Internship Sebastian Sapper

My month-long internship in July 2014 took place at SSI Schäfer Peem in Graz, Austria. SSI Schäfer Peem is a member of the Schäfer group which focusses on several sectors such as “conveying and picking”, “warehousing”, “workstation” “logistics software” and “waste management”.

Therefore, SSI Schäfer has split up these main topics on different affiliated companies like Noell, Salomon and Peem which all have their headquarters spread over Europe. Peem’s headquarter is in Graz.

SSI Schäfer Peem puts a lot of effort in selling existing solutions as well as developing new and better logistic systems like warehousing, conveying and picking. During my internship I had the possibility to have a deep look behind the mystery “Logistics“ and to see that there is a great and time-consuming process and a lot of work to do until the customer finally can hold his pullover, medicament or anything else in his hand.

This may sound simple but there are a lot of components, sub solutions and problems (is the product droppable, can I stack the products, how many products are ordered per day, how can we transport the product to the customer considering the costs, the carbon foot print, the time etc.). This is the reason why there are so many companies working in this business.

Getting this overview and some answers to these questions didn’t need a month being in one department always doing the same work but having a look in different parts of the company where I had the opportunity of working actively. And so I did: during the month I visited and worked in a lot of departments like

  • sales,
  • marketing,
  • project management,
  • calculation and design,
  • the workshop of R&D and
  • in an area in which tests are made on the products.

In all these departments I was gently welcomed and supported in doing own tasks if there were any questions. I learned that great teamworking is needed to do tasks both efficient and in a relaxed way.

Of course it was a huge experience for me working actively in a company which means to have a totally different structure during a working day. Here are no general breaks or clear separations between lessons; you come in at 8 am and work along until 12 o’clock having some little coffee-breaks in between. And your lunch time (in some departments) don’t need to be set  as the employee can choose when to work. For the company it is important that he works the time described in his contract. So you can say that you have a lunchtime for an hour but you stay until 6 pm. So I saw that time management works a bit differently at work than it does at school.

Apart from working I had a visit to Graz itself. The first and best sight to mention here is in my opinion the “Schlossberg” from where you have a great view all over Graz. As in the old ages there was a fully functioning castle on the top of that hill a touch from the “Middle Ages” is guaranteed. Getting up the hill I saw a snake having a squirrel as lunch:

Another wonderful spot to be is the “Schloss Eggenberg” with its golden and magnificent rooms and gardens. This park can be compared to English Garden in Munich (in the relation of the cities’ sizes). It is a great place to spend some time under a tree reading a book or just walking through as in the park itself there are some sights as well: For example you can visit the “Planetary Garden” where Romanic / Greek divinity representing the planets like Pluto, Mars or Venus (in Romanic language).

I was glad that colleagues not just were beside me at working hours but outside the company as well as we saw the quarterfinal of the world cup against France in a bar together. Here I experienced that in a more relaxed surroundings the atmosphere of talking is very comfortable. For example I chatted about shoes with the Regional General Manager of Asia as he and I have quite big feet.

All in all I think that this time helped me a lot finding out in which direction I will go on studying at University. I saw how to deal with daily problems in a company and helped to solve them the best I could. Being supported and introduced into new fields of work was an experience itself – I never had the feeling to be alone and to solve problems I could not solve lonely. There always were people around me giving me some work to do. Presenting, discussing and overworking and delivering this work made me proud of having done something on one’s own. A great internship which definitely will stay in my head for a long time.


The picture of the maps is part of Apple Maps on iPhone.