Know-how protection – a blessing and a curse at the same time?

Expert: Dipl.- Ing. Volker Schreiner

Many companies, whether SME or corporate, strive to develop and market unique selling propositions. They often go to great lengths to maintain their own R&D departments, in which products and processes are optimised and thus competitive advantages are developed.

Excessive know-how protection can lead to a lack of information exchange..

Executives contractually commit to confidentiality and accept competition clauses in their contracts that are intended to prevent them from switching to competitor companies in a timely manner. Salaried employees and production workers partly work in screened-off areas, an exchange of information and knowledge among each other is often not possible. Participation in working groups, in which employees from different companies discuss topics and exchange experiences, is rarely or not at all used. Suppliers and customers undergo extensive checks before they can enter and leave the factory premises.

Why can shielding the company cause problems?

As a result, the plant increasingly shields itself from the rest of the companies and forms an enclave in which all processes are worked out and assessed internally, without supposedly interesting findings and developments from outside being able to be taken into account. This is exactly what I experienced at a German company that manufactures high-quality medical technology products with its more than 4,000 employees in Germany. Complex manufacturing processes were analysed and optimised by highly qualified employees, test procedures were developed and integrated into the production. The assignment of an interim manager from F&P Executive Solutions AG brought the realisation that the cooling lubricants used for years were completely unsuitable for the materials to be processed. The rapid use of alternative media led to a doubling of the tool life, the surface quality of the produced parts was significantly improved and the fluctuation of the mechanical values could also be minimised by using a new lubricant. Not to be neglected was the permanent reduction of tool costs by more than 1 million €. The question must be allowed, to what extent the isolation of a company to secure know-how is justified and whether the own employees can therefore not sufficiently use important contacts, as well as external events. The firm of F&P Executive Solutions AG with its experts offers a comprehensive portfolio to support SMEs and corporations in the implementation of projects, bridging vacancies and restructuring. The diverse expertise of our interim managers enables targeted consulting and sustainable improvements in previously critical areas.

Looking “outside the box” is just as important to us as the satisfaction of the customers about the fast and professional solution of the tasks.

Dipl.- Ing. Volker Schreiner

Senior Partner

+49 151 40083392
Go to Top