Lessons from Germany’s Mittelstand By Reuters

© Reuters. Bertram Kandziora, CEO of German engineering company Stihl, poses for a picture following an interview with Reuters in Waiblingen


By Paul Carrel and Tom Sims

BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – In Germany’s industrial heartland, engineering firms have come up with a recipe for surviving the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep spending on research and development even if sales drop, build a financial buffer so you can craft a long-term business plan, be flexible with dealers to keep supply chains intact, have an innovative mindset and see crises as opportunities.

It’s certainly a strategy that is paying off for some of the small and mid-sized “Mittelstand” companies (SMEs) that together provide almost 60% of all jobs in Germany, according to Reuters interviews with six chief executives.

Commerzbank (DE:), the biggest lender to Mittelstand firms, also told Reuters that the number of companies going into “intensive care” was lower than it had

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