APRIL 2017

Dear Sir or Madam,

As transformation experts, we would like to take the liberty of quoting the great Bob Dylan here – because times, they really are a-changing, more than ever before, and companies are having to reinvent their business models at increasingly frequent intervals.

Reinventing yourself takes a lot of courage and real leadership, especially when it means re-orientating an organisation going forward. In the hyper-competitive environment of Silicon Valley, companies have made an art form out of strategic changes of course. So much so that the word to pivot, previously reserved for mechanical engineering and military planners, has now taken its place alongside “scrum” and “agile” as basic English vocabulary which has been given a new and specific California meaning: pivoting is radical, real-time change to respond to an altered environment, new opportunities, or customer feedback.

In our hemisphere, most businesses still need a lesson in how to change faster because, if they don’t start soon, the basis of prosperity in Europe is in danger. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and that’s why the digital revolution is not something that can be seen as a special one-off project to be taken care of by a specific team like marketing or a group of people gathered around a “Chief Digital Officer”. Rather, it’s about reinventing our companies in the context of a digital world, and the scale of the task requires the undivided attention of every single member of the management board. Even when they do focus on digitisation, though, many old-school managers fail, conditioned as they have been to produce consensus and avoid disruption by various rounds of selection as they move up through the ranks.

In our view, in order for companies to participate in the digitised economy of the future, four key cornerstones must be put in place. Digital users – The shift from a classic customer at the end of the value chain through to a digitally connected user means defining what a user is and what new use cases are. Technology & content – Companies need to make sure that both their own technology and the range of services they offer are ready for the digital future. Organisation – Organisational structures need to be flexible and agile. Attitude – The core company culture needs to be brought up to date.

Whether with start-ups, established SMEs, or blue chips, we are currently engaged in a range of interesting discussions about these topics and offer workshops in which we examine the questions at play. We would be delighted to look into these topics in more detail with you and your team. Just get in touch to find out.

The articles in this issue of our Value Letter are also about the effects of digitisation – about the pressure to transform across various industries and, of course, about our own ability to change. We hope you enjoy reading it and that it offers you some inspiration for the changes ahead!

Best regards,

Dr. Engelbert Wimmer & Hanns Peter Becker

e&Co. AG Executive Board

WHITE PAPER: German SMEs and the Internet of Things – Responding the challenges of digitalisation.



Everyone’s talking about “Digitalisation”, “the Internet of Things”, and “Industry 4.0”. While some see unlimited potential and the Next Big Thing, others shake their heads, seeing little more than a massive hype – and thorny issues such as missing standards and data/security concerns. There is no shortage of research papers looking at the topic, but the majority are very theoretical in their approach and do not deal with a key element of the issue: a focus on German small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs, often called Mittelstand) and their role in these developments. For this purpose, we have published a provocative position paper in which we discuss these issues controversially and outline important practical recommendations for the affected industries. Authors: Tim Ehrich and Kai H. Kuljurgis.

OPINION PAPER: Make or buy your battery? – How electric vehicles are redefining value creation and supply chains for carmakers.



Principally as a response to CO2 emissions regulations, for quite some time now, OEMs have been investing considerable resources in developing electric vehicles. Yet interest among potential customers remains lukewarm: development of infrastructure for charging is very slow, prices remain high, and the range of the vehicles still leaves much to be desired. On this last point, car manufacturers are facing a decision: do they buy in lithium batteries from established suppliers or start manufacturing batteries themselves (even if this is not part of their core competences)? What degree of vertical integration should car companies be striving toward in order to retain as much value creation as possible? The aim of our opinion paper is to start discussion of this topic. Author: Lars Gero Ehrlich

NEW VENTURE SET UP: skill-fisher GmbH is a curated network of hand-picked digital talents available for hire and as knowledge-transfer agents.



Working to its motto of "enabling the digital value economy", the e&Co. management consultancy is passionate about new business ideas in digitisation, working to connect the pulsating energy of the tech start-up scene with established businesses. skill-fisher GmbH our second venture and is successfully building up a network in the digital environment from which it will recruit hand-picked digital talents who can transfer their knowledge into other sectors. Focussing on the dynamics, mechanisms, and language of digitisation, skill-fisher aims to anchor them in a range of product options such as recruiting and HR services, call-an-expert functions. It sees itself as an independent sparring-partner who will help companies find responses to as-yet-unanswered questions about digitalisation. It’s about networking: if we don’t already know who you should be talking to, we definitely know where to go and find them.

WELCOME ABORD: Milena Miano, Lars Ehrlich, Alexander Dewald, Fabian Mischler and Stephan Sneed.



e&Co. just keeps on growing, with five new members of staff joining us in the last few months. We are very proud to be able to welcome so many new talents to our team: as a human resources specialist, Milena Miano will be taking on responsibility for the whole range of staff management and recruitment activities; raw materials expert Lars Ehrlich joins us from the Hamburg International Economics Institute (Hamburgische Weltwirtschaftsintitut, HWWI); Alexander Dewald will be contributing his knowledge of automotive production, in-vehicle electronics, and software architecture; Fabian Mischler is an e-commerce specialist who has worked at companies such as Rakuten and Groupon; and Stephan Sneed is a full-blooded software expert with more than 16 years of IT experience in almost all areas of the industry, from legacy systems through to digital front ends. A very warm welcome to all of you! We are looking forward to working with you.

e&Co. AG is the management consultancy for complex change situations and your partner in helping to create value. As independent consulting entrepreneurs we work with our clients and business partners on their key transition areas. Active change processes from kick-off through to the final whistle: we provide traction to move forward. Our clients include entrepreneurs facing big challenges and ambitious goals, some of whom are global industry giants, while many are small-to-medium-sized or family-run companies. What unites them is their intention to change the status quo and secure lasting value-adds. e&Co. has positioned itself successfully in the market. We have several offices in Europe and one Asian dependance in Seoul, South Korea. ENABLING VALUE.
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e&Co. AG   Hubertusstr. 50  .  54439 Saarburg  .  T: +49 6581 8291‑600  .  F: +49 6581 8291‑610
Management Dr. Engelbert Wimmer (CEO)  .   Hanns Peter Becker
Supervisory Board Richard Wimmer (Chairman)
Registered Office Saarburg   .   Company registration Amtsgericht Wittlich HRB 43083
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