“There are a lot of benefits to doing product development regionally. But our colleagues in Germany are not open to that.”
Nothing is made in U.S. We buy internally from Asia or Europe. Why? The German fear of letting go. We had no other choice but to find a source in the U.S. Under the radar, of course.
How can we convince our German colleagues to let go a bit of control?”
Who likes to let go of control?
Sincerely, folks, I can fully understand the perspective of headquarters in any company operating globally. All those regions, far away, foreign cultures, unfamiliar markets, colleagues who you may or may not trust as competent, constantly coming up with all sorts of half-baked ideas about how “the company can make a lot of money.”
Especially when it comes to product development. Remember, the German economy is the fourth largest in the world with only about 80 million people. And the strength, the core, of the German economy is their science and technology, in the end their products.
And what is at the core of a product? It’s development: science, engineering, manufacturing. Who wants to give up, or even share, that core?
Now, if you are sourcing within the company from other regions, then your German colleagues will have to react at some point. Because if that sourcing goes well – technically just as good as what comes out of Germany, and less expensive, and more flexible to the needs of your customers – well then Germany will have to respond to that company-internal competition.
So, let’s get back to the key issue here, which is product. Americans and Germans have different product philosophies, meaning how they respectively define what makes for a good product.
Get clarity on those differences. Perhaps your German colleagues would be more open to letting go of some of their control if they better understood what you are proposing. See the topic – Product.