Companies between tradition and modern age – Insights into German business management

20 entrepreneurs from different SMBs in Uzbekistan took part in a 4-week Manager Training Programme at DMAN in June 2016. Just like their fellow country participants the year before, they were very interested in economic cooperation, personnel management and business administration. During the training sessions in Celle, the participants had the opportunity to communicate with our experts and to discuss these aspects in detail. But nothing could have replaced the practical view they gained during their company visits. The visited companies were just as diverse as the group was composed. This interesting mix left a positive mark.

Zioda Khudaybergenova described BOGE Kompressoren in Bielefeld as a super example of a successful modern family-owned company with history and tradition. “Here, the special characteristics of German entrepreneurship and German business culture became very obvious.“ Everywhere, it was clear that the family stands behind the company and that every employee is seen as a family member. “This creates a sense of community which does not only affect the motivation of the employees very positively, it also creates a special and warm atmosphere in the company.” Zioda was impressed by the fact that the owners maintain direct contact to their employees and do not “hide in their offices“.  For the company, the quality of their products is not considered a USP, but a simple matter of course. Hence, BOGE focuses on innovative products and on the after-sales service, in order to bind the customers.

The manager of an advertising agency in Tashkent, Ravshan Abduganiev, was happy to visit his German colleagues from wirDesign in Brunswick. He wanted to find out how a German advertising agency operates and which value German companies attribute to brand management. His conclusion: “At wirDesign, creativity already begins with the design of the offices and the choice of the place for the company head office (an old factory). Flexible work time and a lot of ‘creative leeway’ for the employees give room for creativity. It is interesting, how the bosses themselves are responsible for acquisition and customer management. For us, this is rather untypical.” Additionally, Ravshan learned how important corporate identity is for German companies and how intensely they work on it. As an advertising expert, he realized an interesting difference from an artistic view: “While in Uzbekistan we focus more on colourful designs and dynamic 3D animations, in Germany the focus is more on quiet colours and strict forms, and flat animations are preferred. Since I want to offer German agencies my services in the area of animation, this is very important knowledge for me.“

Of all the visited companies, Alisher Shakirov considered Decontec, a specialized just-in-time supplier of metal parts, “the company par excellence“. With its own production, own products and particularly through the openness of the company owner, the small company brought him to adore:  “He gave us insight into every area, every corner of his company, which would not have been imaginable with big companies. Especially interesting where the software that serves to program the CNC machines as well as the software for order processing. That way the customers can already find out the price in a telephone call! This is exactly what we need in our companies! Such a customer management system would make our work around ten more times effective.” The presented sales and marketing methods inspired the young entrepreneurs from Uzbekistan.

The automobile manufacturers MAN Truck & Bus in Salzgitter and Volkswagen in Wolfsburg also made a lasting impression on the participants. Saidov Oybek emphasized that one does not have to be introduced to MAN, the company is worldwide known, in particular in Uzbekistan. The group was especially impressed by the extremely high level of the whole work organization, the cleanness of the working place and the motivation of the employees. Oybek was astonished: “The employees remain loyal to the company almost their entire life, just like our instructor who led us through the company although he is already in retirement. This speaks for a high sense of consciousness of the employees who appreciate their employer and the great working conditions. On the other hand, the employer is interested in keeping the employees as long as possible. Maybe this is also the secret of the high motivation here – and not only the good salaries. We should think about it further in Uzbekistan.“ 

The group was in agreement: The visit of the VW factory in Wolfsburg was definitely the highlight of their whole programme. “Here we have seen everything that we had seen at other companies, just in a perfection and dimension which was not found anywhere else. It is a huge factory with more than 50,000 employees, but we have not seen many people during our factory tour because the level of automation in some areas is as high as 98%. The work of the robots is simply fascinating. This factory is like a small city within a city, they even have their own rescue services and emergency doctor! It is unbelievable, how everything works in a perfect harmony so that every 18 seconds a new car leaves the production line.“ This was industry 4.0 put in a nutshell.