Strategy development at ERNST Umformtechnik

STAUFEN MAGAZINE 2022 | No. 5 | ERNST Umformtechnik GmbH | Inspiration

“WHEN IT COMES TO THE COMPANY’S FUTURE, YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING HALF-HEARTEDLY.” 

The transformation of the automotive industry is also impacting producers such as ERNST Umformtechnik GmbH. Managing Directors Matthias Ernst and Herbert Gieringer explain why they turned to Staufen AG for support in further developing the company’s strategy. 

ERNST Umformtechnik GmbH is a typical family-owned company in Germany. More than half a century ago, the first metal sheets were stamped and formed in Oberkirch (Baden-Württemberg). Now, the company operates globally. The company now has 750 employees at its sites in Germany, the USA, France, and China. Today, ERNST Umformtechnik is considered a specialist for precision components. One of the main customers of the products is the automotive industry. The transformation process of the industry and its suppliers is also forcing ERNST Umformtechnik to adapt to current developments and rethink its strategic orientation. 

Staufen consultants support strategy 2026 

“To remain profitable in the long term, we have in the past regularly drawn up a corporate strategy with a five-year horizon,” says Matthias Ernst, the son of the company’s founder. Due to the Corona pandemic, the current strategy process initially had to be pushed back by one year and finally started in 2021: “The new alignment is of course strongly influenced by the market-driven transformation away from vehicles with combustion technology. Our company must successfully master challenges relating to electromobility, digitization, sustainability, and securing our location.” Developing a new strategy costs management above all time. This is a scarce resource, as the two managing directors are heavily involved in day-to-day business. Herbert Gieringer: “A corporation has the human resources to work out its strategy completely on its own, but a medium-sized company cannot.” The management therefore relied on outside help and brought consultants from Staufen AG on board. 

“Without external consultants, we might have focused too much on our core business and designed a strategy for the present instead of the future,” Matthias Ernst adds as another reason. And Herbert Gieringer explains: “In the sheet metal forming market, there are other industries besides the automotive sector that are of interest. Here, we needed the perspective and expertise of the Staufen experts in order to work out the 2026 strategy together – starting with the development of a vision for ERNST Umformtechnik.” 


Our company must successfully master challenges relating to electromobility, digitalization, sustainability, and securing locations.

MATTHIAS ERNST AND HERBERT GIERINGER
Director ERNST Umformtechnik GmbH

Focus on the essentials instead of learning by doing 

At the beginning of the new strategy cycle, there was an honest assessment of what was not ideally working according to previous processes. “We know the market, we know what measures need to be taken,” explains Managing Director Gieringer. “In the past, however, we did not achieve some goals because we did not consistently implement everything we had strategically defined.” The role of the Staufen consultants was therefore not only to drive the strategy process in a focused manner, but also to ensure its consistent implementation. Gieringer therefore found sparring with the consultants in particular to be extremely positive: “The consultants look at our business in a completely different way. They scrutinize us closely and often take a different perspective, which is important and necessary. The methodological strength and experience of Staufen allowed us to move forward with the strategy process in a much more focused way, instead of progressing slowly through learning by doing.” 

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The strategy process

Within a few weeks, preparatory industry and competitive analyses were carried out and core competencies, resources, market potential and growth levers were defined. The strategy process ended with the development of the roadmap. It specifies how and in what timeframe the defined breakthrough targets are to be achieved by 2026.

“I can highly recommend that every medium-sized company seeks support in the strategy process,” Matthias Ernst sums up. “When it comes to the company’s future, you can’t do anything half-heartedly. You have to take the time to discuss issues and ask uncomfortable questions. And finally, you have to get the entire management team on board with the new strategy, otherwise it will not work.”

The company

ERNST Umformtechnik GmbH is a globally recognized development partner and premium producer of innovative metal components which range from demanding metal forming and post-stamping machining to sophisticated laser-welded assemblies. With the strategically located sites in Germany, China, France and the USA, the company has the capability to take an initial idea to a run of millions. 

750

EMPLOYEES

123

million € Sales

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Magazine article about Ernst Umformtechnik

STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT AT ERNST UMFORMTECHNIK

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