Marketing and project organisation in German SMEs

As a new training centre for the MP, the Conoscope and CEFE International consortium welcomed 21 Russian executives to its sites in Bonn and Leipzig in autumn 2016. In North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony, the Russian MP participants visited a series of SMEs, including the tradition-rich family-run business GS Schmitz – a sausage and meat wholesaler. Established near Cologne in 1911, Schmitz is a family business in the third generation, which is now managed by the company founder’s grandchildren. Among others, Schmitz delivers its products to REWE and EDEKA supermarkets. Special about Schmitz products is the local production. All raw materials originate from the region. The Russian guests visited the production site to familiarise themselves with the meat processing technology – from delivery of the raw materials to the finished products. Particularly the marketing concept that draws on the company’s vision as a traditional, local, family-run business proved a highlight for the group. The company’s marketing and sales managers took a great deal of time to outline the details of their marketing strategy and specific activities. In particular, this included promoting products during traditional festivals such as the carnival in Cologne and the company’s master butchers’ reaching out to customers in supermarkets. In its online marketing, the company explains its values with a visual narrative including a historic review from the Schmitz family archive.

In Brandis near Leipzig, Head of E-Technology Torsten Döring welcomed the participants to FEBO Maschinenmontagen & Anlagenbau GmbH. The company, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2014, is a service provider for machine and plant assembly. Thanks to its far-reaching international network, company technicians assemble new machinery and plants around the globe – this visibly impressed the Russian guests. The visit focused on the challenges of international project management associated with quality management. The MP participants were particularly interested in learning about project organisation and the cooperation within intercultural teams. Communication problems and differences in quality during the use of local personal in projects completed in low-wage countries and preparation of the German personnel for the particularities of the country of deployment (security, health, religion, laws) were also among the aspects covered. The question of assigning responsibility to local supervisors for the implementation of work safety requirements was also discussed. In 2009, the company established a subsidiary in Moscow and hopes to gain invaluable contacts in Russia as well as to establish further cooperations through its participation in the MP.

By Uwe Becher and Marlinde Bärenz
CEFE International GmbH, Cologne &