Stuttgart/Bietigheim-Bissingen. Porsche Consulting GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary on November 12. Despite a largely stagnant market, the consulting company has regularly recorded double-digit growth figures since its foundation in 1994. Its sales have risen ten-fold from around €1.7 million Euros in that first financial year to €19.5 million Euros in the 2003/2004 fiscal year. With its 85 employees, the Porsche subsidiary in Bietigheim-Bissingen now also ranks among Germany's 25 largest management consulting companies.
The foundation of Porsche Consulting was closely tied to the successful restructuring of Porsche AG, which in the early 1990s was undergoing the worst crisis in the history of the company. For this reason, the President and CEO of the Zuffenhausen-based sports car manufacturer, Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking, brought in former Toyota engineers at Zuffenhausen to act as consultants, and – on the basis of the Kaizen philosophy (Japanese: continuous improvement) – to boost the efficiency, productivity and flexibility of Porsche production as quickly as possible. "The practical experience we gathered turning Porsche around gave us unique and priceless expertise. So it seemed obvious to us to do unto other as the Japanese had done for us and market this knowledge," explains Wiedeking today, looking back on the foundation of Porsche Consulting.
The most vital task that the young consulting company had to accomplish was to get Porsche's partners in the supplying industry in shape for a future business-relationship with the sports car manufacturer. From day one, Porsche Consulting used a very clear method: "We always concentrated on optimizing processes and minimizing costs – the very things we had learned at Porsche. Our prime directive was to find simple solutions together with the companies we were advising – cost-effective solutions that would take immediate effect and that would not require any further investment," recalls Eberhard Weiblen, Managing Director of Porsche Consulting since 1998. The consultant teams are interdisciplinary, consisting of engineers, salespeople and foremen with practical experience, and covering the entire value chain, from development through procurement and production up to distribution.
The success of Porsche Consulting's work quickly garnered the attention of companies in other sectors for the Swabian Kaizen experts. Today, its customers include companies in the fields of mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as the food, construction, furniture and household appliance industries. Since it was founded in 1994, Porsche Consulting has successfully worked with more than 150 companies, a large number of them in Europe, the US and Asia.
The company has also chalked up its first successful projects in the retail and financial services sector: "We were also amazed when we realized that our proven Porsche methods developed successfully for banks as well. This is a great inspiration for us, and shows that we can grow within the service industry as well," says Weiblen.
Overall, the Managing Director is optimistic about his company's future: "Due to increasing competition, the need for consulting will continue to rise, particularly for SMEs in the classical industrialized nations. We are showing these companies how they can continue to produce in their country, without immediately having to relocate their entire production to low-wage countries."
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