As the world's most profitable carmaker, Porsche is envied a lot by car enthusiasts and other carmakers could only hope that they have its profit margins. But the smart companies don’t just stop there. They try to learn from Porsche’s growing consulting business and study its efficient production methods and its strategies to boost profitability.
The companies that have done so include airline Lufthansa, Volkswagen and shipbuilder Meyer Werft. Thomas Stueger, product and services chief at Lufthansa's maintenance unit, said that Porsche is a “synonym” for “masterminding the car industry's complex work processes.”
Lufthansa's maintenance unit has employed Porsche to assist it in cutting the service time for the Airbus SAS A340 plane. Stueger describes Porsche as an “interesting partner.”
Porsche's consulting division makes use of lean-production techniques initially developed at Toyota Motor Corp. Porsche seeks to expand its 220-strong workforce by over 10% to cope with the needs of a customer base of 150 companies.
Earlier this year, the unit opened a branch in Brazil to take advantage of the business that will come due to the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. In the fiscal first quarter, Porsche posted an operating margin of 19% in the automotive unit.
In the third quarter, BMW, the largest luxury carmaker, reported an automotive profit margin of 8.1%, while Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz posted 9.5% and VW's Audi got 11%. The consulting business came out as a result of former CEO Wendelin Wiedeking's restructuring of production lines and work processes to hold off insolvency in the early part of the 1990s. [via autonews - sub. required]