Sensor People @ Work

They are innovators, globetrotters, organizational talents and idealists. They love unusual projects, are willing to work hard and are committed to their ideas. Employees with different passions and abilities unite to form one of the most innovative companies in the industry.

In an interview with Leuze they talked about their projects, backgrounds and challenges. 

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

[Translate to English:] Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

[Translate to English:]

Sebastian Kopp ist schon viele Jahre bei Leuze tätig. Dank der Möglichkeit, sich stets weiterzubilden, weiterzuentwickeln, neue Aufgaben und Projekte anzugehen, mehr und mehr Verantwortung zu übernehmen, hat er es geschafft, sich vom Facharbeiter zum Director Production zu entwickeln.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, Sie sind seit über elf Jahren bei Leuze... das ist schon eine lange Zeit für Ihr noch jugendliches Alter...
 
Kopp: (lacht) Danke, für das Kompliment, aber so jugendlich bin ich auch nicht mehr. Aber ja, das stimmt – 2007 startete ich als Facharbeiter in der Fertigung bei Leuze und seitdem habe ich verschiedene Stationen und Hierarchiestufen in der Produktion durchlaufen.

Leuze: Um gleich als Facharbeiter zu starten, braucht man sicher eine fachspezifische Ausbildung...

Kopp: Ja, diese habe ich. Ich habe von 1997 bis 2001 eine Ausbildung zum Elektriker und anschließend bis 2008 eine Ausbildung zum Meister gemacht. Auf diese setzte ich ein berufsbegleitendes Studium auf - seit 2015 bin ich auch Betriebswirt und verbinde damit die technische und die kaufmännischen Seite.

Leuze: Wie sind Sie einst auf Leuze gekommen?
 
Kopp: Wenn ich ehrlich bin: Es war Zufall – ich blätterte samstags in der Zeitung und mir fiel die Stellenausschreibung von Leuze auf, obgleich ich eigentlich zum damaligen Zeitpunkt gar nicht auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung war.

Leuze: Und dann haben Sie sich trotzdem beworben...
 
Kopp: Ja – und wie man sieht: nicht bereut und bis heute hängen geblieben :-)

Leuze: Wenn Sie die Fertigung 2007 mit der heutigen vergleichen – ein großer Unterschied?
 
Kopp:  Ein gewaltiger Unterschied. Selbst vor zehn Jahren waren noch maximal 80 Mitarbeiter in der Produktion beschäftigt – heute sind fast 200. Schichtbetrieb gab es damals noch nicht.

Leuze: Da haben Sie in Ihrer heutigen Funktion als Director Production ganz schön viel bewegt... Wenn ich bedenke: heute haben wir 2-Schicht- und 3-Schicht-Betrieb und Zeitversatz in den B-Baureihen...
 
Kopp: Ja, ich hatte bei Leuze immer die Chance, mich weiterzuentwickeln, Neues hinzuzulernen, anzupacken und aktiv mit zu gestalten. Das ist sicher einer der Gründe, weshalb ich mich in all den Jahren nie nach neuen Herausforderungen außerhalb dieses Unternehmens gesehnt habe.

Leuze: Das klingt gut. Um Ihren Werdegang besser zu verstehen: Vielleicht springen wir nochmals zurück auf Ihren Einstieg als Facharbeiter– wie sah Ihre weitere Vita bei Leuze konkret aus?

Kopp: Irgendwie wurde ich schon kurz nach Einstieg Gruppensprecher und schon ein Jahr später offiziell Gruppenleiter der Fertigungsgruppe Barcodeleser und betreute ein Team von zirka 15 Mitarbeitern.

Leuze: Betreuen heißt: fachlich betreuen?
 
Kopp: Fachlich und disziplinarisch. Ich bekam mit nur 27 Jahren und als relativ neuer Mitarbeiter im Unternehmen bereits die Personalverantwortung für dieses Team.

Leuze: Und das trotz der allgemeinen Wirtschaftskrise 2009, die Sie ja miterlebt haben?
 
Kopp: Klar, diese Krise ging auch an uns nicht spurlos vorüber. Es kam zur Fusion des Teams, für das ich ja bereits verantwortlich war, mit weiteren Kolleginnen und Kollegen, für die ich dann ebenfalls die Verantwortung übernahm und so zum Teamleiter von insgesamt drei Gruppen wurde.

Leuze: Das war ein großer Sprung in keiner einfachen Zeit...
 
Kopp: Das stimmt. Aber ich traute mir diesen zu und man muss auch dazu sagen: Ich war niemals auf mich alleine gestellt. Ich profitierte sehr von der langjährigen Erfahrung meiner Doppelspitze, dem damaligen Fertigungsleiter, lernte viel hinzu und nahm Tipps gerne an.

Leuze: Als Teamleiter kamen ja auch sicher viele neue Themen und Aufgaben auf Sie zu?
 
Kopp: Ja, die von Ihnen angesprochene Einführung des 2- und 3-Schichtbetriebs waren beispielsweise große Themen, aber auch die Einführung von Lean Management, Shop Floor und die Übernahme des Facility Managements. Aber genau diese neuen Aufgaben haben mich immer gereizt, man schenkte mir das Vertrauen und die Möglichkeit, mich stets weiterzubilden und zu entwickeln - und das ist nicht selbstverständlich!

