Success in small locations

Besides management training, the group programme for Vietnamese MP participants focused on visits to small and medium-sized companies with international experience. The participants established at the start of the programme that many of the companies were located outside the large economic centre of Munich. It rapidly became clear that in addition to aspects such as quality management and international sales, the manag-ers were also interested in the question: “Is it a disadvantage for SME companies oper-ating internationally to be located in a small village?”

The response from Hans Rosenberger from the medium-sized family business Rosenberger Hochfrequenztechnik couldn’t have been clearer: “It definitely isn’t a disad-vantage for us!” The family-run business has its international headquarters in Fridolfing, a small town with just 4,000 inhabitants located on the Austrian border yet affording good infrastructure. “It is easier for us to find good employees here in Fridolfing. There is far less competition from other companies than in Munich.” They would have to compete with large companies such as BMW, Siemens, etc. for qualified employees there. According to Rosenberger, the living costs are also far lower in rural areas than in cities. “We live in a wonderful region here, with mountains and lakes directly on the doorstep. The quality of life is extremely high. This also makes recruiting new employees easier.” He added that the company has been located here since 1955. They assume responsibility for their employees, who often also completed their training at Rosenberger. Relocation is out of the question alone for this reason.

Irene Wagner, Managing Director of psm protech based in the small town of Marktschellenberg in the Alps, confirmed this. The company has 200 employees and is active in the fields of precision engineering and plastics technology. “We prefer to be a big fish in a small pond. In Munich, it would be a different story,” says Wagner in response to the question of whether she would consider relocating her company to Munich. A great many opportunities exist in her region for SMEs to be actively involved in business and to advance mutual interests. Many issues can also be solved with less bureaucracy than would be possible anonymously in a city. In response to the question of whether the location on the border with Austria could also yield disadvantages, she stated: “We may be located at the very edge of Germany, but we are at the centre of Europe.”

Participant Tran Thi Thu Trang said at the end of the programme: “We are very im-pressed that German companies are often located in the countryside where there is nice and fresh air. In Vietnam, we face many problems in the cities and that’s why we want to learn how it is possible for these companies to be globally successful. We thank the German managers for sharing their stories with us.”

By Sandra Dirnberger
Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Munich and Upper Bavaria