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Claus Michael Sattler

Telephone: 0049 (174) 6031377
Email: cmsattler@cmsattler.de

Interim managers are gaining importance in the SME sector

Temporary managers are becoming increasingly attractive for many medium-sized companies. What services they offer and what costs they incur.

Berlin / Munich / Frankfurt / Weyhe. When the phone rings at interim manager agencies, things often have to happen quickly. The managing directors of established interim management specialists can certainly remember a moment or two when bosses of medium-sized companies urgently needed help.

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A server crash had paralyzed the company. An experienced IT manager, such as Claus Michael Sattler, must be available within 24 hours to start work immediately and solve the problem together with the management.

At the same time, another company lost around 30 IT specialists during a partial sale. The mechanical engineering company feared for the sales price if projects came to a standstill. The interim manager agency set up a task force to fill the vacancies quickly.

At the beginning of the 2000s, the interim manager business began to gain a foothold in Germany. At that time, interim management was still rare in the German SME sector. “Companies only resorted to interim managers in extreme emergencies, and the image was poor,” Sattler recalls. That has changed.

According to a survey by the umbrella organization Deutsches Interim Management (DDIM), around 20% of companies today regularly rely on external expertise, and 47% expect this to become the norm in the future.

Prejudice: "Fast, but expensive!"

Demand for interim managers is likely to continue to rise, particularly in the SME sector. Challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic, supply bottlenecks, the war in Ukraine and digitalization often require external support. Interim management service providers such as those with which Sattler is listed offer fast and competent help.

Scenes like this are not uncommon in the interim manager business for SMEs: A medium-sized company that worked without key performance indicators ended up with liquidity problems. An interim manager agency sent an interim manager to take over the liquidity planning and introduce a reporting system.

In contrast to strategy consultancies, interim management service providers also support their clients in implementing the concepts. “Our experts implement IT solutions, restructure subsidiaries or support turnarounds,” reports one of Sattler’s agencies.

Thanks to good networks, these service providers can react quickly. “If necessary, we will fill a vacancy within 24 hours,” is a common statement in the market. “It normally takes around four weeks from the first contact to the start of the assignment, but in urgent cases it can be quicker.”

Depending on the situation, the agency proposes several candidates to its clients. This is usually followed by two to three interviews. Comprehensive assessment centers are rare. “Customers rely on the broker’s expertise and references.”

However, rapid availability comes at a price. Interim managers cost about twice as much as a permanent manager. In return, the customer receives a quick solution to problems and remains flexible thanks to short notice periods. “The company also saves costs if, for example, financial statements are completed on time.” The duration of use varies from a few weeks to a year or more.

Tailor-made staffing as the key to success

In addition to speed, the right staffing is crucial for success. “Like an acting agency, we know our interim managers very well and check whether the job suits them with every assignment,” reports the managing director of an interim management agency. The candidates are usually listed with several agencies in order to be fully utilized. It can also happen that a candidate is presented to a client by several agencies at the same time, which is a sign of quality for the candidate.

The market is observing that younger managers are increasingly interested in interim assignments. “In the past, people often became self-employed out of necessity. Today, a professional group consciously chooses this work.”

While other sectors are complaining about a shortage of skilled workers, interim management jobs are attractive. “Our experts often take on several projects at the same time,” a broker for interim managers confirmed to Sattler.

Interim managers require a high level of methodological expertise, experience in managing staff, especially in transformation or crisis projects, and the ability to achieve turnarounds. Because when a company has IT problems, OT / Industry 4.0 challenges or data analytics tasks to overcome, it needs an expert who can act immediately, like Claus Michael Sattler.

About Claus Michael Sattler

Claus Michael Sattler is an interim manager, consultant, keynote speaker, book author and university lecturer for IT infrastructure management, OT / Industry 4.0 integration and data analytics. He is currently the Interim Chief Information Officer (Interim CIO) and a member of the management team of a medium-sized, internationally active pharmaceutical company, where he contributes his experience from over 45 years of data processing in various sectors, such as retail, the software industry, motor sports, the food industry, healthcare and, above all, the pharmaceutical industry.

Listed by the following agencies for the placement of interim managers and experts:

Contact Details

Formal / Legal

Claus Michael Sattler
(Master Craftsman / Business Economist)

P.O.-Box 1142
28833 Weyhe

Telephone: 0049 (174) 6031377
Email: cmsattler@cmsattler.de


Diploma in Economics and Sinology
Renate Sattler
HKUST-Kellogg-EMBA (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

In order to facilitate the flow of reading, we generally restrict ourselves to male designations in the course of the text. We expressly emphasize that all people – regardless of gender, nationality, ethnic and social origin, religion/belief, limitations, age and sexual orientation – are equally welcome here.

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