Leuze: Als Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter wurden: War das OK für Ihre langjährige Doppelspitze zusammen mit Ihrem Kollegen? Kein Konkurrenzkampf?
 
Kopp: Nein, kein Konkurrenzkampf - es gab ganz offene Gespräche, und auch hier bekam ich die volle Unterstützung und Rückendeckung und bin dankbar dafür.

Leuze: Seit wann sind Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter?
 
Kopp: Offiziell seit April 2017 – also noch gar nicht so lange.

Leuze: Wie viele Headcounts verantworten Sie seitdem?
 
Kopp: Lassen Sie mich rechnen... 3 Teamleiter, 9 Produktbetreuer und 2 Personen im Facility Management. Aber ich kann mich zu 100 Prozent auf meine Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter, meine Kolleginnen und Kollegen verlassen, vertraue ihnen und traue ihnen viel zu.

Leuze: Das klingt nach einem guten Miteinander.
 
Kopp: Das ist es auch. Wir alle gehen respektvoll miteinander um, ziehen an einem Strang. Und das ist auch sehr wichtig, um die vielen Herausforderungen in einem stark wachsenden Unternehmen meistern zu können – gemeinsam.

Leuze: Ein wachsendes Unternehmen braucht auch neue Fachkräfte... Wo rekrutieren Sie diese?
 
Kopp: Die meisten wohnen, wie ich selbst, ganz in der Nähe, kennen Leuze als solides, wachsendes Unternehmen. Keiner hat Lust auf lange Wege und Rush-Hour. Sie schätzen bei uns einen zuverlässigen Auftragseingang und Schichtbetrieb.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie haben keine Wechselschicht?
 
Kopp: Ich selbst normalerweise nicht. Natürlich gibt es Zeiten, in denen Zusatzschichten gefahren werden müssen, bei mir gleichermaßen wie bei meinem Team. Dies verlangt eine gewisse Flexibilität. Aber im Grunde genommen haben alle Mitarbeiter in der Fertigung feste, verlässliche Arbeitszeiten, was aber nicht bedeutet, dass die Schichten zementiert sind. Die Kollegen haben die Möglichkeit zur Weiterbildung, können Arbeitsinseln wechseln oder auch Schichten nach Rücksprache tauschen.

Leuze: Das hört sich nach Solidität und Flexibilität gleichermaßen an. 

Kopp: Das würde ich genauso unterstreichen. Mir ist wichtig, den Mitarbeitern eine Perspektive zu geben, so wie sie auch mir immer gegeben wurde. Ich fühle mich verantwortlich für meine inhaltlich zu lösenden Aufgaben, Projekte und neuen Herausforderungen, aber ebenso für das Wohl meiner Mitarbeiter.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, vielen Dank für das freundliche Gespräch.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

[Translate to English:] Katarina Zeko, Facharbeiterin im Lager

[Translate to English:]

Katarina Zeko arbeitet seit über 20 Jahren bei Leuze. Sie brennt für ihre Aufgabe wie am ersten Tag. Als Facharbeiterin im Lager hat sie über die Jahre die Lagerlogistik aktiv und mit viel Energie mitgestaltet, vorangetrieben und zu einem familären Zusammenhalt im Team beigetragen.

Leuze: Frau Zeko, Sie gehören zu einem der Urgesteine von Leuze, die dem Unternehmen schon viele Jahre die Treue halten...

Zeko: Ja, das kann man so sagen – seit 1996 arbeite ich im Lager für Leuze.

Leuze: Schon immer hier in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: Nein – ich habe viele Jahre in der Braike in Owen gearbeitet, zeitweise auch halbtags, als meine Kinder noch klein waren.

Leuze: Was hat Sie gerade zu Leuze geführt?

Zeko: Das ist eine lange Geschichte und ein Werdegang mit Umwegen...

Leuze: Ich bin gespannt – verraten Sie mir Ihren Weg?
 
Zeko: Gerne. Eigentlich bin ich studierte Juristin.

Leuze: Juristin?

Zeko: Ja, ich bin gebürtige Kroatin. Als ich 1993 nach Deutschland kam, war ich der deutschen Sprache nicht mächtig – einen Beruf als Juristin auszuüben war also undenkbar.

Leuze: Sie sprechen aber perfekt deutsch...

Zeko: Ja, mittlerweile. Damals musste ich mir die Sprache und auch ein neues Berufsbild erst hart erarbeiten.

Leuze: Das ist Ihnen gelungen – das heißt, Sie haben umgeschult?

Zeko: Ja, ich habe nochmals eine komplett neue Ausbildung über die IHK gemacht – die Ausbildung zur Kauffrau für Bürokommunikation, in der Abendschule. Tagsüber habe ich weiterhin gearbeitet.

Leuze: Respekt! Da haben Sie auch schon bei Leuze gearbeitet?
 
Zeko: Ja, ich wohnte in Kirchheim bzw. tue das heute noch. Mir war wichtig, dass mein Arbeitgeber in der Nähe meines Wohnorts ist. Das bot mir zeitlich die meiste Flexibilität – mit der Abendschule, der Familie, später den Kindern.

Leuze: Das kann ich gut verstehen. Und warum gerade Leuze? Mit Ihrer Ausbildung waren Sie ja nicht unbedingt an die Sensorbranche gebunden...

