A complete makeover of working practices at Austrian-based Frauscher has ultimately shaved 40% from the workforce, 50% from the supply network, and turned the $1.5 million tied up in the stores department into a down payment for a $6.5 million, custom-built factory. Of an annual turnover of around $8 million, only $30,000 is now spent in warranty work, and that’s being reduced still further. So how has this been achieved in such difficult trading conditions?
The answer has been to seek advice from German-owned car builders Porsche, and in particular their management systems division, Porsche Consulting.
“For years we had set Porsche as a role model,” Michael Frauscher explained. “We had quite strong ties to the company. Like us, passion for the product was put before the making of money. Porsche wanted to create the best car they could, and we wanted to create the best boat.”
Frauscher sees itself in a similar niche, producing fast and stylish products for discerning clients. It seemed logical that through business connections, Porsche Consulting could be approached to see if any of its protocols would work for boatbuilding.
“The only real difference is that Frauscher’s are driven on water, and Porsches are driven on roads,” Michael Frauscher said. “Our boats hadn’t really changed since my grandfather’s day. Each was virtually a one off. They were all quite complicated, and took a lot of work to build. We knew we could improve the production techniques, but weren’t sure where to start.”
Porsche Consulting came aboard early in 2008, as the recession was beginning to bite. “I had seen the crisis develop, so took action early,” says Frauscher.
The first task was to identify where savings could be made in the original production facility, a few kilometres inland from the lake. Once a good working system had been set up, it would be transferred to a new factory that would be purpose-built around these practices.
Note: The above is an excerpt of the report published in the February 2013 edition of IBI magazine. Read the full article by downloading the IBI App.