GERMANY: Volkswagen launches 'Volkswagen Way'

By just-auto.com editorial team | 5 December 2007

In order to increase productivity and guarantee jobs, the management and works council at Volkswagen have agreed on a common strategy, known as the 'Volkswagen Way'.

According to the German press agency, dpa, the strategy was announced at a works meeting in Wolfsburg this week. Human resources director, Horst Neumann, said that the 'Wolkswagen Way' would aim to develop and produce cars of the highest quality at a price that consumers are willing to pay.

He said that there are still real synergies that can be made with the potential for a massive leap in productivity. This needs networked thinking and a close cooperation between all divisions.

Director of the group works council, Michael Riffel, said that the Volkswagen Way is about improving production processes and optimising work organisation, but that it is also about guaranteeing jobs and pay. "No-one loses money because everyone is engaged in ensuring that we become better and more effective. No-one should be worred about their job."

The 'Volkswagen Way' goes back to the 2004 wage negotiations. Employees sought cost savings from management process, structures and organisation in exchange for working longer hours for effectively lower pay.

Wage costs account for just under 15% of the cost of a car, said works council chief, Bernd Osterloh. "It is not about making people work faster. Rather we must make it possible for them to use their work time more effectively." The structure of the work processes is the job of the management.