Zeko: Das nicht, aber mir war wichtig, zu einem großen Arbeitgeber zu gehen, einem wachsenden Unternehmen mit Zukunft.

Leuze: Klein ist Leuze nicht gerade, aber auch kein Konzern...
 
Zeko: Nein, aber ein solides Unternehmen – und ein international tätiges Unterehmen dazu. Das war mir wichtig. Ein Konzern wäre für mich auch niemals in Frage gekommen...

Leuze: Was finden Sie bei Leuze, was Sie in einem Konzern nicht glauben für sich zu finden?

Zeko: Ich bin Südländerin – da zählt die Familie und der familiäre Zusammenhalt sehr viel. Und diesen finde ich auch hier bei Leuze.

Leuze: Trotz dessen, dass Leuze ja doch sehr stark gewachsen ist die letzen Jahre?
 
Zeko: Ja, in jedem Fall. Ich finde es beispielsweise schön, den Firmenmitgründer Christof Leuze und seine Familie persönlich zu kennen, zu erleben und zu wissen, für wen ich arbeite. Und umgekehrt kennt auch er die langjährigen Mitarbeiter noch alle beim Namen und besucht uns heute noch regelmäßig. Neulich hat er uns erst hier im Lager mit seinen Enkeln besucht und aus dem Nähkästchen geplaudert.

Leuze: Das ist ja nett... und wie steht es um den Zusammenhalt zwischen den Kollegen?

Zeko: Das ist ein guter Punkt – auch das meine ich mit familiärem Charakter. Wir sind hier im Lager wie eine große Familie, wir interessieren uns für einander, halten zusammen.

Leuze: Wie äußert sich dieser Zusammenhalt?

Zeko: Wir helfen uns gegenseitig, krempeln zusammen die Ärmel hoch, inklusive unserem Chef. Wir sind ein echtes Team. So ist auch die Bereitschaft zur flexiblen Arbeit in wachsenden Zeiten da. Und zur Belohnung gibt es ab und zu einen Kuchen von mir...

Leuze: Das ist ja schön – ich komme auch mal zum Kuchen testen vorbei :-) Aber Spaß beiseite: Sie selbst haben einen enormen persönlichen Beitrag dazu geleistet, dass das 6500 qm große Lager in Unterlenningen heute so aufgebaut ist wie es ist...
 
Zeko: Ja, schon. Ich habe beim Aufbau des Lagers hier viele Stunden verbracht, mir bedeutet dieses Lager sehr viel. Ich möchte, dass alle funktioniert und gut läuft und dass letztendlich unsere Kunden rechtzeitig ihre bestellten Produkte erhalten.

Leuze: Sie sind sehr engagiert…

Zeko: Das sind wir alle, aber ja, ich bin eine Macherin, im Privaten wie im Beruflichen. Alles andere wäre wider meinem Naturell. (lacht).

Leuze: Das spürt man – Sie sind mit Leib und Seele ein Sensor People :-)

Zeko: Ich möchte meine Erfahrung miteinbringen und weitergeben an die jüngeren Kollegen. Schließlich habe ich über viele Jahre hinweg die Lagerlogistik aktiv mitgestaltet und aufgebaut: Canban, Hotline, usw. ...

Leuze: Vielen Dank für das sympatische Interview, Frau Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

[Translate to English:] Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logstics

[Translate to English:]

Ibrahim Zuva hat eine Bilderbuchkarriere bei Leuze gemacht: Binnen 10 Jahren von der Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik zum Director Logistics mit der spannenden Aufgabe, ein neues, großes AKL für Leuze am Standort Owen aufzubauen.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, Sie sind noch keine 40 Jahre alt und schon Director Logistics...

Zuva: Ja, so gesehen kann ich mit U40 schon auf eine gute Karriere bei Leuze zurückblicken...

Leuze: Die wie begann?

Zuva: Die Verbundenheit zu Leuze hat sehr früh angefangen: Ich erinnere mich noch heute, wie ich früher als Kind zusammen mit meinem Vater meine Mutter und meine Oma häufiger von der Arbeit bei Leuze Textil abholte... und wie mein Vater mir aus dem Snackautomaten, den es damals schon gab, hin oder wieder einen Schokoriegel rausließ...

Leuze: So lange sind Sie schon mit dem Unternehmen verbunden?

Zuva: Ja, die halbe Familie arbeitete hier – meine Tante tut es heute noch.

Leuze: Dann sind Sie ja quasi ein richtiges „Kind“ des Unternehmens?!

Zuva: Ja, kann man schon so sagen - wobei ich nach meinem BWL-Studium an der Fachhochschule in Aalen durchaus offen und nicht fixiert war - weder auf das Arbeiten im Ländle, noch auf Leuze. Durch meine weltoffene Mentalität komme ich mit Menschen unterschiedlichster Kulturen schnell und gut zurecht.

Leuze: Ihr Name klingt nicht.direkt „schwäbisch“... darf ich fragen, wo ihre Wurzeln liegen?

Zuva: Geboren bin ich in Kirchheim/Teck. Dort habe ich auch den Großteil meines Lebens verbracht. Meine Familie kommt ursprünglich aus der Türkei. Mich selbst würde ich als schwäbischen Deutsch-Türken bezeichnen.

