A journey to process-orientation with Lars Müller from Lufthansa Technik

A journey to process-orientation with Lars Müller from Lufthansa Technik

#051 Let’s have a look at the road to process orientation at a big organization like Lufthansa Technik

In this episode, I’m talking to Lars Müller. Lars is one of the most advanced and well-experienced Process Architects I have ever met.

He shares the journey of Lufthansa Technik’s procurement processes and how they have evolved over the years.

They have built up a team of ten process architects over the past few years with a human-centric approach.

What were the lessons learned? Where do they want to improve? Let’s take a look.

Today’s Guest:

Lars Müller

Lars has been Process and Project Manager at Lufthansa Technik since 2015.

In this position, he takes over the role of a Process Architect for the procurement processes of Lufthansa Technik Group. Together with his fellow Process Architects, he manages and improves all the procurement processes and moderates a community of more than 1000 people worldwide.

Lufthansa Technik, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, is the maintenance, repair, and overhaul business unit of the Lufthansa Group. More than 20,000 employees of Lufthansa Technik and its subsidiaries serve over 800 customers worldwide with more than 4,200 aircraft under exclusive contracts.

Before joining Lufthansa Technik, Lars worked as Quality and Process Manager for Akka Technologies.

Lars holds a Bachelor of Engineering from University of Applied Sciences Kiel and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from University of Applied Sciences Lübeck.

Together with his family, Lars lives in Oststeinbek near Hamburg.

You’ll learn:

  • How the process world of Lufthansa Technik’s procurement processes looked like in the past
  • Where they are today regarding process-orientation and how they got there
  • What the learnings are and what you can take out of this for your journey
  • What his role as a process architect is and how the future could look like


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Please note that the transcript was generated automatically and only slightly adjusted. It does not claim to be a perfect transcription.


Yeah, welcome to episode 51 of the New Process Podcast. Today, we’ll explore a very interesting practical example of the journey to process orientation. To be more specific, we’re going to explore the journey of Lufthansa Technics’ procurement processes to process orientation. Therefore, I’m talking to Lars Müller. Lars has been process and project manager at Lufthansa Technik since 2015. In this position, he takes over the role of a process architect for the procurement processes of Lufthansa Technik Group. He’s one of the most advanced and well-experienced process architects I’ve ever met. Together with his fellow process architects, he manages and proves all the procurement processes and moderates a community of more than 1,000 people worldwide.


Lufthansa Technik, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, is the maintenance, repair and overall business unit of the Lufthansa Group. More than 20,000 employees of Lufthansa Technik and its subsidiaries serve over 800 customers worldwide, with more than 4,200 aircraft under exclusive contracts. Before joining Lufthansa Technik, Lars worked as Quality and Process Manager for Arca Technologies. Lars holds a Bachelor of Engineering from University of Applied Science Kiel and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from University of Applied Science Lübeck. Together with his family, Lars lives in Oststeinbeck, near Hamburg. Personally, he likes to go jogging and to spend time with his wife and their two little sons. In this episode, Lars and I will deep dive into their journey to process orientation so you’ll learn how the process world of Lufthansa Technics procurement process looked like in the past, where they are today regarding process orientation and how they got there, what the learnings are and what you can take out of this for your journey. Lars will also share more about his role as a process architect and give an outlook into the future, so enjoy the interview with Lars Müller.


Yeah, welcome to the new process podcast, lars. It’s a very special recording today because we are recording in person, on site on site on Lufthansa Base Hamburg, so also very special for me to return to this location where I spent a lot of years in the past. Now, after two years, I’m really looking forward to this conversation to share your journey with the community. So welcome, Lars.


Many thanks, Mirko, nice to meet you again.


Yeah, absolutely, as always. First question of the check-in is what do you prefer in an aircraft, aisle or window seat?


check-in is what do you prefer in an aircraft aisle or window seat?


a window because I love to observe the airport and the other airplanes and the earth during the flight yeah, oh yeah, I can see that in front of my eye, flying through the sky night sky, for example. Well, that’s super cool. What is your favorite airport?


it’s munich because it’s a modern, huge international and clean airport.


Yeah, I like Munich as well. That’s a really nice airport. That’s cool, okay, and what was the best process you have ever experienced?


To be honest, some weeks ago, I performed, together with a new colleague, the onboarding process.


Okay, there is an onboarding process. We have today.


We have a really nice onboarding process today. It was horrible during covid time, so it took weeks or months to get access to IT applications, for example. But this day a new colleague started and on the first day, very first day, all equipment which was needed was available, all accesses to IT tools. We had a first sightseeing in Hamburg base and we had introduction to our procurement organization and we saw the webcast with carsten spohr the uh wow that’s the ceo of lufthansa. So all in one day wow.


