It’s a strange feeling, to celebrate entering a process that most companies would prefer to avoid. However, it gives you an idea as to how beaten down Saab has been in the public’s mind (and in our own, to some extent) when I tell you that there were, indeed, some small celebrations here today after the court in Gothenburg approved our appeal and granted us ‘reorganisation’ status.
For us as a company, it means that actions against us by unions and creditors are on hold (or withdrawn) whilst we reorganise our operations. It means that we have a stable climate in which we can get our house in order, organise our operations and plan for a re-start of production in an orderly manner without having to fend off arrows from so many different directions.
For our staff, who have done it tough in the last month but have still turned up for work and done whatever they could to keep things going, it means some welcome financial relief.
For our other stakeholders, who have supported us so much in some pretty dark times, I hope that it’s the light at the end of the tunnel getting a little bit brighter. We have a road map for where we’re going and today’s decision will be of great assistance in getting there.
For me personally, and I think for many others as well, there is the realisation that whilst this decision is a positive outcome (it beats the hell out of the alternative), it also means that the real work for Saab begins now (again). This decision gives us some space and some calmer waters in which to operate, but there’s still a hell of a lot of work to be done in order to bring this company around.
We have to negotiate with, and then pay, our suppliers. We have to get production up and running so that we can supply our distributors. We have to reorganise the company so that it’s more efficient and effective. We have to communicate our message effectively whilst giving the papers nothing to write about.
All of that’s going to require a lot of work, but I know that our people are up to the task. Today there was a brief moment where we could feel some relief, but the processes that will underpin our internal reorganisation are already in motion and this is where the real work begins.
I was chatting with a colleague this morning, and he likened this whole drama to a never-ending movie, with all its ups and downs, underdogs, villains and near-death experiences. We both agreed that it would be nice to write the final scene now, one where the main characters go off into the sunset to lead a normal, outwardly boring existence doing whatever it is that they do.
We design and build great Swedish cars. It’d be so wonderful to get back to doing just that.
If you haven’t done so yet, I’d recommend that you read In Saab’s Corner – a series of posts I did a few weeks ago outlining the many things this company has got going for it. We have a lot to share with the world and we can’t wait to do it.