Leuze: Und was führte Sie in jungen Jahren trotzdem nicht in die große weite Welt, sondern ins Lenninger Tal?

Zuva: Hm, um ehrlich zu sein – trotz gutem Studienabschluss fand ich damals nicht sogleich einen Job.. wohnhaft in Kirchheim... Familie, die auch bei Leuze arbeitete... da lag es irgendwie nahe, mich hier zu bewerben.

Leuze: Das ist eine ehrliche Antwort... dann haben Sie in welcher Funktion hier begonnen?

Zuva: 2006 startete ich als Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik.

Leuze: Und gute zehn Jahre später sind Sie Director Logistics? Das ist wirklich eine schöne Karriere...

Zuva: So gesehen ja. Sicher ist vieles darauf zurückzuführen, dass ich jemand bin, der gerne anpackt, gut schwäbisch die Ärmel hochkrempelt, „schafft“. Aber ich hatte auch Glück und war zur rechten Zeit am rechten Ort und Vorgesetzte, die an mich glaubten und mir die Möglichkeit gaben, mich permanent weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Was konkret meinen Sie damit?

Zuva: 2006 wurde das erste AKL in Owen am Standort der Firmenzentrale gebaut. In dieser Zeit musste das komplette Lager nach Unterlenningen umziehen. Ich bekam die für einen Jungster sehr verantwortungvolle Aufgabe, die Produktion in Owen logistisch von Unterlenningen aus weiter zu versorgen...

Leuze: Dazu braucht man aber doch eigentlich etwas Erfahrung... oder?

Zuva: Ich machte das ja auch nicht alleine, sondern mit Unterstützung der Kollegen, die alle tatkräftig mitanpackten – ich denke, das zeichnet uns Sensor People aus – damals wie heute.

Leuze: Sie haben mich neugierig gemacht... wie ging es dann weiter in Ihrer Vita?

Zuva: Ende 2006 bewarb ich mich auf eine Sachbearbeiterstelle in der Fertigungssteuerung in unserer Tochtergesellschaft Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Dann ging alles ganz schnell. Zum 1. Januar trat ich die neue Stelle an und zog in kürzester Zeit mit Sack und Pack von Kirchheim ins Donautal.
 
Leuze: Und dann?

Zuva: Ich arbeitete in Unterstadion in einem kleinen Team von vier bis fünf Kollegen im Auftragszentrum und entwickelte mich mehr und mehr in die Rolle ihres Gruppensprechers. Zudem erweiterte sich mein Aufgabengebiet zunehmend. Ich hatte die Möglichkeit, immer Neues hinzuzulernen und mich weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Welche Aufgaben kamen zu Ihrer sachbearbeitenden Tätigkeit im Auftragszentrum beispielsweise hinzu?

Zuva: Mit der Verlagerung unserer Fertigung von Fürstenfeldbruck nach Unterstadion wurden wir zum Supply Chain Management, welches die Fertigungssteuerung, das Auftragszentrum, Warehouse und IT umfasste. Zu jenem Zeitpunkt wurde ich zum Teamleiter von Fertigungssteuerung und Auftragszentrum, gleichzeitig zum stellvertretenden Abteilungsleiter des gesamten Bereichs.

Leuze: Das war ein wirklich großer Spung...

Zuva: Ja, das war es. Zudem bekam ich zum Tagesgeschäft mein erstes großes Projekt hinzu – die ERP-Einführung. Und kurz darauf, 2012, folgte schon ein Zweites: die Gründung der Produktionsgesellschaft in China.

Leuze: Da war ja Tagesgeschäft kaum mehr möglich...

Zuva: Es wurde zumindest zunehmend schwieriger. Deshalb auch die Entscheidung, mich als Mitarbeiter von Leuze electronic Assembly für sechs Monate an Leuze „auszuleihen“...

Leuze: „Ausleihen“... wie sich das anhört... das klingt ja wie ein Stück Ware...

Zuva: Nein, so war es natürlich nicht – natürlich wurde ich gefragt, und ich wollte - und wie ich wollte! Ein halbes Jahr bin ich zwischen China und Owen gependelt, habe Flugmeilen gesammelt, über 30 Flüge in nur einem Jahr...

Leuze: Puh... das war dann wirklich ein Sprung vom überschaubaren ländlichen Unterstadion nach Shenzhen in China... kein Heimweh?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil, ich hatte Blut geleckt... ich konnte meinen multikulturellen Charakter erst richtig ausleben und noch bevor das China-Projekt abgeschlossen war, bekam ich schon das nächste Angebot...

Leuze: Welches?

Zuva: Vertriebscontrolling USA.

Leuze: Das heißt, von China direkt in die USA?

Zuva: Genau... ab und zu hatte ich meinen Platz aber auch in Owen, im Controlling.

Leuze: Das war ein nächster großer Sprung für Sie...

Zuva: Ja, man hat mir viel Vertrauen entgegengebracht und ich hatte die Chance, mich in unterschiedlichsten Themengebieten und Ländern beweisen zu können.

Leuze: Wie lange waren Sie dann in den USA?

Zuva: Über ein Jahr... bis ich Ende 2013 erneut ein Angebot bekam, Beteiligungscontroller für China und USA zu werden. Dieses führte mich zurück nach Owen... Das war auch der Moment, in dem ich offiziell vom Mitarbeiter der Leuze electronic Assembly zum Mitarbeiter von Leuze wurde.

