Business relations in Russia are largely based on personal contacts, which must be established and maintained. Deutsche Werkstätten have been following this principle since 2008, when the former managing director, Daniel Neumann, together with another colleague seconded from Hellerau, began to set up the Moscow office and their own production centre. Since then, numerous projects have been realized and the office and production facilities have been relocated to a larger site. Over the years DWI has built up an excellent reputation and knowledge of the Russian market.
Benjamin Pettermann joined the Russian operation in 2018 as a project manager and was responsible for supervising construction sites and their processes as well as managing offers for new work and invoicing. In 2021, he took over the position of Managing Director when Daniel Neumann moved back to his home country after 15 years in Russia. Since then, Benjamin Pettermann has also been responsible for the acquisition of new projects.
'Business in Russia is very personal. The contract is one thing, but the personal relationship should never be underestimated. A man’s word can count more than a piece of paper. I like that,' says Pettermann. Which is why he understands that for his Russian partners, carefully written minutes of a meeting may not enjoy the same status as in Germany. Nevertheless, there is great respect and appreciation for the diligence and correctness of Deutsche Werkstätten.
Benjamin Pettermann has become familiar with Russian expectations and having to be available all the time: 'When a project gets the go ahead, cost calculations should be made available without delay and everything in place for construction work to begin immediately.'Reconciling Russian tempo and German precision remains a constant balancing act for DWI. Since February 2022, the perspective on this has changed.
The Russia-Ukraine war has shaken the company and its employees, and, of course, also affects business. At the moment, work on the projects can still proceed as planned. It is our aim to continue zu process the orders as best we can in future.