“Times like these produce dreams”
Mr. Blume, the coronavirus crisis has taken governments, economies, and society at large by storm and is dictating new rules—for Porsche as well. What are you using for guidance during this time?
Oliver Blume: We’re being guided by the central values of our Porsche culture. More than ever, what we want to do is work for the benefit of society and our fellow human beings. Right now we’re concentrating on where we as a company can be of help. We’ve also been encouraging our employees to do volunteer work, and we’re sending donations to charities around the world. That’s all part of how we view ourselves as a company.
Should companies in general play a greater role in government affairs, like Porsche has done in procuring PPE for healthcare personnel? Blume: Porsche has a long history of promoting non-profit initiatives. I am confident that we will deal with the situation successfully by working together. And it’s experiences like this that can have a lasting effect on our society—to everyone’s benefit.
You mentioned taking a family-like approach—but the Porsche family has more than 35,000 members. That’s a lot of responsibility for an executive board when we’re talking about something as crucial as keeping people healthy.
As soon as we saw what the virus was doing in China, we convened a council of experts at Porsche. This council is monitoring the situation around the clock, and has been making quite a few decisions. We make no compromises in this regard. The health of our community is of paramount importance.
The crisis appeared quickly, giving the crisis management team no time to practice.
Blume: Each individual team member immediately had to set his or her internal compass on handling this problem. And I’m proud to say that it worked without a hitch. My colleagues are doing outstanding work. The crisis management team met daily. The executive board held special sessions every other day. Together we discussed hundreds of questions.
What decisions were especially hard?
Blume: At first we planned to stop production for only two weeks. But it ended up being six weeks. One of the reasons had to do with bottlenecks in the global supply chains. That was very painful. Over the last few years we’ve launched a huge product campaign, including the Taycan at the end of 2019.
May 29, 2020 at 23:18