Leuze: Wenn ich gut mitgerechnet habe, müssten Sie sieben Jahre weg gewesen sein...

Zuva: Gut mitgerechnet! (lacht) – es waren auf den Tag sieben Jahre... es passte einfach alles perfekt zusammen – die erworbenen Kenntnisse, die gemachten internationalen Erfahrungen in China und USA.

Leuze: Aber heute sind Sie nicht im Controlling tätig...

Zuva: Nein, Mitte 2015 übernahm ich die Verantwortung für die Logistik in Owen und schimpfe mich heute neudeutsch Director Logistics mit vielen neuen spannenden Aufgaben und Herausforderungen...

Leuze: Ist es richtig, dass ein großes, neues Logistikcenter gebaut werden soll?

Zuva: Ja, und irgendwie schließt sich für mich damit der Kreis... Vor guten zehn Jahren wurde das erste automatisierte Kleinteilelager in Owen gebaut und ich begleitete den Aufbau als Aushilfe in der Lagerlogistik. Heute bin ich verantwortlich für die Weiterentwicklung der Logistik und dazu gehört auch ein neues AKL.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie sind jetzt der Vorgesetzte der Sensor People, die früher Ihre Kollegen waren? Gibt das keine Probleme?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil. Wir haben ein sehr gutes Mit- und Füreinander.

Leuze: Worauf führen Sie das zurück?

Zuva: Ich bin mir meiner Entwicklung bewusst, aber ich bin immer bodenständig geblieben, packe immer selbst mit an, krämpele heute die Ärmel genauso hoch wie vor zehn Jahren. Und: Ich bin vielen Menschen begegnet, die mir viel Erfahrung weitergegeben, mich auf meinem Weg und bei meinen Entscheidungen unterstützt haben und dankbar dafür, dass mir so viel Vertrauen geschenkt wurde.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, vielen Dank für das ausführliche und offene Gespräch.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

(Kopie 2)

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

[Translate to English:] Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

[Translate to English:]

Sebastian Kopp ist schon viele Jahre bei Leuze tätig. Dank der Möglichkeit, sich stets weiterzubilden, weiterzuentwickeln, neue Aufgaben und Projekte anzugehen, mehr und mehr Verantwortung zu übernehmen, hat er es geschafft, sich vom Facharbeiter zum Director Production zu entwickeln.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, Sie sind seit über elf Jahren bei Leuze... das ist schon eine lange Zeit für Ihr noch jugendliches Alter...
 
Kopp: (lacht) Danke, für das Kompliment, aber so jugendlich bin ich auch nicht mehr. Aber ja, das stimmt – 2007 startete ich als Facharbeiter in der Fertigung bei Leuze und seitdem habe ich verschiedene Stationen und Hierarchiestufen in der Produktion durchlaufen.

Leuze: Um gleich als Facharbeiter zu starten, braucht man sicher eine fachspezifische Ausbildung...

Kopp: Ja, diese habe ich. Ich habe von 1997 bis 2001 eine Ausbildung zum Elektriker und anschließend bis 2008 eine Ausbildung zum Meister gemacht. Auf diese setzte ich ein berufsbegleitendes Studium auf - seit 2015 bin ich auch Betriebswirt und verbinde damit die technische und die kaufmännischen Seite.

Leuze: Wie sind Sie einst auf Leuze gekommen?
 
Kopp: Wenn ich ehrlich bin: Es war Zufall – ich blätterte samstags in der Zeitung und mir fiel die Stellenausschreibung von Leuze auf, obgleich ich eigentlich zum damaligen Zeitpunkt gar nicht auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung war.

Leuze: Und dann haben Sie sich trotzdem beworben...
 
Kopp: Ja – und wie man sieht: nicht bereut und bis heute hängen geblieben :-)

Leuze: Wenn Sie die Fertigung 2007 mit der heutigen vergleichen – ein großer Unterschied?
 
Kopp:  Ein gewaltiger Unterschied. Selbst vor zehn Jahren waren noch maximal 80 Mitarbeiter in der Produktion beschäftigt – heute sind fast 200. Schichtbetrieb gab es damals noch nicht.

Leuze: Da haben Sie in Ihrer heutigen Funktion als Director Production ganz schön viel bewegt... Wenn ich bedenke: heute haben wir 2-Schicht- und 3-Schicht-Betrieb und Zeitversatz in den B-Baureihen...
 
Kopp: Ja, ich hatte bei Leuze immer die Chance, mich weiterzuentwickeln, Neues hinzuzulernen, anzupacken und aktiv mit zu gestalten. Das ist sicher einer der Gründe, weshalb ich mich in all den Jahren nie nach neuen Herausforderungen außerhalb dieses Unternehmens gesehnt habe.

Leuze: Das klingt gut. Um Ihren Werdegang besser zu verstehen: Vielleicht springen wir nochmals zurück auf Ihren Einstieg als Facharbeiter– wie sah Ihre weitere Vita bei Leuze konkret aus?

Kopp: Irgendwie wurde ich schon kurz nach Einstieg Gruppensprecher und schon ein Jahr später offiziell Gruppenleiter der Fertigungsgruppe Barcodeleser und betreute ein Team von zirka 15 Mitarbeitern.

