Skip to main content
main-content

Über dieses Buch

Gaining more employment needs the customer - while markets are changing fast. Volkswagen will achieve stable employment through customer satisfaction: Every working place has its customer. The title The Company that Breathes stands for a new general strategy of Volkswagen AG. The company and the employees had to adopt this strategy. In this book the author, Director and Member of the Board of Volkswagen AG, describes this strategy with all details of flexibility in time and staff management. Although the systems vary worldwide, this strategy can be looked at as a revolution in work management for European and US companies.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Foreword

Abstract
This book contains a further development of the ideas found in the 1994 publication entitled “Every Job has a Face”. It offers an initial overview of the new human resources and employment policy developed by Volkswagen which is at present the subject of so much international attention, and focuses on the scope for practical application and further development of the model. The texts of the new agreements signed within the company are included in the appendix.
Peter Hartz

Introduction

Abstract
Maximise performance and productivity — optimise job security. This was the underlying objective of the 1995 round of collective bargaining at Volkswagen. It was an extension of the idea first introduced in 1993 with the 4-day week and described in the book “Every Job has a Face”. How can one raise productivity and yet secure jobs, improve performance and yet assure levels of pay, enhance competitiveness and yet still retain expensive manufacturing locations? Once again, the question was directed towards the same 100,000 people who, in 1993, had opted for secure jobs and a 4-day week. So this time it was possible to draw on people’s experience with that first experiment — was such an approach feasible in a sector which faces some of the fiercest global competition of any industry and bears such a heavy burden of high social standards as that in Germany?
Peter Hartz

The new concept of acceptability

Responding to competition, maintaining company locations and furthering the transformation process
Abstract
1993 was a year of change — a year characterised by a newfound courage to take on board new ideas, try out different approaches, face up to awkward decisions. It was a year which saw the introduction of new developments such as the 4-day week and other innovative approaches to work organisation. The key concept of “acceptability” swept aside the rigid divisions and taboos which had hindered the finding of solutions to the employment crisis at Volkswagen. Few people imagined it would be possible to break away from the traditional response to problems whereby a minority was sacrificed in order to save the majority — which in labour market terms always means dismissing a small section of the workforce in order to be able to guarantee full employment to the remainder.
Peter Hartz

The company that breathes

How a modern company is driven by people and markets
Abstract
Successful companies are driven by people and markets. The very best companies are able to combine both elements: a workforce which is enthusiastic about the customer and, consequently, customers who are enthusiastic about the company. Top-class companies are even able to keep pace with changing customer requirements and developments on the market. All their processes and resources are designed to breathe — from the product development cycle right down to the delivery speed. The concept of breathing takes lean manufacturing to its logical conclusion and applies it to the entire company. All process times are shortened. No customer — and no market — can make this sort of company short of breath. This is “customer service” taken to its ultimate conclusion. And the customer responds by buying the company’s products.
Peter Hartz

M4 — the workforce as a source of competitive advantage

“Mehrfachqualifiziert, mobil, mitgestaltend und menschlich”
Abstract
Competitive jobs always go hand in hand with attractive, high-quality products manufactured at reasonable cost using efficient manufacturing technology. However, nowadays the transparency of the competitive situation makes it increasingly impossible to achieve a significant technological edge over one’s competitors. Every opportunity taken to upgrade a plant in a particular location or to change a product immediately offers competitors the chance to copy or compensate for the advantage gained.
Peter Hartz

Coaching — the route to top performance

No matter how good you are, there is always room for improvement…
Abstract
A truly entrepreneurial approach involves capitalising on the opportunities offered by change. The major challenge facing every company is how to achieve change and increase value-added faster than its rivals. In this context, “faster” means:
  • shorter deadlines
  • changed priorities
  • increased assertiveness
  • shorter innovation cycles
  • faster communications
Peter Hartz

The variability of the employment relationship

Redefining the value of jobs
Abstract
Throughout the world, mass unemployment has become one of the most pressing problems of modern times. The automotive industry has been hit by a crisis of restructuring and excess capacity. It would have been easy enough for Volkswagen to follow the example of many other companies and simply shed jobs. But as “Every Job has a Face”, the company therefore decided, in the autumn of 1993, to break out of the vicious circle of mass unemployment. It is all very well for market trends, technological progress or productivity to define personnel requirements — but these factors alone should not be allowed to dictate the nature of the solution to the problem.
Peter Hartz

The Volkswagen Week

A new approach to working time in a breathing company
Abstract
At the end of 1993, Volkswagen and the Hanover branch of the metalworkers’ union IG Metall, as the parties to the Volkswagen AG company collective agreement, made the headlines. Following negotiations completed in a record 14 days, the negotiating partners had achieved an agreement aimed at safeguarding jobs and company locations which subsequently became known as the “4-day-week”.
Peter Hartz

The new life-curve

A new approach to lifetime employment and income
Abstract
The ageing of the population in general — and the working population in particular — is a phenomenon observable in all countries of the European Union. The question of the role played by the older employees in a company — and in society — is going to become increasingly important. Patterns are changing so quickly that a rethink of the relationship between working and non-working life for older employees is called for. At present, society and social security systems still assume that full-time employment lasts for 35–45 years and involves steadily increasing income expectations — and that 63 or 65 could once again become the normal age of retirement.
Peter Hartz

The Volkswagen World

A corporate manifesto for everyone
Abstract
The Volkswagen World embraces a total of 240,000 people in 296 companies — all of them individuals who are dedicated to their work, and have their own personal expectations and family responsibilities. This is the company’s human capital. And it is important that they should be able to identify with their work and their company. To this end, Volkswagen has formulated a manifesto which applies throughout the Volkswagen World and is comprehensible in all languages. It constitutes a commitment covering all brands and regions. Top management throughout the Group has committed itself to the ideas contained in this summary of everything that the Volkswagen culture stands for. It is a crystallisation of what this global company believes in.
Peter Hartz

The future

Abstract
Every job has a customer. No customer — no job. How can we win new customers? This is the crucial question which needs to be asked in the context of saving jobs. The concept of the “company that breathes” is a response to the problem. It is an approach which centres on the customer and views success as depending crucially on a change of attitude and an orientation of a company’s entire range of products, processes and developments towards the customer. What distinguishes a successful company from its competitors is that it is better, faster, more cost-effective and more innovative. It is responsive to markets and customers’ wishes — in a nutshell: it is up-to-date.
Peter Hartz

Backmatter

Weitere Informationen