I remember my first day, not with the company overall, but in a specific department, when I was a student in my internship, and the guy said oh, who are you and Do you need a computer? That was my experience more than 20 years ago, but it’s great to hear that it’s different today. Yes, indeed, wow. So how would you describe your relationship to processes?


I always loved processes. Really yes, really what a freak. During my studies, I loved to learn about process management and in these days I hoped, and perhaps also dreamed of, to work with process management one day, and so I’m really glad that my daily business is about process management and designing processes and being process architect.


That’s super cool. Yeah, as you said, you’re now working as a process architect or you’re working as a process and project manager for Lufthansa Technics procurement processes and, to set the stage, can you please give a brief overview of the content of the processes and where they are applied, to give our listeners an idea of what we are talking about, what we’re working on?


Yes, so the set of processes for Lufthansa Technik procurement. We call it our process house, yeah, and this process house is divided into three levels. We have the management processes, core processes and support processes and in total we have published around 150 processes, excluding process maps, or the process maps are in addition, and these processes apply to a global procurement community for lht in europe, america and southeast asia. Okay, and the lht procurement community has around a thousand colleagues wow, so they are somehow linked to procurement because they buy something or they need something. So this is really the entire community, and we have 10 dedicated process architects who, most and foremost, take care of the core processes, because these are most relevant for daily business in procurement and in energy procurement. We are responsible for buying aircraft parts, new parts, mro services, general goods and services and also used airplanes and used ac parts sounds like interesting shopping.


yes, it is, that’s cool. Okay, I want to buy a used plane. Okay, can I have an aircraft please?


That’s cool, okay.


And now you work as a process architect. Can you also explain what this role is really about? I have my own definition, but I’m curious to learn how you define and live this role today.


Yes, I just tell from daily business. So the process architect is responsible for designing and optimize the processes he or she is responsible for in close collaboration with the colleagues performing the processes, and the process modeler, who is in charge to model the processes in our process management tool, is in charge to model the processes in our process management tool, and also the process owner is important for designing the processes because he or she approves the changes or the new process which are published and we in procurement, we defined also the process architect being responsible for the IT tools which are linked to, which are part of the process. Architect being responsible for the IT tools which are linked to, which are part of the process, because we are convinced that process and IT needs to go hand in hand.




So they really fit together. And of course, we cannot describe every detailed step click by click in our process management tool. So we also have a wiki for more detailed documentation or for tutorials. So the process architect also designs and develops the wiki, wiki pages which are linked to the processes.


Okay, well, that’s. That’s super interesting, that’s cool. And with regards to your journey, how did the world look like the world of the procurement processes when you started working as a process architect?


Yeah, in 2017, I was assigned to be process architect for LHT strategic procurement and in these days, we had 75 processes I was responsible for as process architect. 75 processes I was responsible for as process architect and I had around 10 percent of my capacity to work on these processes, but this was far too too low a capacity in order to really develop and design the processes yeah, sounds like a hobby architect, or yes, not not more chance to do?


no chance to do really process management right, and back then it was hard to quickly understand the setup of our process landscape and procurement because the standard framework for big procurement organizations was not applied. So as well experienced colleagues as well as new colleagues joining procurement couldn’t use our process map to figure out how procurement is working in daily life at Lufthansa Technik. So the processes were, of course, intensively used for audit reasons, but we didn’t use processes for developing our business, as we could have done in order to learn from each other, to identify potentials and to implement solutions which worked for all roles, departments and stakeholders involved.


Okay, you said you were responsible for a number of around about 50 process models 75. Oh, I’m sorry, I’m really bad at numbers 75. Can you describe what one of these process models look like? Just to give an understanding, because it’s hard if you’re coming from an outside world to get an idea of what this number really means.


Yeah, for us the process is 10 steps and six lines, and so this is the space we have for one process and we have several roles, or each swim lane, like we call it, can be performed by several roles. So we have cover roles or one single role, and this is one process.


Okay, so it’s a fixed size template you’re using and if we’re talking about an end-to-end process for procurement, you will have to go through several of these process models for the whole end-to-end process. Yes, yeah okay, absolutely, that’s important to know.


So these processes are linked to each other. You can hop from one to the other.


Yeah, okay, yeah, I like the way you’re mapping the processes. That’s super human-centric, because it’s easy to understand and easy to grasp what I really have to take into account when I execute an activity that’s super cool. So that was the world back then. What was the trigger to change something?


