From rural Nebraska to management board production strategist
Anja Bürkle worked for Porsche Consulting for five years, and got to know a good number of industrial companies. Her consulting specialty was production. Today she works for the Porsche sports car maker in Zuffenhausen – as a production expert in career training.
Anja Bürkle enjoys striking up conversations. That was a helpful skill in the constantly changing environments of a business consultant. She had to assert herself in male-dominated industries as a woman, and work together with managers and experienced production foremen. “Some started off with folded arms and a skeptical look in their eyes. But if you listen carefully, meet people eye-to-eye, and respect what they do, you can accomplish a lot.”
A native of the German city of Esslingen with a degree in business administration, Bürkle did most of her projects with Porsche Consulting abroad – including Poland, Italy, and India. “One of my personal highlights was with a commercial vehicle maker in Grand Island, a town surrounded by cornfields in the state of Nebraska. It was an interesting experience because the employees in this rural area had their own very individual views and brought a great amount of motivation to our workshops,” she recalls. She worked together with them to optimize logistics and assembly processes at the harvester plant. After work she would occasionally go country dancing with the guys from production at the only such place in town. “That brings people closer,” she notes.
After her time with Porsche Consulting, Bürkle began working as an assistant for the Porsche board member in charge of production. Her responsibilities included the strategy for an employee qualification project. Three and a half years later, in May of 2015, she transferred to Porsche’s career training department, where more than 500 young women and men are preparing for careers in automotive mechatronics, automotive painting, and industrial mechanics, or are doing dual-track theoretical and practical studies at a college and the company. In this new capacity, she is reorienting the training material toward new generations of vehicles and digitization (Industry 4.0), handling trans-departmental projects in conjunction with production, and coordinating the career training strategy. “Some of the people I used to work with in consulting are now at Porsche’s plants in Zuffenhausen or Leipzig. This network has been of enormous help to me in recent years,” says Bürkle, who is an enthusiastic Cayman driver.
She also maintains her ties to Porsche Consulting on a personal level. “My Cayman, my snowboard, and I do a lot of traveling in the mountains. And sometimes I take one of my former colleagues along.”