Investor`s choice Mar 18, 2024

How Companies are Mastering Today’s Challenges with Resilience

Resilience is more than a buzzword. It is increasingly becoming a necessity for small, medium-sized and globally operating companies if they want to counter the greatest challenge of the 21st century: the ever faster pace of change. Here you will learn about what kinds of factors are playing a special role for companies, as well as why the choice of location may be crucial.

At the end of 2023, the ETL Mittelstandskompass was released, which focused on the topic of resilience in German SMEs. The findings of the study can be applied to all companies in general. Five specific recommendations for action reveal how companies can increase their resilience in uncertain times.

  • Resilience minus
  • 1. Strengthen your identification with resilience through motivating mission statements

    External changes pose a major challenge for a company. This is because they cast doubt on established structures, processes or even entire product lines. A strong mission statement gives companies a sense of direction in such times.

    • Siemens is a good example. Founded in 1847 as a telegraphy company, Siemens experienced – or rather survived – two world wars and various technological revolutions. Today, the company is successful in the sectors of healthcare, energy, industrial automation and infrastructure. Why? Because it follows a clear mission statement that is based on innovation and collaboration. Changes are not received with a defensive attitude, but with open arms. And the shifting of its product range is an integral part of the company’s history.

    2. Think about the future

    Those who address future changes before they occur are always one step ahead of the competition. This ensures that you are excellently prepared for crises and ideally already have an emergency plan in place.

    • Schaeffler, a supplier to the automotive and mechanical engineering industry, has been battling many different symptoms of crisis in recent years: diesel and combustion engines are on the decline – and finally, in 2020, the coronavirus crisis was added to the mix. This accelerated the transformation processes that had already been initiated in the company. At the headquarters in Herzogenaurach, for example, a competence centre for hydrogen and a state-of-the-art central laboratory for surface materials were created.

    3. Protect your data with a professional IT security policy

    The Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance estimates that the risk of cyber attacks is “already so high today” that “it must be constantly taken into account.” Protective mechanisms are essential for the resilience of companies.

    • TRATON SE, known as Volkswagen Truck & Bus until 2018, is a global commercial vehicle and bus manufacturer. The Munich-based company has been cooperating with the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) since 2020 to improve cyber security and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in everyday business processes. The company’s focus is on the rapid transfer of innovative research into practice.

    4. Get connected

    Networks are a proven means of strengthening the resilience of companies. Collaboration increases the potential for innovation and thus directly increases a company's future viability – from specialist networks to very specific projects.  

    • One example of this is the Catena-X project, which promotes innovation through cooperation between large corporations as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. Catena-X is powered by driving forces such as BMW, SAP and Telekom. The objective is a collaborative and open data ecosystem that digitally connects suppliers, car manufacturers and recycling companies. In this way, sustainability (circular economy), economic efficiency (profitability) and customer experience are improved at the same time – increasing the resilience of everyone involved.


    5. Learn from successes and failures and create the space to discuss them

    Companies’ resilience depends on the resilience of their employees. That is why it is important to discuss this topic. This is the only way to recognise developments at an early stage and adopt the right measures.

    • One piece of the puzzle in this context could be the exchange with individual managers in the company. BMW is setting a good example: “We provide training and specific tips to help people deal better with stress and strengthen their own mental resilience,” says the group’s corporate report. Here, too, it is emphasised that managers have a special role to play.

    These five tips demonstrate how companies can have a direct impact on their resilience through the decisions they make. What also helps them are the resources they can find in their environment: These include, for example, innovative cooperation partners or well-trained specialists and managers. These external factors are determined by the choice of location – and are self-reinforcing. Regions that excel in this respect automatically attract stakeholders that could be interesting for collaborations and cross-industry innovations, are attractive to the brightest talents, etc.

    Bavaria is a location that fulfils these criteria. Here, companies will find favourable conditions that will help them to be successful in the future: The most obvious factor is the diverse Bavarian economy, which includes sectors such as the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, IT, biotechnology and aerospace. However, the numerous, world-renowned research and educational institutions in Bavaria – from the Technical University of Munich to the Max Planck Institute – also promote technological excellence and supply the labour market with highly qualified specialists. If you are interested in Bavaria as a potential place of business, we would be happy to show you the corresponding areas of potential and inform you about funding, talent search and suitable networks.

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