2021 / Electrifying progress

Boldly facing the future

    In the interview, the management talks about the development of the Audi e-tron GT, PSW's contribution to the VW strategy "goTOzero" and the working world of tomorrow.

    Have you seen an Audi e-tron GT drive through Ingolstadt today?

    Andreas Fidorra: Not today. But a few days ago, I saw one while I was on my way to the office.

    How does that make you feel?

    If you have experienced the entire development phase of a vehicle, you look at it with completely different eyes because you know how much passion and work that goes into every detail. I am very proud that PSW, under the leadership of Audi, has taken on an important part of the development work and made its contribution to realising this great car.

    You joined PSW in 2017 as the technical director. Since then you have become chief executive officer and have played an important part in the development of the Audi e-tron GT from start to finish. How did PSW and its employees rise to the challenge of such a project?

    PSW can draw on many years of experience in a lot of areas: interior, exterior, electrical systems, thermal management and vehicle safety. In other areas we have developed our expertise with the project. For example in the areas of electrics/electronics or in overall vehicle development. The project enabled us to deepen our competencies in these areas, so that today we are in a position to develop vehicle derivatives both technically and in terms of the processes involved.

    Everyone had the same goal in mind: the development of a Gran Turismo with a strong character that stands for the electric mobility of the future.

    Andreas Fidorra Chairman of the Board, Board Member for Development
    PSW has taken over important parts of the development work for the Audi e-tron GT. Picture: © Audi Media Center

    What was special about the development of the Audi e-tron GT?

    The Audi e-tron GT went through an unusually short development process. Audi largely replaced physical models with virtual ones. We set up a virtual vehicle fleet for this purpose which accelerated development and made it more sustainable. All of these topics were certainly a challenge, but it was impressive to see the commitment and dedication with which Audi and PSW approached the project. The collaboration was excellent. A strong, unwavering sense of trust and the fact that everyone had the same goal in mind: the development of a Gran Turismo with a strong character that stands for the electric mobility of the future.

    The collaboration model between Audi, Audi Sport and PSW in the Audi e-tron GT project was an absolute novelty. With a small team, a lean project structure and quick decision-making processes, we were able to put a great product on the road together in record time. Many thanks to the flexible PSW team, who made a significant contribution to the success of this project with their high level of competence and enthusiasm!

    Bernhard Pauli Control of the e-tron GT series, Audi AG

    And then the pandemic happened.

    Andreas Fidorra: In the final phase of the project, the whole world was in the firm grip of the pandemic, an additional challenge for development of the vehicle. We set up a corona task force which, in coordination with Audi, made quick and effective decisions. Protecting the health of all employees and maintaining business operations was always the top priority. Despite this challenging environment, Audi and PSW managed to get the vehicle on the road without any delays.

    What does PSW take from the Audi e-tron GT project for the future?

    The development of expertise and the further evolution of processes that are necessary for the creation of vehicle derivatives form an important basis for subsequent projects. In particular, the joint development and application of the HMI and driver assistance systems with Audi have helped us progress as PSW in this project. All the experience that companies and employees have gained in here will be applied to future projects, so that we will continue to expand our role as a strong development partner alongside Audi.

    Interview without words: Managing directors

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    Andreas Fidorra

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    Guido Grabo

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    Sascha Hattemer

    We are currently working on the introduction of an environmental compliance management system. This way we want to ensure that PSW makes its contribution to the VW strategy goTozero.

    Guido Grabo Board Member for Finance, Compliance and Integrity

    You joined PSW in the middle of last year and took over the management of the finance department. What was your experience of PSW during your first few days?

    Guido Grabo: I was impressed by the in-company network of committees. Processes and procedures are very well organised. Decisions made at the beginning of the week were often implemented towards the end of the week. This rapid implementation is one of the capabilities that distinguish PSW. That was certainly an important factor in the successful development of the Audi e-tron GT.

    What were the first topics you dealt with at PSW?