Yes, when Corona hit us all, lht started a company-wide efficiency program okay, and processes really got a major focus. So the management, like overnight they focused on processes. That’s super. So this, this was a big change, yeah, and somehow the start for the ones who like processes, to like the ones who love to work with processes. They suddenly got also the management support and we started to rebuild our top process map, the top map for our processes map, the top map from our processes. And since we couldn’t meet in person, we used microsoft whiteboard and and we had a target picture for the top level map in mind. So we set this as a goal and then we linked the existing processes we had to this new target picture. Okay, and this revealed the huge gaps we had. But we decided to publish this new map with the missing processes in order to show the community what’s missing and what we need to work on and also what we want to work on.


Okay, that’s super cool, and which steps did you take in your journey from that onwards?


Yeah, after having designed the top level process map, which was our target picture, we started to design the processes on the lower level and prior to Corona time, procurement was divided into strategic and operative procurement and this brought many disadvantages and problems with regards to collaboration, responsibility and success, because nobody of the management was responsible from end to end. So we centralized procurement and, because of the focus of the management on processes, they also realized that we need colleagues working with process management.


This does not work without.


So they decided to found a team of process architects and we started in September 22 with five colleagues being process architects. Today, in April 24, we are already 10 process architects and this helps the organization to become more and more process oriented. This is not done overnight. I want to be crystal clear on that. We need endurance and um what also also was very a huge step forward for us for us that the process ownership became linked to the managers having the responsibility in daily life and also the ones who are responsible for the employees working in these processes, because prior to COVID, we had only one manager being responsible, being the process owner for all procurement processes, and this manager wasn’t responsible for procurement. Being the process owner for all procurement processes, okay, and this manager wasn’t responsible for procurement but more for the execution, but more for governance and projects and so on.


So these managers started to be interested in processes because they also got involved in audit preparations and need to be part of it and need to know the processes, because they got questions regarding the processes and they needed to improve the processes which were designed by the process architects. And in march 23, yeah the new team of process architect just being in charge for five months five, six months we published all the new processes which were designed during COVID time, so this was really a big success for us.


That sounds interesting. And how did you communicate these new processes? Just sending out an email?


Of course we send out emails. The emails were sent out by the system, by our nice process management system, but the most important part of communication were the release parties. We suggested to the management to perform mandatory information meetings for entire procurement organization and we called these sessions for release parties. Okay, and these release parties contained music suites, soft drinks, management, ted Talks in the beginning and short presentation on high level of the new processes and the new setup and, finally, we had a marketplace where the colleagues could pick the topics which really were relevant for them for their daily business. So the release parties were really important in order to communicate. There are new processes and we want to be, or to become, process oriented in the future.


Okay, that’s good, I love partying. So what are your learnings from this journey? What from this journey? What went well? What could?


have been improved. Yeah, with regards to the release parties, these were important in order to introduce the process architects to the community yeah, okay but to the procurement organization, because the colleagues went used to have a team supporting them in process management.


So by that, the foundation of process orientation in procurement was laid and the ISO audit took place just days after the publishing in March 23. What did the auditors say? They were really excited and really got great feedback. That’s cool. And this was really party for the team of process architects, because for the most of how many of them this was their first job as process architect. So this was really a great success. So this was really a great success. And to start using processes in daily life also supports team spirit, because we better understand the entire process chain, from beginning to end, and understand who is collaborating with whom and who is contributing with what. So this is really also supporting the team spirit. Okay, and what could have been improved? We should have had the entire international community in mind. We started with Hamburg and we had release parties also in Sofia, but not in Miami, for example, in that extent that we really conducted release parties. So not to forget about the international organization.




This is a learning we had and it’s also important to dare to repeat, because process skills and process orientation this needs to be trained again and again. This is not done by one release party.




And also expectation management is important that we tell what are the process architects, what is their job, what is their contribution, what are they responsible for and what not yeah. Okay, this is also important to tell the community about.


Yeah, okay, wow, and to sum it up as a recommendation for other process architects out there who are responsible for different business processes what are your recommendations? What are the critical success factors for such a journey?


Yeah, from my point of view, management willing to use processes is really key, because if the management is not supporting process orientation, the employees almost have no chance to invest time and also to design and develop and then get processes approved in the end, because the organization is doing what the management wants them to do in the most cases. So this is really important management willing to use processes. And we also need capacity in the relevant process management roles, and I think especially about the process architect, the process architects, the process modeler who is modeling the processes in the process management tool, and, of course, the users or the representatives of the users. For us in LHC procurement we have role responsibles and key users and they represent the user community, so we collaborate a lot with them. And, of course, the process owner is also important that he or she really checks the process and then approves it.


