Mechanical Engineering

Portrait of Karsten Schulze

I have been accompanying mechanical and plant engineering companies for many years. I am still fascinated by their innovative power, agility, and precision. In today's volatile market environment, it is more important than ever to combine tradition and transformation.

Karsten Schulze

Karsten Schulze

Senior Partner & Member of the Board

Consistency in change

Mechanical and plant engineering, a German core industry sector, is in the midst of a transformation: new data-based business models and services, smart factories, green tech and increasing global competition are making transformation necessary.

Current situation in the industry


Withstand price pressure and enable growth

The turnaround in mechanical and plant engineering has manifested itself by 2020 at the latest: China overtook Germany as the long-standing "export world champion". Lower prices continue to be a decisive competitive factor, and Asian competitors have also been able to close the gap on German leaders in terms of technology. This means that German companies are faced with a balancing act: maintaining and expanding their own quality standards, but at the same time having to respond to the intensified price competition. Services are playing an increasingly important role here – and must be positioned as independent offering.

Against the backdrop of rising production costs, it is important to implement measures with a rapid effect, for example in working capital, and to make the operating model more efficient in the medium term. We help stabilize profitability and liquidity. At the same time, we are working with our clients on a competitive strategic (re-)alignment.

Karsten Schulze

Karsten Schulze

Senior Partner & Member of the Board

Develop digital competencies

Big data is becoming the basis for success for products and services in mechanical/plant engineering. Experts expect increases in production efficiency of up to 10%, a reduction in operating costs of around 20% and savings in maintenance of around 50%.
But how can these potentials be leveraged, in order not to fall behind? Urgency matters, as a comprehensive understanding of data science and analytics, innovative products and a changed service offering cannot be built overnight.

As a mechanical engineer and digitization expert, I am familiar with the data landscapes of many production systems and know that the development effort should not be underestimated. In addition, there is the acquisition and qualification of skilled workers. Finally, new production processes, products and services must be in line with the company's core competencies, business model and strategic orientation. Together with our clients we develop sustainable concepts and support their implementation.

Mark André Nix

Mark André Nix

Senior Director

Mastering ESG challenges

Rising CO2 prices and stricter EU climate policy as well as growing demand for energy-efficient solutions are increasingly shaping the market environment. For example, the shift towards e-mobility in the automotive industry is leading to new requirements in many companies' main sales markets. In addition, ESG-compliant structures along the value chain are moving into the focus of customers, regulators and investors.

The increasing relevance of ESG poses major challenges for many machine and plant manufacturers – but also offers opportunities such as opening up new growth markets with innovative products and services. We support our clients in improving sustainability along their value chain – from development to procurement and purchasing to production – and in building the appropriate competencies. In addition, we help with investment decisions to ensure sustainability even in growth phases. We achieve this by identifying and evaluating products, technologies and opportunities in new markets.

Thomas Enck

Thomas Enck

Managing Director

Success Stories

Challenges & Solutions

A look at the details – what we do for mechanical and plant engineering:

Expert Interview

What issues are on the agenda, Karsten Schulze?

What is the situation like for German mechanical/plant manufacturers?

This cannot be lumped together. We work within both industries, which are very different in themselves. Plant engineering, for example, usually projects individual, complex solutions, while mechanical engineering often produces in series. Our clients generally have a high level of specialization. As world market leaders, they are internationally oriented and face strong competition, especially from companies in Asia. Many are still family-run, with the share of financial investors increasing in the wake of succession plans. We support these customers in growth phases as well as in crisis situations.

What developments typically force companies to change?

The spectrum currently ranges from the necessary digitalization of production processes to the creation of resilient supply chains and the establishment of ESG-compliant structures. Above all, the topic of sustainability is to be understood as a comprehensive change, because both the internal production processes of machine builders and their products must become more energy efficient. In addition, geopolitical developments are having an impact on companies. One might think here of rising raw material costs or a lack of intermediate products. In these cases, we support our customers strategically and operationally in order to sustainably improve their own position.

What about the topic of digitization – where are the levers here?

Here, a distinction must be made between the internal processes of the companies and the machines and systems produced. In my view, many companies still have some catching up to do in terms of internal data analysis and use. Here we can provide support, for example, with the development and implementation of a data strategy. Other companies lack the will or the financial strength to make necessary investments. However, it should not be overlooked that it is often very difficult to find the necessary IT experts. However, many companies are already further ahead with their products: most of these are comprehensively suitable for digital processes at the users.

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