Client interview: Manfred Grantz, Head of Controlling for TÜV Nord Group
Cost Savings Today (CST): The TÜV Nord Group is a company active at a global level. What is the situation with regards to cost management?
Cost management has not been our main priority in the past. We have been through several mergers in recent years and there were other issues higher up on our priority list. After completing these tasks of integration we decided then to actively tackle cost management. Due to the complex structure of the TÜV Nord Group, and to the number of companies, this task was particularly challenging. This is why, from the beginning it was important for us to work with external consultants to achieve the best results and tie our staff as little as possible.
CST: Within your group, are there clear areas of responsibility with regards to small packaging, facility management and cash collection?
Our companies essentially look after these areas independently, as they do with other types of costs. They have a better overview of what is needed and what service providers best meet the profile of requirements. Our central procurement department supports the entities with purchase negotiations however not for all cost categories. Central controlling has initiated some cost reduction projects which were then implemented locally by the different entities. This approach to transfer the decision-making power to on-site decision-makers has led to good results in the past.
CST: You said that you had decided from the beginning to collaborate with external consultants. Why did you decide to do so and on which criteria did you select the consultancy?
For us, it was clear from the start that we would only achieve good results with external support. We also expected that with external support, our employees would not be overly tied to the project. In the initial phase, we have worked together with several consultants. However, on the long term, we have sought a solution to find specialised experts for the different cost categories. We got in touch with Expense Reduction Analysts by chance, Mr. Gustenberg met one of our staff members at an event. The reports and the whole process are very transparent and the results are convincing. So far, we have successfully carried out projects for cash collection and small packages in Germany.
CST: You have an international presence. To which extent is it planned to extend the collaboration to other countries and other companies?
For the time being we are also working with Expense Reduction Analysts in Spain. We have started a pilot there with our company Cualicontrol and are investigating the cost categories of travel management, telecommunications, fleet management, print and office supplies. We have received the first reports on the savings found. According to the reports, savings of over 17%, i.e. a six-figure sum, have been identified.
CST: How are the projects carried out in Spain and how independent are local companies?
The contact to Spain is kept by our client managers in Germany, Martin Gustenberg and Norbert Lieke. With them, we also discuss the reports. Besides this, the projects in Spain are implemented by Expense Reduction Analysts Spain and our Spanish employees.
Expense Reduction Analysts projects in Spain and with our colleagues in Spain are actively being implemented.
If there is any problem at any point, they will be brought to my attention and we’ll discuss how to solve it. However, so far the collaboration has gone quite smoothly. We have extended the collaboration to the Netherlands. We will work there with Expense Reduction Analysts in the same way as in Spain.