According to Claudia Thiemer, who has been with the company since 1987 and is now responsible for Finance and Controlling, “Working for Deutsche Werkstätten has been like riding a roller coaster for decades, never a dull moment! It is a continuous learning process.” Her biggest challenge is the costing and evaluation of totally unique products or manufacturing processes. Always dealing with exceptions and never being able to employ a regular business model, it is almost impossible to apply standard indicators and systems of financial control. Claudia Thiemer is constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency and enhance work processes considering, for example, how the introduction of an ‘intelligent’ system can best support the workforce, giving them the time they need to think.
Continuous learning and professional self-development require a great deal of courage and self-confidence. When Claudia Thiemer came back to work in 2006 after a period of maternity leave, business relations with Russia were just taking off. Fritz Straub, who had recognized the need to appoint a new financial director for the Russian operation, presented her with a difficult choice; either go back to studying and take on the job herself, or the company would have to recruit new expertise elsewhere. Claudia Thiemer declined. This was more than she had bargained for. However, new financial directors came and went, and in the end, it was she who took on the Russian operation.
For this and many other responsibilities that came her way, it was her experience ‘on the job’ that paid off, rather than the appropriate qualification on paper. “Every time I went to Moscow, I came back with a better understanding of their accounting system, quite a challenge . . .”
Now, as financial director, Claudia Thiemer points knowingly to the yachting industry as being the driving force behind the constant development of the company and the key to its success. “If I think back to our first yacht fitout and compare it to what we are doing now, then words fail me! The originality and creativity of proposals from the clients and their designers are the motor behind our constant innovation. We are literally propelled by the challenging demands of a project, much of which has never been done before.”
"If I think back to our first yacht fitout and compare it to what we are doing now, then words fail me!"