Group Quality Manager Maximilian Kaiser is responsible for the quality management at Militzer & Münch sites all over the world. In this interview, he talks about current projects, the quality audit process, and what fascinates him about working in logistics.
Well, hello Mr. Kaiser, could you briefly describe what your activities for Militzer & Münch look like? What are your tasks?
The purpose of Quality Management is to ensure that consistently products and services are provided that meet customer requirements and comply with applicable laws and regulations. To this end, as Group Quality Manager, I oversee a wide variety of projects and processes. Our team consists of more than 20 Quality Managers, one for each country unit, all of which are coordinated through the holding company here in St. Gallen.
Our goals can be summarized in three key words: effectiveness, conformity and compliance. This means that, with a clear customer focus, we purposefully implement, maintain and continuously improve a quality management system, or introduce one where it does not yet exist. We solve our customers’ logistics problems effectively, comply with international standards, and meet regulatory and legal requirements. The values guiding us here are loyalty, integrity and respect.
What are the current projects or developments that keep you busy in Quality Management?
We passed our surveillance audit for 2022 this May. Not a single deviation from the standard was found during the external audits carried out by auditing company LRQA. At the beginning of 2023, we will then already be proceeding to the ISO 9001:2015 recertification, for which the most extensive audits ever will be carried out: our entire process landscape needs to be compliant with the standards.
In addition, we are rolling out our quality management system at other country units. We are currently seeking ISO 9001:2015 certification for our country units in Sri Lanka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Malaysia. A local quality manager is in charge of adapting the standards to the individual requirements of the companies and of ensuring compliance with them.
Closely linked to quality management is risk management, for which we are currently optimizing various processes throughout our country units. In cooperation with our Head of Group Controlling, I am also establishing an Environmental Management System in accordance with the international environmental management standard ISO 14001:2015. This will strengthen our ecological awareness and make it easier for our customers to take environmental factors into account in their transport operations. Our Quality, Risk and Environmental Management together will form an Integrated Management System, which we will launch in March 2023.
What is the procedure of a quality audit?
We select internal audits on the basis of what is known as the “risk-based approach”. With this risk-based approach, we decide on specific sites, taking into account time, success and risk factors. When were the sites last audited? How important is the site to the success of the company? By selecting which sites will the risk of quality loss be minimized? The local Quality Manager supports local management in the implementation, administration and improvement of the Quality Management System (QMS). At the same time, the team carries out audits at sites in other countries of the region. For example, a colleague from France goes to Morocco or vice versa – after all, no one should audit themselves.
Here at headquarters, we coordinate what is to be audited where and by whom. Depending on what exactly we want to check, the auditor examines various processes. Do they meet customer requirements? Are they compliant with ISO 9001:2015? The results then end up at my desk, and I analyze them in collaboration with the local Quality Manager.
Could you please briefly describe your professional background? Which functions did you go through at Militzer & Münch?
I majored in economics and business administration. My first point of contact with Militzer & Münch was my traineeship starting in June 2017. In Frankfurt, I was assigned to the airport, in Stockstadt, I became familiar with our road transport division, and finally, in St. Gallen, I got to know our holding company. From August 2018 to January 2022, I was Executive Assistant to the CEO and Executive Assistant to Group Management, respectively. Then, I was appointed Executive Assistant to the Board of Directors of TransInvest Holding AG. Since October 1, 2021, I have also been Group Quality Manager. In cooperation with the Institute of Supply Chain Management of the University of St. Gallen, Militzer & Münch organizes the Talent Management Program to promote our in-house prospective managers, and I am participating in this program this year. I am certified in the areas of project and environmental management, and I am also currently qualifying as a Chartered Financial Analyst.
What fascinates you about the logistics industry?
Our team consists of many generalists, who are also specialized. All forwarders need to be knowledgeable in a wide range of areas: They have to understand the market, know import and export flows, keep an eye on the infrastructure and the political climate of many countries. At the same time, they are specialists in their field – road transport, airfreight, sea freight or project logistics. Every day brings new challenges in an international context. The topics and tasks we deal with are always a new and exciting experience.