    I am very passionate about finance. So the first thing I did was to look at the financial processes at PSW and, together with my team, think about how we could develop them further. We have already achieved a lot: we have made management reporting much leaner by concentrating on meaningful KPIs. The company now has even better instruments to use these KPIs to initiate targeted measures. Another topic is long-term financial planning. We have restructured and defined a process that results in more transparency and consistency in our planning. All in all, during the past few months we have laid the foundations for a stable financial framework. But the nice thing about my job is that I have other areas of focus in addition to financial topics.

    Can you elaborate on that?

    I am also responsible for compliance and integrity topics. Stable financial processes are important for a company. But this procedural framework becomes obsolete if the people who use the processes do not act with integrity and in accordance with the law. At PSW, it is of great importance to us that our employees know and adhere to the given rules of conduct, laws and guidelines. The basis for this is integrity. That is the value system of a person, the moral compass if you will. There are numerous initiatives at PSW to promote compliance and integrity, such as web-based training as well as various in-company events.

    Let's look ahead: what are you particularly focusing on in the coming months?

    We are currently working on the introduction of an environmental compliance management system. This way we want to ensure that PSW makes its contribution to the VW strategy “goTozero”, because the group wants to become CO2 neutral by 2050. As far as our project situation is concerned: thanks to our contribution to the successful development of the Audi e-tron GT, we are well positioned for subsequent projects. This is something that gives the company financial stability. Now what’s important is to plan these projects accordingly. Looking beyond our project situation, we are also going to be working on safeguarding our profitability in the long term, to enable important investments for the future.

    With the workplace of the future, we want to ensure a high level of internal and external work attractiveness that differentiates us from the competition.

    Sascha Hattemer Board Member for Personnel, Legal, Organization

    Mister Hattemer, this year you took over as the head of human resources, legal and organisation at PSW. How did your first few weeks at PSW go?

    Sascha Hattemer: I received a warm welcome and found a very committed and competent workforce. What distinguishes PSW is the strong team spirit based on mutual respect, lean decision-making structures and diversity. People from 23 different nations work at PSW, which is pretty impressive. We want to continue encouraging this diversity. If you want to help shape the mobility of the future, you have to be open to new ideas and approaches. Diversity is an important catalyst for this. This is why we have recently entered into a cooperation with the Technical University of Ingolstadt (THI) to help motivated refugee university graduates get a good start to their careers.

    What does this cooperation cover?

    The THI promotes language skills and specifically supplements the qualifications of these future specialists with digital skills. An integral part of the program is a 20-week internship at PSW, to which we recently welcomed the first participants. The participants gain work experience and we benefit from new approaches and ideas.

    There is currently a lot of discussion about mobile working and working from home. How does PSW deal with this?

    We currently have a company agreement that regulates mobile working during the pandemic. In principle, it is working very well, but of course we need a long-term arrangement. Using the term “Workplace of the Future” we have set up a cross-departmental project where the essential elements for a modern, sustainable and future-oriented world of work at PSW are developed together with the works council.

    In Kooperation mit der Technischen Hochschule Ingolstadt möchte PSW motivierten geflüchteten Hochschulabsolventen den Einstieg in die Berufswelt zu ermöglichen.

    Mobile work is part of a modern working environment. It offers colleagues more flexibility and improves the work-life balance particularly for those with families.

    Jens Nuthmann Chairman of the PSW Works Council

    What are the most important topics here?

    We will likely have a hybrid world of work. Some employees will increasingly work on the move, while others will be on-site in the office. The right conditions are required for this. Another component will be modern office space concepts, which should enable very different working models and ways of work, depending on requirements. With the workplace of the future, we want to ensure a high level of attractive on-site and off-site work that sets us apart from the competition.

    The automotive industry is primarily concerned with the transformation regarding new skills and technologies. How does PSW enable its employees to move towards the mobility of the future?

    Technological and structural change are certainly among the greatest challenges in the area of HR. We have already realised successful training formats in the past, for example the THI “Automotive Software” fast-track course. We are currently working on bespoke and often also individual qualification formats. It is essential that we support our employees in these career changes by showing them what development paths exist while giving them the right tools to succeed.

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