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CROSS: A new experience for employees from Bremen


December 7, 2017

The project “CROSS” (Competence Rotation Over Several Sectors) promotes cross-sector exchange between Airbus, BLG LOGISTICS and Mercedes-Benz with the goal to prepare its employees for the digital transition. Participants complete a three months internship in a partner company with the aim of enhancing cooperativeness and willingness to change. Jacobs University is scientifically supporting the exchange. The pilot project is to be extended to other cooperation partners after successful completion.

From September until December 14 employees of the companies Airbus, BLG LOGISTICS and Mercedes-Benz successfully completed a cross-sector exchange. The objective of the program was to strengthen the cooperativeness of the employees, to gather new experiences in a different corporate culture and to enhance willingness to change. The project named “CROSS” (Competence Rotation Over Several Sectors) is supported scientifically by Jacobs University and entails, besides the three months practical experience in a partner company, qualification measures and workshop days. The program was implemented for the first time and meets the needs of the increasing digitization and networking of the automobile and aviation industry as well as in the logistics sector.

Project CROSS at BLG - Katrin Berger (Airbus), Heinrich Becker (Daimler) and Frank Schönung (BLG-Project Officer)


To support a successful cooperation in cross-generational teams, young as well as experienced employees were chosen for the exchange. The participants of the pilot project already had previous experience with project work and had been acknowledged within their companies for their extraordinary performance. For the work shadowing phase, they were assigned to a field of application or a concrete project in the partner company according to their competencies.     

These ranged from innovation projects in the so-called “Digi-Lab” at BLG LOGISTICS to the programming of a tracking system for production equipment at Airbus and to start-up projects for new models at Mercedes-Benz. The participants used among other techniques agile approaches like “Design Thinking”.

For the project assignment, the participants were exempted from the respective company and regularly compensated. “CROSS” shall be extended after the pilot phase to further cooperation partners in the region, i.a. to start-up companies in the field of digitization.

Project CROSS at Airbus - Daimler-Participant Matthias Haar.


Scientific Framework
Part of “CROSS” was the scientific support of Jacobs University. During two study weeks, experts of the university presented the latest scientific findings in regard to the topics digitization, future management and diversity as well as to the changes in the work environment and the competitive landscape. The participants worked in teams dealing with relevant questions and developing strategic approaches to new challenges in their industry, which were subsequently reviewed. In a concluding workshop that lasted for five days the results of the project were presented and discussed.

Peter Theurer, site manager at the Mercedes Plant Bremen
“At Mercedes-Benz, we understand the digital transition as a chance and want to actively shape it – within and beyond our plant railings. For that, we count on a team that is ready to try new things. The project ‘CROSS’ offers our employees the chance to look further than the four walls of their own company, to accept new challenges positively and to make progress. With Airbus and BLG we have found two great partner companies. Through that, we build synergies for the science location Bremen.”

André Walter, site manager at Airbus Bremen
“Also in civil aviation, we at Airbus have been preparing our employees for years for the digitization and for the jobs of the future. We have to support especially the older generation on this path. That’s exactly where the ‘CROSS’ project comes in, that additionally provides the participants with insights in other industries. A great opportunity for young and old.”

Dieter Schumacher, Labor Director BLG LOGISTICS
“‘CROSS’ delivers an innovative approach to evolve the concepts of life-long learning. The work assignment in partner companies is suitable for employees of all stages of life and does more than contributing to broadening the personal horizon. It also provides positive impetus for the involved companies in Bremen. I was especially impressed by the dedication, with which all participants approached their new tasks.”

Prof. Dr. Arvid Kappas, Dean at Jacobs University
“I'm delighted that we as Jacobs University could contribute with our workshops and training to the success of the pilot project which is to be continued. The ‘CROSS’ project brings together economy and science. It is an innovative continuing education program, which could become a role model for others.”

Project CROSS at Mercedes-Benz Werk Bremen - BLG-Participant Laura Weingarten.