German company management: between tradition and modernity

In June 2016, 20 entrepreneurs from Uzbek SMEs completed four weeks of manager training on economic cooperation at the DMAN. Similar to their fellow citizens from the previous year, they were very interested in aspects of personnel management and thus also of company management.

Ziyoda Khudaybergenova described BOGE Kompressoren GmbH & Co. KG as an excellent example of a successful, modern family enterprise with history and tradition. “The particularities of German company management and German business culture have been illustrated to us here.” It became clear in many areas that the family supports the company and essentially sees all employees as family members. “This creates a sense of community that not only has a positive impact on the employees’ motivation, but also creates a particularly warm atmosphere within the company.” The manager was also impressed that the bosses maintained direct contact with the employees and did not “hide in their offices”. The quality of products is a matter of course for the company and no longer a unique selling point. Hence BOGE instead commits to offering innovative products and aftersales services to retain customers.

Ravshan Abduganiev, who is the head of a marketing agency based in Tashkent, enjoyed the visit to his German colleagues at wirDesign GmbH in Braunschweig. He was interesting in learning how a German advertising agency works and what value brand management represents for Germany companies. His conclusion: “Here, creativity already begins with design of the office and selection of the location (an old factory) for the company headquarters. Flexitime and a fair amount of ‘freedom of movement’ for employees creates space for creativity. It is also interesting is that the boss himself is responsible for acquisitions and customer management. By our standards, this is somewhat unusual.” Ravshan Abduganiev was moreover impressed with the importance of corporate identity to the Germany company and the intensity of work on this. As an advertising specialist, he discerned an interesting difference from a design perspective: “While in Uzbekistan the focus is more on colour and dynamic 3D animations, more subdued colours, hard shapes and flatter animations are favoured in Germany. As I wish to offer my services specifically in the field of animation to German agencies, this was a very important revelation for me.”

From the series of companies visited, Decontec Nord GmbH, a specialised just-in-time supplier of metal parts, was “the company par excellence” for Alisher Shakirov. The company’s production processes and particularly the managing director’s open approach left the medium-sized company owner raving: “He shared insights into every aspect in all areas of the company, which simply is not conceivable at large companies. The software with which the CNC systems are programmed and orders processed was especially interesting. Allowing the customer to already learn the price during a telephone conversation! This is exactly what we need at our company! Such a customer management system would make our work ten times more efficient.” The young entrepreneur from Uzbekistan was impressed with the sales and marketing methods demonstrated.

The automotive manufacturers MAN Bus&Truck AG in Salzgitter and Volkswagen AG in Wolfsburg also left a lasting impression on participants. Oybek Saidov emphasised that MAN does not need to introduce itself, as the company is renowned worldwide – including in Uzbekistan. The entire work organisation at the highest level, cleanliness of the workstations and employee motivation were particularly impressive. “The employees remain true to the company almost their entire lives, as was also the case for the former employee, who showed us around the plant and has now retired,” marvelled Oybek Saidov. This speaks for a high degree of loyalty among the employees, who value their employer and the excellent working conditions. That being said, the employer is also interested in retaining employees for as long as possible. “This is perhaps also the secret to the high degree of motivation here and not merely the good salaries. We should put further thought into this in Uzbekistan.”

The group agreed that the visit to the VW plant in Wolfsburg was undoubtedly the quintessence of the entire programme. “Here, we experienced everything that we had seen at other companies in a perfection and dimension that probably does not exist anywhere else. It is a huge plant with more than 50,000 employees and yet we saw barely any people during the plant tour, as the level of automation is 98 per cent in some areas. The robots’ work is simply fascinating. The plant is like a small town within a city that even has its own rescue service and emergency doctor! It is simply unbelievable how everything works in perfect harmony, and a new car drives off the production line every 18 seconds.” It is Industry 4.0 at its finest!

Dr. Ronald Pschierer

Deutsche Management Akademie Niedersachsen, Celle