Teaching academy offers extensive qualification courses for Droege & Comp. consultants
"Only known in Germany"
A very German affair
Founded in Dusseldorf in 1988, Droege & Comp is now the second-largest management consulting firm of German origin, with annual revenue of $135 million. Created as a “consultancy of entrepreneurs serving entrepreneurs”, Droege prides itself on its skills in the area of restructuring and growth programs, and specializes in helping midsized firms around the world achieve bottom-line results and tangible benefits. The consultancy, from its 14 offices in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia, is part of Droege International Group AG, which has more than 2,000 employees and also includes Droege Capital Direct Investments, Droege & Comp Financial Advisors and Droege & Comp Turnaround & Interim Management.
The consulting practice covers strategy and portfolio management, operational excellence, organizational and leadership improvement, financial management, turnaround management, and change and communication strategies. It draws roughly 50 per cent of its clients from the industrial sector, 30 per cent from the financial services sector and 20 per cent from other service-based industries. Droege’s employees have expertise in a diverse range of industries, including the automotive, banking, chemicals, health care, energy and utilities, retail and consumer goods, high-tech and telecoms, mechanical and plant engineering, insurance and transport sectors.
Principles for prosperity
Droege & Comp. bases its strategy for successful management consulting on five central principles. The first is “implementation right from the outset”, which means that clients can expect the firm to focus on making positive changes immediately. The next is speed, which ensures that the firm delivers top-quality results faster than even its largest competitors. The third principle of Droege’s business is its success-based payment structure, under which the company will only get paid if clients see results. Droege’s fourth principle is its emphasis on trust, which it strives to build with, which is testament to the fact that two-thirds of the firm’s business comes from former clients. Lastly, the firm believes in “implementation in accordance with the state of the art”, meaning that its consultants utilize the latest tools and techniques to help deliver optimal results for clients.
THE LATEST ON DROEGE
IT gets a bashing
When it’s not overloaded with work trying to turn medium-sized companies around, Droege likes nothing better than to get its hands dirty with surveys and research. One of the consultancy’s latest offerings centers on the IT expenditures of German firms hit by the credit crunch, a report published in March 2009. Of the 322 businesses interviewed from a range of industries, including manufacturing, service and financial, 43 per cent admitted that they would be cutting IT investments, with 15 per cent claiming investments would be cut by more than one-tenth.
Focusing on the German aviation sector, which, like most around the world, has suffered a battering at the hands of the global credit crunch, Droege conducted another study, released in December 2008, to ascertain whether the slump in the market was merely part of a downward cycle that would correct itself in time, or symptomatic of a deeper and more serious issue within the industry. The positive news for the aviation sector is that the study, based on a survey of more than 80 top managers from airports in over 20 countries, and passenger and freight airlines active in Germany, found that two-thirds of respondents believe the slump is only part of a cyclical downturn. Seventy per cent of respondents, however, did say there would be a decline in fleet orders in addition to cancellations during 2009, with 80 per cent revealing that the new orders were being used as a method of phasing out old aircraft, rather than expanding capacity.
Don’t think that Droege’s research is always solely a result of its own toil and sweat. From time to time, Droege seeks out advice and expertise from the lofty heights of academia. To do this, it maintains close links with a number of academic institutions throughout Germany and, as such, believes it “has a particular duty to support scientific research and teaching”. This support stretched as far as paying part of a grant to save the stricken Witten/Hardecke University in January 2009.
Droege also has a number of other associations with universities. It set up the Center for Organizational Excellence (CORE), along with the Universities of St. Gallen and Geneva, with the aim of uncovering ways that management and organizations can influence corporate growth and protect revenue. It also started the Herausforderung Mittelstand (Challenges for Medium-Sized Enterprises) initiative in conjunction with the Witten Institute for Family Enterprises. The goal of the project is to look at the position of German small- and medium-sized enterprises, and the challenges they face in a global economy.
Big waves in the middle market
At home, the firm’s place as Germany’s top medium-sized management consultancy was assured when it topped the Lendonk ranking, which measures midweight German management consultancies based on their rate of growth and the amount of revenue they generate. Droege reinforced its position ahead of domestic rivals by claiming an increase of 40 per cent in German business alone, achieving a turnover of $122 million. To put things in perspective, the firm’s nearest rival could only muster $77.6 million, and the average growth rate of its German competitors was a paltry 20.5 per cent.