International Case Study of SMW: Senior Project Manager of Austrian Automotive

The client, a large automotive supplier, needed help with their Austrian subsidiary. The plant had a new product (motor engine module) that was in production for 6 months. Due to the complexity of this new module and the production requirements, at the plant the production ramp-up was difficult. The financial targets and the production goals were clearly missed.


As a consequence, the supply and the quality expectation of customers were not met. Due to a stepwise escalation the Management Attention reached customerwise to the highest management level because of the size of that key project and the long lasting contract of 5 years.

The client did not have internal resources to solve these issues. The contracting partner for P+P was the Austrian subsidiary in consultation with the German HQ.

The specific challenge was to make the complex production processes transparent. Implement required improvements together and with involvement of several departments in the production facility and HQ departments. Several failures of the production and process development phases had to be caught up and meanwhile the customer needs had to be satisfied.

Specific Requirements for the Interim Manager

  • Experience in project management in the automotive sector and crisis management of production
  • processes
  • A broad subject expertise of various industrial processes (logistics, quality management, quality
  • control, procurement, supplier management)
  • Knowledge of cost accounting and controlling
  • Leadership Skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Graduate of a Technical University for Engineering
  • Several industrial Management positions and experience in similar project as Interim Manager
  • Project Lead in difficult and critical key projects and experience in ramp-up of production plants

Interim Solution 

P+P Interim Management, presented 3 quality candidates to the client within 48 hours. A candidate out of the P+P PREMIUM POOL® who met all necessary criteria was selected and started the assignment within a week.

The role of the Interim Manager in this particular project was Senior Project Manager. While most of the work took place in Austria, there were several meetings with sub-suppliers, group entities in Germany and customers in Europe and Asia.


  • Conducted project and production audits to identify optimization opportunities for both the short
  • and longer term
  • Revised KPIs and implemented new indicators according to Lean Management methods with
  • transparent tracking of improvements
  • Implementation of new methods and tools for long-term cost-cutting programs
  • Management improvement of supplier-customer communication in order to ease up the tension
  • between the parties
  • Organizing and control training workshops
  • Coordination with other international group entities
  • Implementation of methods and tools for middle and long term cost cutting programs
  • Continuous communication with the upper management level and other group entities
  • Achievement of required output and financial targets


The focus on improving quality started with solving existing supply situations. This allowed the product quality to rise and stopped the escalation problems with customers. Before long, several budget targets and production goals were met and some surpassed. Following this, a long-term program for meeting the cost objectives was implemented.

At the project completion, the Interim Manager created a program ensuring long-term improvement concerning quality issues together with the client. All IM responsibilities were returned to the core staff and the task force remains active.Some of the new methods, tools and processes developed for this plants improvement became new group-wide standards.

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