Leuze: Betreuen heißt: fachlich betreuen?
 
Kopp: Fachlich und disziplinarisch. Ich bekam mit nur 27 Jahren und als relativ neuer Mitarbeiter im Unternehmen bereits die Personalverantwortung für dieses Team.

Leuze: Und das trotz der allgemeinen Wirtschaftskrise 2009, die Sie ja miterlebt haben?
 
Kopp: Klar, diese Krise ging auch an uns nicht spurlos vorüber. Es kam zur Fusion des Teams, für das ich ja bereits verantwortlich war, mit weiteren Kolleginnen und Kollegen, für die ich dann ebenfalls die Verantwortung übernahm und so zum Teamleiter von insgesamt drei Gruppen wurde.

Leuze: Das war ein großer Sprung in keiner einfachen Zeit...
 
Kopp: Das stimmt. Aber ich traute mir diesen zu und man muss auch dazu sagen: Ich war niemals auf mich alleine gestellt. Ich profitierte sehr von der langjährigen Erfahrung meiner Doppelspitze, dem damaligen Fertigungsleiter, lernte viel hinzu und nahm Tipps gerne an.

Leuze: Als Teamleiter kamen ja auch sicher viele neue Themen und Aufgaben auf Sie zu?
 
Kopp: Ja, die von Ihnen angesprochene Einführung des 2- und 3-Schichtbetriebs waren beispielsweise große Themen, aber auch die Einführung von Lean Management, Shop Floor und die Übernahme des Facility Managements. Aber genau diese neuen Aufgaben haben mich immer gereizt, man schenkte mir das Vertrauen und die Möglichkeit, mich stets weiterzubilden und zu entwickeln - und das ist nicht selbstverständlich!

Leuze: Als Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter wurden: War das OK für Ihre langjährige Doppelspitze zusammen mit Ihrem Kollegen? Kein Konkurrenzkampf?
 
Kopp: Nein, kein Konkurrenzkampf - es gab ganz offene Gespräche, und auch hier bekam ich die volle Unterstützung und Rückendeckung und bin dankbar dafür.

Leuze: Seit wann sind Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter?
 
Kopp: Offiziell seit April 2017 – also noch gar nicht so lange.

Leuze: Wie viele Headcounts verantworten Sie seitdem?
 
Kopp: Lassen Sie mich rechnen... 3 Teamleiter, 9 Produktbetreuer und 2 Personen im Facility Management. Aber ich kann mich zu 100 Prozent auf meine Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter, meine Kolleginnen und Kollegen verlassen, vertraue ihnen und traue ihnen viel zu.

Leuze: Das klingt nach einem guten Miteinander.
 
Kopp: Das ist es auch. Wir alle gehen respektvoll miteinander um, ziehen an einem Strang. Und das ist auch sehr wichtig, um die vielen Herausforderungen in einem stark wachsenden Unternehmen meistern zu können – gemeinsam.

Leuze: Ein wachsendes Unternehmen braucht auch neue Fachkräfte... Wo rekrutieren Sie diese?
 
Kopp: Die meisten wohnen, wie ich selbst, ganz in der Nähe, kennen Leuze als solides, wachsendes Unternehmen. Keiner hat Lust auf lange Wege und Rush-Hour. Sie schätzen bei uns einen zuverlässigen Auftragseingang und Schichtbetrieb.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie haben keine Wechselschicht?
 
Kopp: Ich selbst normalerweise nicht. Natürlich gibt es Zeiten, in denen Zusatzschichten gefahren werden müssen, bei mir gleichermaßen wie bei meinem Team. Dies verlangt eine gewisse Flexibilität. Aber im Grunde genommen haben alle Mitarbeiter in der Fertigung feste, verlässliche Arbeitszeiten, was aber nicht bedeutet, dass die Schichten zementiert sind. Die Kollegen haben die Möglichkeit zur Weiterbildung, können Arbeitsinseln wechseln oder auch Schichten nach Rücksprache tauschen.

Leuze: Das hört sich nach Solidität und Flexibilität gleichermaßen an. 

Kopp: Das würde ich genauso unterstreichen. Mir ist wichtig, den Mitarbeitern eine Perspektive zu geben, so wie sie auch mir immer gegeben wurde. Ich fühle mich verantwortlich für meine inhaltlich zu lösenden Aufgaben, Projekte und neuen Herausforderungen, aber ebenso für das Wohl meiner Mitarbeiter.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, vielen Dank für das freundliche Gespräch.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

[Translate to English:] Katarina Zeko, Facharbeiterin im Lager

[Translate to English:]

Katarina Zeko arbeitet seit über 20 Jahren bei Leuze. Sie brennt für ihre Aufgabe wie am ersten Tag. Als Facharbeiterin im Lager hat sie über die Jahre die Lagerlogistik aktiv und mit viel Energie mitgestaltet, vorangetrieben und zu einem familären Zusammenhalt im Team beigetragen.

Leuze: Frau Zeko, Sie gehören zu einem der Urgesteine von Leuze, die dem Unternehmen schon viele Jahre die Treue halten...

Zeko: Ja, das kann man so sagen – seit 1996 arbeite ich im Lager für Leuze.