Yeah, and another success factor is also to combine the responsibility for process design and IT tooling, so process and IT really go hand in hand. I’m glad that we managed this to define the process architect being responsible, managed this to define the process architect being responsible, being the admin for the t-tools okay in his or her process, because otherwise we we won’t manage to really get them connected. And we need also endurance, because process orientation is not established overnight in any organization. It takes rather years.


Yeah, absolutely. And looking into the future, what are the next steps?


Yeah, for me, it’s working on the further development of the process community by focusing on a high degree of implementation, so it makes no sense to design a new process, publish it in the process management tool and then waiting for the system to send out the emails. I need to do a lot more in order to make sure that the users really get to know the changes or the new processes For me. I use a lot of teams, so I have a channel for my user community for the processes I’m responsible for and I provide open hours and, of course, wiki documentation.


I share links and I try to be active and share the information and be engaged, okay, so did you think about starting a process podcast, procurement process podcast for your community, or actually?


I, I thought about that I have not started that, but this is definitely, uh, the next step so maybe this is the first episode of the upcoming podcast. Yes, it’s a trailer. That’s cool. Yeah, okay, yeah. And then there’s a very important tool in my process which I and my colleagues we relaunch it because the first launch wasn’t that successful. So this is also something I am working with.


Okay, that’s super interesting and I still remember when we met for the first time. It was in Lufthansa Seeheim, the Lufthansa Training Center, also the location of the New Process Conference, you being participant of the new that time New Process Architect journey, and a lot of things had happened since then. But where do you see the topic of business process management in another 10 years, looking more into the future, not just with regards to your process, maybe also in general?


Yeah, recently a new colleague in my team started and he is expert for process automation. Okay, cool, so he just recently joined. But I’m really looking forward to discover the potential of process automation together with him, learn from him and also find out what is actually possible regarding process automation, and I’m curious what this brings to procurement processes in the future, and also, of course, machine learning. I’m sure that Lufthansa Group will make use of these opportunities also in our process management tool.


Yeah, that’s super interesting and this is also one of the topics at the new process conference, as you know deep dive into how Gen AI can help processes. Or, actually, when we are publishing this episode, it has been a topic and I’m super excited to dive deeper into this and this will be really inspiring. That’s super cool, wow, super cool, wow. So, applying your overall experience to rethinking processes, to get to a more human-centric business process management, for example, what are your top three recommendations to get to a more human-centric BPM approach?


From my point of view, colleagues really need to identify themselves and their work in the processes. So the processes which are designed, they need to reflect that daily business and their contribution to the company’s success. Okay, so this is, from my point of view, very important and even the purpose, or so why are you doing this?


would you go? That Is spooky topic, like process purpose, something you already thought about, or is it more technical? How do we contribute to the strategy?


I think this is the next step and I’m glad that to reach the step of, or the level of, every colleague in procurement knows in which processes he or she works and what is his or her contribution, and then the next level would be what you described. We need first to do the first step and then we go to the next.




Yeah, but I really like that and also I’m looking forward to learn how to do this, and I think processes need also be easy to understand. So the process modeling should be intuitive and the words need to be easy to understand, not just for experts, and short sentences and active language. That helps a lot. Yeah, link to respective IT tools and documents and wiki pages at the right step when it’s needed. This is also important from a point of view and I already mentioned it as process architect. I think it’s very important to have a strong implementation power, not stop when the process is published and the system mail is sent out, but then really make sure that the content and the new way of working or new requirements really is known by the user. Yeah, this is what I think is important.


Okay, that’s super interesting. And just to wrap it up, what is your key message to our listeners? To rethink processes.


Yeah, I think it’s helpful to think a bit self-critical about the own power of implementation. So I would suggest to to rate my success in process management by checking if the processes really are used and helpful in daily life for my process community and what we already are talked about. Make sure that process and it go hand in hand, because they cannot be separated in our today’s world yeah, business world.


I have a bonus question which we haven’t talked about before. I’m curious if you’re going to answer this, but I just learned there was an audit a few weeks ago. What did the auditors say with regards to processes, to your procurement processes? Were they happy?


or they were happy. That’s what I heard. Yeah, okay, and I felt very safe in this, in this audit, because we really had process management power in the entire audit set yeah.


So we had all the process architects involved. The process architect were responsible for preparing the audit sessions and they engaged their users in order to take part in the audit, prepare it. And it was somehow fun to prepare the audit because we knew that our processes are well designed and our user community knows the processes and so we are prepared. Yeah, no reason to fear about the date of the audit Super cool. So this was really fun and having the capacity, it was almost relaxing compared to previous audits to take part in these audit sessions. So I really enjoyed it.


