“Sharing Takes Courage”

The Old Switcheroo

The ‘sharing economy’ is in full bloom, and digital trading platforms are ubiquitous. Sharing instead of owning is the credo. That same principle applies for knowledge within companies: They must join forces to prepare themselves for the new competitive environment that is emerging

Dr. Fübi, how do you envision the sharing economy?

I think that shared resource consumption lies at the heart of it. TÜV Rheinland really values that concept. After all, we need to handle our limited resources sustainably if we want to provide the growing global population with access to them. The idea of sharing isn’t an entirely new one. For example, carsharing agencies already existed back when I was in college. But digital networking has made ‘sharing culture’ as we know it truly possible. By the way, I’m specifically talking about initiatives that focus on sharing – a lot of platforms were established with that in mind, and not with the goal of making money.

What are the consequences of the sharing economy?

Entire sectors are competing against platforms with barely any overhead. Airbnb and Uber are prominent examples – even though they don’t own their own hotels or taxis, they are serious competition for established companies. That being said, commercial offerings within the sharing economy are subjected to the same requirements that all customers generally have: The quality of the goods and services needs to be up to par. Otherwise, trust in the brand will evaporate. TÜV Rheinland helps with quality assurance. That’s why platforms represent an interesting customer group for us.

TÜV Rheinland is active in various areas when it comes to ‘sharing.’ The company helps start-ups enter the market, for instance.

That’s correct. As far as that goes, the more we share, the more we receive. Start-up companies benefit from our experience and expertise, while we benefit from their new ideas. Innovation and digitalization are essential components of our corporate strategy. That’s why we put a lot of stock in promoting innovative business ideas and digital business models.

Does that mean TÜV Rheinland is part of the sharing culture?

We know that we need to share our knowledge with others – and not just within the company, either. These days, some topics are so complex that you can only tackle them if you join forces. That’s what some automotive manufacturers are already doing, such as in the field of electromobility. Some challenges can’t be faced by any one manufacturer alone. Virtually every industry is now battling unfamiliar, disruptive concepts. Sharing takes courage and requires a corresponding corporate culture. And that’s the path we’re taking.

Could you please be more specific?

Gladly. When we were founded over 140 years ago, TÜV was one of the first companies in the shared economy. Our experts came from various companies to apply their shared knowledge to the benefit of the entire industry. The goal was crystal clear: To ensure resource efficiency on all counts. Nowadays, we supply experts and expertise that are urgently needed, but which not all companies can keep at the ready internally.

Picture credit: TÜV Rheinland/Katrin Denkewitz