Leuze: Schon immer hier in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: Nein – ich habe viele Jahre in der Braike in Owen gearbeitet, zeitweise auch halbtags, als meine Kinder noch klein waren.

Leuze: Was hat Sie gerade zu Leuze geführt?

Zeko: Das ist eine lange Geschichte und ein Werdegang mit Umwegen...

Leuze: Ich bin gespannt – verraten Sie mir Ihren Weg?
 
Zeko: Gerne. Eigentlich bin ich studierte Juristin.

Leuze: Juristin?

Zeko: Ja, ich bin gebürtige Kroatin. Als ich 1993 nach Deutschland kam, war ich der deutschen Sprache nicht mächtig – einen Beruf als Juristin auszuüben war also undenkbar.

Leuze: Sie sprechen aber perfekt deutsch...

Zeko: Ja, mittlerweile. Damals musste ich mir die Sprache und auch ein neues Berufsbild erst hart erarbeiten.

Leuze: Das ist Ihnen gelungen – das heißt, Sie haben umgeschult?

Zeko: Ja, ich habe nochmals eine komplett neue Ausbildung über die IHK gemacht – die Ausbildung zur Kauffrau für Bürokommunikation, in der Abendschule. Tagsüber habe ich weiterhin gearbeitet.

Leuze: Respekt! Da haben Sie auch schon bei Leuze gearbeitet?
 
Zeko: Ja, ich wohnte in Kirchheim bzw. tue das heute noch. Mir war wichtig, dass mein Arbeitgeber in der Nähe meines Wohnorts ist. Das bot mir zeitlich die meiste Flexibilität – mit der Abendschule, der Familie, später den Kindern.

Leuze: Das kann ich gut verstehen. Und warum gerade Leuze? Mit Ihrer Ausbildung waren Sie ja nicht unbedingt an die Sensorbranche gebunden...

Zeko: Das nicht, aber mir war wichtig, zu einem großen Arbeitgeber zu gehen, einem wachsenden Unternehmen mit Zukunft.

Leuze: Klein ist Leuze nicht gerade, aber auch kein Konzern...
 
Zeko: Nein, aber ein solides Unternehmen – und ein international tätiges Unterehmen dazu. Das war mir wichtig. Ein Konzern wäre für mich auch niemals in Frage gekommen...

Leuze: Was finden Sie bei Leuze, was Sie in einem Konzern nicht glauben für sich zu finden?

Zeko: Ich bin Südländerin – da zählt die Familie und der familiäre Zusammenhalt sehr viel. Und diesen finde ich auch hier bei Leuze.

Leuze: Trotz dessen, dass Leuze ja doch sehr stark gewachsen ist die letzen Jahre?
 
Zeko: Ja, in jedem Fall. Ich finde es beispielsweise schön, den Firmenmitgründer Christof Leuze und seine Familie persönlich zu kennen, zu erleben und zu wissen, für wen ich arbeite. Und umgekehrt kennt auch er die langjährigen Mitarbeiter noch alle beim Namen und besucht uns heute noch regelmäßig. Neulich hat er uns erst hier im Lager mit seinen Enkeln besucht und aus dem Nähkästchen geplaudert.

Leuze: Das ist ja nett... und wie steht es um den Zusammenhalt zwischen den Kollegen?

Zeko: Das ist ein guter Punkt – auch das meine ich mit familiärem Charakter. Wir sind hier im Lager wie eine große Familie, wir interessieren uns für einander, halten zusammen.

Leuze: Wie äußert sich dieser Zusammenhalt?

Zeko: Wir helfen uns gegenseitig, krempeln zusammen die Ärmel hoch, inklusive unserem Chef. Wir sind ein echtes Team. So ist auch die Bereitschaft zur flexiblen Arbeit in wachsenden Zeiten da. Und zur Belohnung gibt es ab und zu einen Kuchen von mir...

Leuze: Das ist ja schön – ich komme auch mal zum Kuchen testen vorbei :-) Aber Spaß beiseite: Sie selbst haben einen enormen persönlichen Beitrag dazu geleistet, dass das 6500 qm große Lager in Unterlenningen heute so aufgebaut ist wie es ist...
 
Zeko: Ja, schon. Ich habe beim Aufbau des Lagers hier viele Stunden verbracht, mir bedeutet dieses Lager sehr viel. Ich möchte, dass alle funktioniert und gut läuft und dass letztendlich unsere Kunden rechtzeitig ihre bestellten Produkte erhalten.

Leuze: Sie sind sehr engagiert…

Zeko: Das sind wir alle, aber ja, ich bin eine Macherin, im Privaten wie im Beruflichen. Alles andere wäre wider meinem Naturell. (lacht).

Leuze: Das spürt man – Sie sind mit Leib und Seele ein Sensor People :-)

Zeko: Ich möchte meine Erfahrung miteinbringen und weitergeben an die jüngeren Kollegen. Schließlich habe ich über viele Jahre hinweg die Lagerlogistik aktiv mitgestaltet und aufgebaut: Canban, Hotline, usw. ...

Leuze: Vielen Dank für das sympatische Interview, Frau Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

[Translate to English:] Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logstics

[Translate to English:]

Ibrahim Zuva hat eine Bilderbuchkarriere bei Leuze gemacht: Binnen 10 Jahren von der Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik zum Director Logistics mit der spannenden Aufgabe, ein neues, großes AKL für Leuze am Standort Owen aufzubauen.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, Sie sind noch keine 40 Jahre alt und schon Director Logistics...

