Managers need courage

Munich, August 2023

Managers need courage

Munich, August 2023

or auto suppliers, the need to adapt to E-mobility technologies and processes is urgent. This is a process that must be managed, step by step – so here’s how

The Shanghai Auto Show 2023 sent shockwaves through the auto industry. It demonstrated that China – the world’s most important auto growth market – is accelerating its E-mobility transition faster than most people expected. Chinese automakers presented a compelling and innovative model range, with new features and very competitive pricing. It showed that new entrants to the auto industry can develop market-beating capacity at an astonishing rate.

Changes in transaction activity depend heavily on the target company’s profitability, as of 10.03.2023
(in billions US-Dollar)

1. Definition and selection criteria for the AUTO100 Index:: Conditions: listed with >€1 billion market capitalization, turnover share of automobility >50%, selection by >20 individual scores which assess the strategic and fundamental performances.
2. Definition established/new players: established players have a long automobile history; new players were established in the year and afterwards
3. Rebranding of KAR auction Services to "OPENLANE" from 15.03.2023
4. Significant shift through Tesla stock price fall from $279.43 [10.03.22] to $173.44 [10.03.23]

Source: Berylls AUTO100 Index, Berylls Strategy Advisors

Today, 11 automotive companies that did not even exist before the year 2000 now account for 30% of market capitalization in the Berylls TOP-100-Automotive-Player Index. And more new entrants to the industry, such as Li Auto and XPeng, are likely to figure in the TOP 100 soon.

For established auto suppliers, this presents a growing challenge. Acceleration of the E-mobility transition and the arrival of entirely new manufacturers, combined with the increasing focus on in-sourcing on the part of established OEMs, means that suppliers are already addressing an entirely new market. At this point it is critical for suppliers to assess their own position in the market and set a course for a different kind of future, all while fulfilling existing business commitments. This is a complex situation, in which suppliers face shortages of resources, double burdens and challenges for companies, managers and employees.

Suppliers who have already reoriented to a primary focus on EV components or those whose product lines are already powertrain agnostic are in the strongest position. They can devote all their energy to future business – whether that be in developing compelling innovations, consolidation of market position or increasing efficiency and productivity.

For suppliers who have yet to make the transition to E-mobility focused business, radical rethinking around decades-old business models and consistent, decisive action by management are the order of the day. They need to free themselves from traditional organizational structures and ways of working, and they may need to support this reorientation through temporary structures that can smooth the transition path.

For a successful transition to E-mobility, experience shows that it is imperative to observe six guiding principles:

1. Clarity and consistency in the transformation

Transformation is a task for senior management and has the highest priority. If the changes that senior managers are expecting from the organization are going to be executed effectively, then clear messages on the need for change and the ultimate purpose of the transition are needed. The other critical element is passion for change: it is this which engenders the ability to reimagine the organization at all levels, as well as for people to change themselves. The goal is for management to “live the future” in the here and now.

2. Humility and respect toward the history and values of the company

Successful transformations actively address the past and reveal how the company’s ability to change has shaped it so far. The most important questions to be considered are: where do we come from? Why is the business like it is? Which patterns can be broken and which cannot? By recognizing current structures and cultural patterns and dealing with them respectfully, management can assess where there is an immediate need for action and where radical changes cannot be initiated overnight.

3. Convergence of strategy and organizational development

An integrated strategy for organizational development identifies current and future demands on structure, culture and management, and monitors change on an ongoing basis. Companies in transition need calibrated momentum, so the speed of the organization’s adjustment is decisive.

4. Targeted planning and implementation

The secret of successful implementation is to maintain planned targets rather than strive for results which push beyond the framework of the current transformation. Companies cannot withstand excessive speed and change over a long period. Too little momentum and the transition will wither; too much and the organization may break down. Therefore it is critical to evaluate transition plans carefully in the planning phase and consider their real-world feasibility.

5. Mix of experienced and young managers

The transformation team will play a key role in the success of the change initiative. The role of this team is to lead its staff with empathy and to communicate stability and security where there is uncertainty. The team therefore needs a good mix of experienced and younger managers who want change: experienced managers should be capable of assessing feasibility, practicability and potential risk, smoothing the way for the new generation. Younger managers see the situation with fresher eyes and are more likely to focus on the opportunities of tomorrow than on the risks of today.

6. Recognition of every staff member’s contribution

Managers need to make sure that staff are able to make individual contributions. That is only possible when staff understand why the transformation is the right way forward, what the common goal is and what each individual can achieve. If these elements are present, management can better control the transformation with all its dependencies, and the chances of success are greatly enhanced.   

The automotive supply sector is facing changes which are exponentially increasing demands on management teams. Such changes call for managers who have the vision and the perseverance to transform the core business by reimagining the organization and its value chain.

The transformation goal is change, but not discontinuity. It is only by understanding the past that organizations can fit themselves for the future. When companies recognize and celebrate past successes, they are enabled to build a coalition of willing people focused on the future.

Laura Kronen


Sema Poyraz

Project Manager

Laura Kronen

Laura Kronen (1980) is a partner at Berylls Group with a focus on transformation. She is passionate about moving people and organizations forward. With over 18 years of industry and consulting experience, her focus is on transformative challenges in the operations context – from executives to individual employees, at manufacturers and suppliers. She helps her clients align strategy, structure, and culture in their respective market environments to build resilience.

Prior to joining Berylls, Laura Kronen worked at PwC Strategy&, Volkswagen AG and Audi. She holds a diploma degree in industrial engineering from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).