“Such growth rates are too high in the long run”

Dusseldorf The management consultancy Porsche Consulting increased its sales last year by around 28 percent to 271 million euros and, according to its own statements, is “very profitable”. “It was a record year,” explains company boss Eberhard Weiblen in an interview with the Handelsblatt. “Of course we are very happy about this encouragement. But we also know that such growth rates are too high in the long run.”

For the year 2023, the manager, who has been leading the consulting company since 1998, is still aiming for growth – albeit “only in the lower double-digit percentage range”.

“Anyone who grows too quickly risks suffering in quality in the long term,” says Weiblen. “We’d rather do one project less than more, more, more.” Nevertheless, the number of employees should continue to rise. In 2022 it increased from 700 to 840.

These are growth figures that other managers can only dream of – even in the consulting industry, which has been booming in recent years. According to a recent study by the Federal Association of German Management Consultancies (BDU), the number of consultants in Germany increased by 15 percent in 2022. For the current year 2023, they expect an increase of twelve percent to a total business volume of 49 billion euros.

The direct competition has not grown as much as Porsche Consulting either. The numbers two and three of the German management consultancies, Simon-Kucher from Bonn and Horvath from Stuttgart, each increased by 21 percent last year, to 535 and 265 million euros respectively. The number one, Roland Berger, has not yet presented any figures. However, they are likely to be similar to those of the direct competitors.

>> Read about this: Consultants in Germany want to continue growing at double-digit rates

Weiblen, with his experience one of the grand seigneurs of the consulting industry, finally established Porsche Consulting in the industry. The company is now one of the top five German management consultancies.

The company was founded in 1994 under the leadership of the then Porsche boss Wendelin Wiedeking. The underlying business idea at the time was to pass on the experience gained with our own restructuring to other companies.

Porsche Consulting no longer only advises the automotive industry

The company is still a GmbH and a subsidiary of Porsche AG. This clearly sets it apart from other consulting firms. These are either partnerships like the three international consulting giants McKinsey, Boston Consulting and Bain or Roland Berger. Or they are organized as stock corporations, such as IT consultancies Accenture or Capgemini.

Like all other partners and consultants at Porsche Consulting, Weiblen is therefore only employed, but has a share in the success of the company as a manager. The largest customer is still the Volkswagen Group with all its brands. However, Weiblen has established consulting in many sectors in recent years. According to its own statements, it is now doing almost every second project outside the automotive industry.

However, one focus is still mobility with customers such as Deutsche Bahn, Lufthansa, Airbus, Embraer and Meyer Werft. There are also projects in mechanical engineering (ABB), for consumer goods manufacturers (Barilla, Nestlé), in retail (Breuninger), in the healthcare sector (Boehringer) and for banks and insurance companies (DZ Bank).

Porsche production

Porsche Consulting no longer only advises the automotive industry, but also benefits from the name of the parent company.

(Photo: Bloomberg)

Weiblen sees the name Porsche Consulting as a clear advantage. “We are the Porsche among management consultancies.” Just as people trust the parent company to build great cars, they expect good advice from Porsche Consulting.

“Porsche Consulting has also successfully established itself outside of the automotive industry in recent years,” explains Jörg Hossenfelder, managing partner of market analyst Lünendonk. The brand works very well in terms of quality promises and fee levels. However, the consultancy should increase both in terms of sales and internationality in order to remain competitive in the competitive environment.

Eberhard Weiblen: “We don’t just advise, we support”

Despite the history of their origins, restructuring cases are not part of the core business, explains Weiblen: “We are strong in the transformation of companies and in improving results.”

Similar to the other leading German management consultancies, Porsche Consulting not only thinks up new ideas and transformation solutions, as McKinsey and Boston Consulting have done for a long time. “We not only develop strategies, we also implement them. We not only advise, we support,” says Weiblen.

>> Read also: Tough but necessary business: These are the top restructuring companies in the German economy

The 59-year-old, who at the beginning of his career worked for a ski manufacturer in the USA and is still a passionate tourer and mountaineer in the Dolomites, likes to compare the approach of his consultants with that of a mountain guide. “Together with our clients, we set a goal, discuss the route and then walk the path to the summit together.”

The combination of advice and support is a trend that is becoming more and more important in the industry. In February, Roland Berger even announced that it would send its own consultants as managers in companies in the future – in the position of Chief Restructuring Officer, for example. In order for this to succeed, Roland Berger took over the team from Candidus, a consultancy specializing in interim management.

>> Read about this: From consultant to manager: Roland Berger is repositioning itself in terms of restructuring

Like other German management consultancies, Porsche Consulting wants to expand internationally and is planning to open more offices abroad. “We’re looking closely at the North American and Asian markets,” says Weiblen.

The international share of sales should increase beyond the current 25 percent. On the one hand, by accompanying European clients to new locations. But above all through more foreign corporations as clients – such as in the USA with the aviation group Delta Airlines or the cruise giant Royal Caribbean.

More: How consultants have made themselves irreplaceable for the state and companies

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