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Business / Real estate

"Hidden Champions": as niche brands are forced to work the world economy

Vladimir Trofimenko, head of the Russian representation of the company Mankiewicz (Hamburg, Germany) – one of the world leaders in the coating industry, spoke about how Russia uses the advanced German experience and innovative technology of "hidden Champions" – keepers of the long tradition of business success and the driving force of the economy.

RBC has published an article of the head of the Russian representative office of the company Mankiewicz Vladimir Trofimenko "What approaches they use the "hidden Champions" where the top Manager spoke in detail about the principles of building business hidden Champions and their role in the development of the economy on the examples of Germany and Russia.

"Hidden Champions" – companies of medium size, usually based in small towns with not more than two thousand employees – one of the most effective from the point of view of technological development. In addition, medium-sized enterprises with a long history and reputation, as well as unique experience and expertise is a key new ideas in business development, strategic management and operational management.

"Hidden Champions" occupy a leading position on the continent or are in the top 3 global players in their niche. The annual revenue of most of them comes to €500 million scattered around the world about 2.7 thousand "hidden Champions". The majority, 65% of them based in Germany. So, in 2019, the volume of exports from this country amounted to almost €1,33 trillion — the third result in the world, after China and the United States.

unfortunately, in the Russian methods of "hidden Champions" and the phenomenon itself has not been studied so well as we would like. However, by "hidden Champions", for example, are a VSMPO AVISMA Corporation (the metallurgical company, the world's largest titanium manufacturer and supplier to the world aerospace industry) and the company "Volga-Dnepr" (occupies more than 60% of the market of air transportations of oversized).

without being known to a wide audience, these companies occupy leading positions in their niche in the macro-region, entering the top world leaders in their field of business. The basic distinctive signs of the company – "hidden champion": a matrix management structure, the interest in the result, the credibility of their products and the continuity of generations.

Vladimir Trofimenko like explains the principles of matrix management – a move away from a rigid hierarchy and chain of command establishment, in a sort of startups inside the company where the Directors are based on the principles of decentralization and flexibility in decision-making, developing teamwork, innovative system and properly allocate tasks. Working groups in these start-UPS are formed for specific tasks, and their participants will work together a certain period and after completion of the project transferred to other startups. This allows you to avoid professional burnout of the employees who every time start execution of new duties. As working groups are formed anew each time for specific projects, the process of adaptation of employees is very easy. People quickly rebuild and develop with the company.

every "hidden champion" has its own unique control system, so it pulls ahead in a particular area. For example, the company Sennheiser, the largest German manufacturer of equipment for recording, broadcast and playback of audio, decided to create really high quality products that would be respected by consumers. Heads Sennheiser believe that the most important thing — the quality of the product and the deserved trust of consumers, and not the widely known name brand.

"Hidden Champions" to sell the products at prices 10-15% above market. And they have to face, on the one hand, because many consumers when choosing products look primarily at the price, but the fact that large companies and holdings can afford to supply at a loss. But quality and innovation is still in the end win. If the company initially seeks to create a product that will be competitive in global markets, then takes the right course of development.

Finally, one of the attributes of "indoor champion" is often a succession of generations, which for businesses operating in narrow niches is an undeniable advantage Every new successor knows all the details of the case, time to get acquainted with all the stages of production, to appreciate the work of staff and to understand what to do for the prosperity of the company. In Europe continuity has become the norm, and applies not only to managers but also to employees of the company. In Russia it only starts to develop.

On the company Mankiewicz:

the Company Mankiewicz, founded in 1895, is currently the world leader in the industry of paints, protective-decorative and corrosion resistant coatings, and special paints for interiors and exteriors in aviation, automotive, railway engineering, production of construction and road equipment, wind power and other industries. To date, the company Mankiewicz – a technological partner of the leading tech giants with a leading engineering centre in Hamburg, Germany.

by Mankiewicz is in the TOP 100 innovative companies in Germany and is one of the leaders in the chemical industry. The company is also included in the list of “hidden Champions”.

the company's representative Offices located in 17 countries on 5 continents, and employs more than 1,500 employees.