To be honest, yeah, that’s what I thought and that’s what I heard, and completely different compared to nearly 10 years ago. Yes, to be honest, yeah, yeah, that’s that’s what I thought and that’s what I heard and completely different compared to nearly 10 years ago yes even this feeling.


Now. That’s that’s so cool, that’s good to hear, and I think it’s important to talk about these emotions as well and these feelings that you realize when you are in an audit like that. And you know I can rely on my community because they know the processes and they can answer what the auditors want to know. And it’s not just because we’re doing this for the auditors, because you are doing this for the people. You’re doing this to give them something which they can use to do their daily business, and then they are also able to answer questions asked by auditors easily, without preparing just for the audit. That’s super important.


And it’s really fun. Also, it was fun to prepare the audit because the colleagues really were engaged and they checked the process in detail. They opened the activities, checked the documents and they found some potential for optimization which you also use, and this was really in detail. Right, it was not the process in itself which was wrong, but we prepared and they were engaged, so this was really, really good.


That’s super cool. And where can our listeners? They say or I’m also when being audited from time to time, or I would like to change my process world into the direction I just heard about. How can they reach out to you? How can they learn more about what you are doing?


I would suggest to contact me via new process pro oh, that’s a good idea.


The community.


Yeah, or via email or LinkedIn. Yeah, yeah, so I’m happy to share more and to exchange.


That’s super cool. Thanks for the offer and thanks for mentioning New Process Pro. As the community for BPM enthusiasts like you and me in this case, that’s awesome. So, before we leave the aircraft today, which topic, method, tool or expert would you recommend to us, as the new process community, to take a closer look at, to get new ideas, to rethink processes?


I I think right away about ProX, our process management tool at Lufthansa. I really love that tool. I think, I believe and I’m convinced of that this tool really helps and support the process management and holistic process management, so I invite you to have a look on it and contact me that’s a.


That’s a good idea. So the call is up for the pro x guys to be a  on a new process podcast. That’s, that’s cool. Great, we’ll do so. So, before we leave the aircraft, is there anything else you would like to share with our listeners?


Yeah, process management is not an end itself, but we should always aim for the benefit for the users of the processes and also try to tell them about the benefits and try to get them engaged in process management.


Yeah, that’s super important. Thank you for these Not final words, because now we have the final question. How would you describe this flight experience in just three words?


To me, it was reflecting, inspiring and also motivating.


Yeah, thank you, lars, for all these impressions. For me it was just a little throwback and an update, because I have known the world as you described it before and I was part of the journey until COVID hit us, and that was super exciting to be here again and to record this podcast in person. So thank you very much for being my  today, or for having us as your  today here on Lufthansa Base, and I’m really looking forward to what is coming up. So, thank you very much, have a great day. Bye, bye. Thank you very much.




Wow, what an outstanding journey. Lars is truly one of the most experienced process architects I’ve ever met, and he and his fellow process architects are doing a fantastic job to push their processes ahead. Content-wise, I’m curious to learn more about what they are going to do with process automation and AI in the future and, in regard to getting people excited about processes and enabling the procurement community for their process, I’m curious to see the next steps as well. So if you are a member of LHT’s procurement community and you have been listening to this podcast episode, I’m sure that Lars would be extremely happy if you send him a short email with your feedback and maybe in the future there will be a Lufthansa Technik procurement podcast that gives you more insights into the development of your processes. We’ll see.


I know that Lars and his fellow process architects are super motivated to push even further. If you are not a member of Lars’ community but you would like to reach out to Lars to learn more, just go to NewProcessPro and connect with Lars. To access NewProcessPro, you can sign up for free by heading to newprocesslabcom slash pro. In the next episode, we’re going to explore another method and I will try to find out how to apply this to processes, so stay curious. But for now, thank you very much for listening. Have a fantastic day. Bye-bye and auf Wiedersehen.


Before you leave. I know how hard this BPM journey is, and it’s even harder if you’re doing this all on your own. To change this, I’d like to invite you to join forces with other BPM enthusiasts like Lars at New Process Pro. New Process Pro is my online community for people like you and me. Beyond networking with other process guys, you’ll find tools, methods and best practices at New Process Pro. To join for free, just go to newprocesslab.com/pro. Thank you very much, have a fantastic day. Bye-bye.




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  1. […] out episode 51 of the New Process Podcast to listen to the full interview with Lars Müller from Lufthansa […]

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