Günther says that in order to meet the digitisation and economic challenges posed to the industry, he wants suppliers to think innovatively and that he expects future DB tenders to take this into account when selecting the most suitable supplier.

"There are many things available, a huge spectrum of solutions, but what we do not see in tenders is the suppliers taking new innovations into account and the capacity of the supplier to update their offering to new technology as it becomes available," Günther said. "I think that by taking this approach we can be much more competitive in the marketplace."

DB has 16,000 suppliers with 800 of these providing 80% of its business. Günther says that DB's board restructuring has made procurement changes with representatives of different units such as DB Schenker and Arriva reporting to the member for finance/controlling Dr. Richard Lutz. "The goal is to consolidate the production gap and better manage the supply chain," Günther says.

Günther adds that as a global company, DB expects and will work with suppliers from across the world. He says sustainability is a major focus for DB in procurement as a means to reduce costs and energy consumption and encouraged the suppliers present to sign up to the Railsponsible initiative in order to develop a more sustainable supply chain. "The more people who take part in this, the easier it will be to achieve our goal."

Günther was addressing the 4th Railway Forum in Berlin. Entitled "Globalising the supply chain," the conference focuses on DB's future procurement challenges.