Pressure being felt…
The administrators of the bankruptcy are probably getting aware of the pressure Victor Muller and the others in the Saab Management Team were under. First thing that needs to be said is that nobody in a very long time anywhere in the world have handled a bankruptcy of this size, budgets and procedures are created on past experience, well in this case there is none or very little past experience to base figures and estimations on. With estimations in this case I’m referring to the work-load the people administrating the bankruptcy had to take on.
Just dealing with thousands of people’s money in terms of the government paid fund is a huge task and right now the administrators are getting under a lot of pressure to answer questions that have remained unanswered for several days. When will the december payment be made and how much money do the employees really have a right to? These are extremely important questions since the employees themselves right now base their whole economy on the money provided by the state system. At a certain point when those aprox 170’000 SEK have been used up the employees will have to refer to their individual un-employment funds provided by the Unions in the Swedish system. But application for that money has to come in at a very exact point which is why it is imperative for the unions to get their questions answered by the administrators.
The administrator have so far just stated that they don’t have time right now and told the unions that they will get back to them on that issue, well the unions do not have the patience to wait which is why they have escalated the issue within the government. And the unions are perfectly within their rights, peoples well-being and livelihood is at stake which is no small matter.
It looks to me as if the law-firms needs to step up their measures and increase the group working with the bankruptcy issue if they are going to handle it smoothly, so far it looks like they are more or less trying to catch up with events as they unfold rather than controlling them. Small issues are being overlooks such as the rights to information regarding the payment details of each employee. Yesterday a lot of department-managers at Saab had to spend the better part of the day collecting bank account details of all the employees since there is currently nobody working at Saabs normal HR department and the law-firm did not have the rights to the information in it, all of it had to be collected again. A big administrative blunder which could have been avoided by keeping the HR department in working order until all the payments were in place or at least a system could have been developed to do so…
This leeds me back to thinking about how administrative tasks were handled by the allies after the end of WW2 in Europe. Most german installations were kept in place run by the german staff in order to keep society working, the administrators could have used this as an example and kept vital systems at Saab running in order to keep things running smoothly by the people who knew how to do the job. It might have been a more expensive choice but at least things work in a proper manner.
The issue regarding warranty in Sweden was also something that was caught by surprise by a lot of dealerships, this too was a thing that the law firm had to deal with quickly and so far the issue has not been resolved. Some reports suggests that it was the administrators themselves who stopped the payments of warranties from Saab Parts and canceled the deal made with the dealerships in order to make Saab look more attractive financially. If Saab Parts were to have taken over those costs the finances of the company would not look as good.
Another matter brought up is that parts have become more expensive. Small reports have started to come in that the net-price of parts have gone up, of course this could be argued in being just a pure market driven reaction. The low orders means higher production costs plus the fact that some parts were subsidized by Saab Automobile. The reality of the situation should become clear to us soon though as the dealership-organization in Sweden have prompted for legal action against Saab Parts.
In any case I can fully understand that the law-firm has their hands full, so many factors involved and so many parties that want answers right away and the only thing the administrators can do is to deal with them one at a time but its getting clear that they might need to increase their efforts in order to maintain confidence in their abilities to control the situation.
During the last year we were fortunate to get a lot of information about the process directly from Saab, it was reported through many channels in the media. This was a very unique situation for a company to be in and at the same time a very unique way for a company to communicate. Most companies would simply have said “no comment” and turned their backs on the reporters, Saab did not. Right now though we are “back to normal” and the information coming from the law-firms is minimum at best.