Forecasts: the economic downturn also reaches the Kronach district?

Wintertime is forecast time. And with a view to 2019, the german economy is virtually flooded with them. The wahrungsfonds lowered its growth forecast from 1.9 to 1.3 percent, experts see a significant deterioration in economic sentiment, and even the federal government expects a growth dip. How does the local industry deal with such predictions??

IHK: region must present itself better

"As I heard from the companies, there are already the first warning signs as far as expectations for business development in 2019 are concerned", notes hans rebhan. The vice-president of the chamber of commerce has a look behind the scenes that several companies have not yet been able or willing to provide in response to our request for estimates and concrete consequences of the current forecasts. Some companies pointed to the absence of the responsible contact person, some to the need for further analysis in their own ranks.

"There are companies that are already doing short-time work", rebhan explains that global developments, as the cornerstone of the forecasts, have already had an impact on operational reality in the frankenwald much earlier. However, the vice chairman of the chamber of industry and commerce does not join in the chorus of doomsayers that is currently trumpeted in all the media. The market situation is "indifferent", says rebhan. In other words, while some companies are already putting on the brakes, others are still reporting good order books.

Kronach economy wants to grow further

As unwritten law one may not classify the number plays of the experts surely, however one should not strip them off also as grey theory. Rebhan says: "the result is not dramatic, but it should make you sit up and take notice. A negative trend is emerging." If a sector that is particularly important for the local region, such as the automotive industry, is affected by setbacks, then an entire value chain is affected.

Rebhan is relatively relaxed about the "political poker game" around the brexit. He believes that the necessary steps will be taken in good time and that the logistics companies and service providers in the ports will also be prepared accordingly so that the entire economy does not run into the wall on D-day.

What rebhan sees as problematic, however, is the uncertainty that is currently running rampant among the population. Here, too, he talks about the neuralgic automotive sector, which has a direct impact on the many suppliers in the domestic region. When it comes to the future of mobility, rebhan sees people in germany in a bind, which ultimately slows down the economy. Who will be right in the end among the experts and politicians when it comes to diesel, gasoline and e-mobility?? "Many are waiting to see where the journey will take them – and as a result the market is stagnating", rebhan's assessment is.

Fat years over?

From another vantage point, company chaplain eckhard schneider follows the developments in the companies. For him, the focus is on the viewpoint of the workforce. However, his impressions coincide in many respects with those of the IHK vice president. On the one hand, he recognizes positive aspects in domestic operations. He speaks of superiors who today often present themselves more openly than in the past. "The working atmosphere in general has improved with regard to the management style", he explains that there has been a noticeable learning curve in the executive suites.

Especially in a time of bad forecasts this is important. Schneider says: "the people are better taken along than before. One also tries to take out the fear." Justifiably. He is currently noticing a change in thinking among many employees. "The last concern was about the workplace, now it's all about the workplace again." The human aspect of working life must therefore not be swallowed up by discussions about wage levels and returns.

Questioning the system

In the area of permanent staff, the company chaplain does not yet see any signs of an impending wave of layoffs due to the economic outlook. But he suspects that the smallest ones have had to deal with a slowdown in economic growth. "Temporary workers, loan workers and factory contractors, they are the first to fall out", schneider fears that if the forecasts become reality. And after 30 good years, slumps are now to be expected again and again, he says.

Not only that makes him think about the sense and nonsense of growth pressures in society. "Can we afford permanent growth with a view to the children, the grandchildren and creation in general?? Ultimately, it's a systemic question that has to be asked – everyone has to check their own behavior."

Eight challenges

"It's not just this year, several aspects are coming together", says eckhard schneider, citing challenges for companies in the region:

1. Uncertainty about brexit

2. Trade war (USA/china)

3. Energy policy

4. Diesel scandal

5. Different purchasing behavior

6. Companies in permanent crisis

7. Mismanagement

8. Work 4.0 strikes unexpectedly fast

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