Cars come in many shapes and sizes, some are expensive, some cheap, some slow and some are pretty quick. When a well-heeled business person tells us they’ve been talking to Porsche, most will assume that they’re in the market for something expensive and fast. In a turn for the books, they might rather be soliciting Porsche Consulting for advice on how to make their business leaner and more profitable.
Last year November, Consultancy.uk posted a list of the most prestigious management consultancy firms in Europe. Among the 25 well-known firms such as McKinsey, BCG and Bain was for some a surprising name, in particular for those unfamiliar with the German and/or automotive consulting market: Porsche Consulting. Not just an iconic brand in the automotive sector and creator of luxury automobiles, but for two decades now also a well-respected consultancy firm.
Not only did Porsche Consulting make it onto the A list of European consultancy firms, in Germany the firm has for two years in a row been named the best consulting firm by ‘WirtschaftsWoche’ magazine, outranking much larger and internationally established German-origin rivals such Roland Berger and Simon-Kucher & Partners. Porsche Consulting’s edge is according to executives based on the high tangible benefits its consultants bring to bottom-line results. Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche, adds that in addition to producing measureable results, he believes that the firm’s consultants possess a “special skill of being able to fill people with enthusiasm for change.”
The story behind the creation of Porsche Consulting follows the growth and restructuring of parent company Porsche. In the early 1990s the automotive industry was in trouble, one of the central issues at Porsche at the time was wasteful and poorly structured operations. The manufacturing centres often required workers to climb around shelves to get the right pieces, reflects Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen. “Rectification of flaws was the name of the game in production at the time,” says Dudenhoeffer, with over a fifth of 911 models having to be reworked for flaws.
In response, Porsche’s new boss, Wendelin Wiedeking, stepped literally onto the factory floor to do something about it, streamlining the production process, cutting costs and reducing waste. The approach proved successful, and in 1994 an internal consulting department was launched, dubbed ‘Porsche Consulting’, tasked with the challenge to improve the operational efficiency of production and the organisation.
In 1995 Eberhard Weiblen joined as the fifth member of the team, and twenty years later he now serves as CEO of the business. “No one could have imagined how successful Porsche Consulting would become – even though there was high demand for our services right from the start.” In recent years, Porsche Consulting has grown from its base in Bietigheim-Bissingen to a team of 370 people across offices in Hamburg (Germany), Milan (Italy), São Paulo (Brazil), Atlanta (USA), and Shanghai (China). Its service portfolio centres around operational excellence – its consultants are specialised in transforming organisations, factories and processes into lean machines, in addition the advisors optimise related functional areas across the value chain, including supply chain, finance, and IT. Although initially established as an in-house consultancy, Porsche Consulting currently executes 70% of its projects for external clients, which span across aviation and aeronautics, mechanical engineering, retail, construction, and service industries. Firms that belong to its client base include Airbus, British Airways, DMG Mori, illycaffè, Meyer Werft, and SAP.
For the coming years, Porsche Consulting has outlined bold plans to further expand its footprint and grow its revenue from the current €85 million to beyond the €100 million barrier. Not surprisingly the consultancy will be able to rake in significant revenue growth on the back of its highly successful €2.6 billion parent company, yet the plans are braver, explains Weiblen. “We have major projects with our existing clients – such as optimising indirect areas like administrative functions. And of course we want to help new clients as well.”