MHP Management und IT-Beratung GmbH is one of Germany’s leading consulting companies and a subsidiary of Porsche AG. The special consulting approach of MHP consists of an intelligent symbiosis of management and IT consulting. As a digitization expert with core competencies in management consulting, system integration, managed services, and digital services and solutions, MHP optimizes and digitizes customers’ processes across the entire value chain. 

With over 4,500 employees and twenty locations worldwide, the company currently provides strategic and operational support to 300 well-known companies with a national and international focus. MHP can look back on a long history and has been growing consistently and sustainably for more than 27 years since it was founded in 1996. Today, as a subsidiary of Porsche, it is generating sales of more than 700 million euros (in 2022). 

Interview with Michael Appel, Partner & Head of Industrial Cloud Solutions (ICS) at MHP.

Easy Engineering: What are the company’s main areas of activity?

Michael Appel: MHP focuses on the mobility, manufacturing, transportation and logistics sectors. As a digitization expert, we actively support successful digital transformation in these industries. For example, MHP supports companies in the automotive industry. In this way, we are making an important contribution to the further development and transformation to software-defined vehicles that provide drivers with significantly greater safety and driving comfort and the best digital solutions.

In addition to consulting, MHP has launched an SaaS offering: ICS – Industrial Cloud Solutions. The idea here is to offer other customers innovative software solutions for production and logistics, like SaaS, that have been tried and tested at Porsche and in the Volkswagen Group. In other words, we as MHP want to transfer innovation from automotive factories to other companies, such as medium-sized companies.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

M.A: The current focus is on software solutions in the areas of production and logistics. That is because of the automotive industry is facing numerous challenges in the domains of production and logistics due to technology, changing customer behaviour and stricter regulations. Three major challenges are: Adapting to the growing demand for electric vehicles and alternative powertrains, which require the transformation of production processes, supply chains and infrastructure. Second, digitizing and connecting vehicles, factories and logistics systems, which offer new opportunities for efficiency, quality and innovation, but also require high levels of investment, data protection and cybersecurity. And then coming to dealing with the consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic, which has led to a massive drop in demand, supply chain disruptions and increased costs. The industry needs to adapt flexibly to changing market conditions while ensuring the health and safety of employees.

MHP is addressing these challenges with various solutions. For example, together with Volkswagen and Porsche, we developed ready-to-use AI solutions that enable companies to make production processes more sustainable and efficient, based on data. These cloud-based SaaS solutions (software-as-a-service solutions) are “OEM”-proven and have an immediate effect. These services are bundled under the “Industrial Cloud Solutions” (ICS) Ressort.

This means that these digital SaaS products – in addition to the existing services – complement the MHP service portfolio. Currently, eleven teams with a total of over 80 product experts are working in parallel on the creation of these software products. 

E.E: What are the product ranges?

M.A: When talking about software products: the current product portfolio covers many areas of production – from production planning, shopfloor connectivity and management to quality management. 

With these solutions, MHP brings established and proven innovations from automotive engineering to other industries – as a service.

Michael Appel, Partner & Head of Industrial Cloud Solutions (ICS) at MHP.

To name a few concrete examples: Fleet Executer is a vendor-independent AGV fleet manager to operate multiple AGVs on your shopfloor. And we also have ‘integrate_it’. That is a shopfloor connectivity suite which enables production experts to access, use and transform their shopfloor data easily via Browser UI and low code workflows. Or we have a product called ‘Sounce’. This is an automated AI based acoustic quality detection.

E.E: At what stage is the market where MHP is currently active?

M.A: In 2022, MHP generated overall sales of more than 700 million euros. Sales of software products currently still account for a small part of this. MHP is now well established on the market – and has earned a good reputation. The Mobility and Manufacturing business units currently account for a large share of its sales. By 2025, the company is aiming for sales of one billion euros – and is confident that it will succeed. The SaaS portfolio is expected to make an important contribution to this.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

M.A: In Germany and the European Union, three major issues are currently particularly virulent: the consequences of climate change, advances in artificial intelligence, and the shortage of skilled workers. Since the launch of ChatGTP at the latest, more and more companies are considering how they can use AI to their advantage. Usually, there are two components to this topic: On the one hand, AI can leverage efficiency reserves and increase employee productivity. On the other hand, the topic often triggers fears among employees. However, there is  a connection with the issue of skilled worker shortages: Given the problem many companies have in finding suitable personnel, AI can be an important key to freeing employees from simple, mostly boring tasks. Employees can then focus on more interesting and complex tasks. Often, AI is about directly solving – or at least alleviating – two problems.

As part of the Green Deal, the European Union is striving to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in the near future. This goes hand in hand with a whole range of measures – the switch to renewable energies, the electrification of vehicle fleets, better insulation of buildings and so on. In this context, companies are also required to operate in an energy-efficient manner and to avoid waste. The topic of green logistics, for example, is therefore becoming increasingly important. Concrete concepts are needed to secure procurement routes and at the same time reduce the carbon footprint.

E.E: What are the most innovative products you have marketed?

M.A: Overall, the innovation within the ICS Product portfolio is not only of technological or entrepreneurial character. It is rather the combination of modern technologies, such as cloud or AI, as well as the clear customer centricity in the development of solutions that makes initiative unique. The solutions are developed and tested directly in line with the needs and pain points of the manufacturing industry and later produced for the open market. So, rapid deployment, rapid implementation and rapid impact on processes and efficiencies are what make these solutions convincing. 

E.E: What are your expectations for 2023?

M.A: Despite the difficult economic environment, MHP expects to continue to grow as a company and expand its sales. This is also due to the fact that the company is an expert in topics that are important for the future. In any case, MHP will continue to be a good employer for its current and future employees.