You both came to MEISER from other companies. What do you think is so special about this company?Robert Vièl: MEISER is not a group of companies but an owner-managed company and thus offers all the benefits associated with this.Wolfgang Schell: The structures here are different. The company’s rapid growth has not led to new hierarchies being created, they were simply not necessary.
What does that mean for the leadership style and the approach to individual responsibility?Robert Vièl: There is a specific MEISER corporate culture. A characteristic feature of this is that the owner’s family is actively involved in the daily operations and thus continues to shape the company day after day. Due to their different personalities, each of the three Mr Meisers also leaves his individual mark on the company.Wolfgang Schell: That is exactly what is special about MEISER. The company reflects the example set by Edmund Meiser and his sons.
What have been your most important milestones at MEISER?Robert Vièl: My career at MEISER, which now spans 17 years, has developed in a way I never really expected. I have been lucky enough to play an active part in the globalisation process over the last few years. It was not really meant to be part of my job when I first started here, but so many opportunities arose in this field which I simply had to grasp.Wolfgang Schell: New perspectives open up every single day. If I am talking to a job applicant, giving a presentation of the company, a great deal will often have happened before that person actually starts work here. In my everyday working life, there are constantly new approaches, new product ideas, technical improvements and much more. Many things even come straight from the workforce. We try lots of things; we’re straightforward and implement things quickly.
What matters is MEISER currently investigating? Wolfgang Schell: One of them is the challenge of transforming the original craftwork company into a major industrial enterprise with multiple sites. MEISER is now a global player. In other words, we not only have to develop the company, but must also help our employees to evolve.Robert Vièl: Together with the owners, we are striving for MEISER’s continuous growth. Just one example – 15 years ago, a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran would not have affected us. Today that would be significant for our major business in this region.
Are there any markets in which you do not yet have a strong presence, such as the USA, which you want to target in the future?Wolfgang Schell: The company has taken the decision to continue with its globalisation. This includes the massive market of the North American continent, in particular the USA, Canada and Mexico. Robert Vièl: Africa is a continent which will soon have a population of 2 billion and despite all its problems is still an interesting market. MEISER has practically no presence south of the Sahara. That has got to be both interesting and a challenge to us.
Where will MEISER be in 10 years time?Robert Vièl: I can see us in North America and Africa. But probably not in Asia. It will be more and more necessary to actually produce there. We need production plants locally which meet our standards. As far as Europe is concerned, we will always manufacture products at our two German sites which are still the best sites despite costs.Wolfgang Schell: Over the last 10 years, we have added one or two international sites each year. If we take that as a standard, we will certainly have 20 more countries on the map. We will also have to diversify a great deal more and rely less on individual product divisions. But we will always be a company which works with steel. In other words, it will be our main objective to find new products made of galvanised steel.
And what will be the challenges for that?Wolfgang Schell: One of the challenges will be to find specialist and executive staff for this work in the future.Robert Vièl: We must promote people who are ready to take up positions in other countries as well. The readiness to do this is gradually reducing. It is difficult to find somebody who wants to work in Dubai for a few years and give up a part of his/her private life for this period.