest lecture.

Swen Klußmeier (Director Innovation Management ALDI Nord) and Dr. Jörg Niesenhaus (IT Manager Strategy & Innovation ALDI Süd) impressively presented the fact that ALDI is not only among the largest organic retailer in Germany, but also deals intensively with current and future challenges and needs, to the more than 100 participants in the "Innovation Management" lecture in WHU's Bachelor of Science Program.

The following challenges & trends are in the focus within food retail: E-Commerce, Warehouse Automation, Automated Stock-Taking, Retail Experience, 24/7 Availability and Last Mile Delivery. 

ALDI's mission is to identify new relevant technologies and business models and to validate them at an early stage, to increase the ability to innovate by leveraging internal and external knowledge and to promote the implementation of innovation projects with the most appropriate methodology. Internally, ideas and new projects are generated, tested and implemented quickly and without great effort by applying the Lean Start-up method. In addition, the international ALDI ecosystem supports the identification of relevant technologies and partnerships in the form of cooperation with start-ups, corporate groups, universities and multiplicators.

In addition, factors such as the continuous involvement of decision-makers, work in locations outside of the normal working environment and rapid testing by means of prototypes are always taken into account, as they contribute significantly to the success of an idea or an entire project.

The final lessons learned (finding the right partner, applying agile methodology and design thinking, conducting personal workshops, ensuring transparency towards partners and effectively communicating the project and its success) completed the presentation.

We would like to thank Mr. Klußmeier and Dr. Niesenhaus for their interesting and insightful insights and their willingness to share them with the WHU community.