Zuva: Ja, so gesehen kann ich mit U40 schon auf eine gute Karriere bei Leuze zurückblicken...

Leuze: Die wie begann?

Zuva: Die Verbundenheit zu Leuze hat sehr früh angefangen: Ich erinnere mich noch heute, wie ich früher als Kind zusammen mit meinem Vater meine Mutter und meine Oma häufiger von der Arbeit bei Leuze Textil abholte... und wie mein Vater mir aus dem Snackautomaten, den es damals schon gab, hin oder wieder einen Schokoriegel rausließ...

Leuze: So lange sind Sie schon mit dem Unternehmen verbunden?

Zuva: Ja, die halbe Familie arbeitete hier – meine Tante tut es heute noch.

Leuze: Dann sind Sie ja quasi ein richtiges „Kind“ des Unternehmens?!

Zuva: Ja, kann man schon so sagen - wobei ich nach meinem BWL-Studium an der Fachhochschule in Aalen durchaus offen und nicht fixiert war - weder auf das Arbeiten im Ländle, noch auf Leuze. Durch meine weltoffene Mentalität komme ich mit Menschen unterschiedlichster Kulturen schnell und gut zurecht.

Leuze: Ihr Name klingt nicht.direkt „schwäbisch“... darf ich fragen, wo ihre Wurzeln liegen?

Zuva: Geboren bin ich in Kirchheim/Teck. Dort habe ich auch den Großteil meines Lebens verbracht. Meine Familie kommt ursprünglich aus der Türkei. Mich selbst würde ich als schwäbischen Deutsch-Türken bezeichnen.

Leuze: Und was führte Sie in jungen Jahren trotzdem nicht in die große weite Welt, sondern ins Lenninger Tal?

Zuva: Hm, um ehrlich zu sein – trotz gutem Studienabschluss fand ich damals nicht sogleich einen Job.. wohnhaft in Kirchheim... Familie, die auch bei Leuze arbeitete... da lag es irgendwie nahe, mich hier zu bewerben.

Leuze: Das ist eine ehrliche Antwort... dann haben Sie in welcher Funktion hier begonnen?

Zuva: 2006 startete ich als Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik.

Leuze: Und gute zehn Jahre später sind Sie Director Logistics? Das ist wirklich eine schöne Karriere...

Zuva: So gesehen ja. Sicher ist vieles darauf zurückzuführen, dass ich jemand bin, der gerne anpackt, gut schwäbisch die Ärmel hochkrempelt, „schafft“. Aber ich hatte auch Glück und war zur rechten Zeit am rechten Ort und Vorgesetzte, die an mich glaubten und mir die Möglichkeit gaben, mich permanent weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Was konkret meinen Sie damit?

Zuva: 2006 wurde das erste AKL in Owen am Standort der Firmenzentrale gebaut. In dieser Zeit musste das komplette Lager nach Unterlenningen umziehen. Ich bekam die für einen Jungster sehr verantwortungvolle Aufgabe, die Produktion in Owen logistisch von Unterlenningen aus weiter zu versorgen...

Leuze: Dazu braucht man aber doch eigentlich etwas Erfahrung... oder?

Zuva: Ich machte das ja auch nicht alleine, sondern mit Unterstützung der Kollegen, die alle tatkräftig mitanpackten – ich denke, das zeichnet uns Sensor People aus – damals wie heute.

Leuze: Sie haben mich neugierig gemacht... wie ging es dann weiter in Ihrer Vita?

Zuva: Ende 2006 bewarb ich mich auf eine Sachbearbeiterstelle in der Fertigungssteuerung in unserer Tochtergesellschaft Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Dann ging alles ganz schnell. Zum 1. Januar trat ich die neue Stelle an und zog in kürzester Zeit mit Sack und Pack von Kirchheim ins Donautal.
 
Leuze: Und dann?

Zuva: Ich arbeitete in Unterstadion in einem kleinen Team von vier bis fünf Kollegen im Auftragszentrum und entwickelte mich mehr und mehr in die Rolle ihres Gruppensprechers. Zudem erweiterte sich mein Aufgabengebiet zunehmend. Ich hatte die Möglichkeit, immer Neues hinzuzulernen und mich weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Welche Aufgaben kamen zu Ihrer sachbearbeitenden Tätigkeit im Auftragszentrum beispielsweise hinzu?

Zuva: Mit der Verlagerung unserer Fertigung von Fürstenfeldbruck nach Unterstadion wurden wir zum Supply Chain Management, welches die Fertigungssteuerung, das Auftragszentrum, Warehouse und IT umfasste. Zu jenem Zeitpunkt wurde ich zum Teamleiter von Fertigungssteuerung und Auftragszentrum, gleichzeitig zum stellvertretenden Abteilungsleiter des gesamten Bereichs.

Leuze: Das war ein wirklich großer Spung...

Zuva: Ja, das war es. Zudem bekam ich zum Tagesgeschäft mein erstes großes Projekt hinzu – die ERP-Einführung. Und kurz darauf, 2012, folgte schon ein Zweites: die Gründung der Produktionsgesellschaft in China.

Leuze: Da war ja Tagesgeschäft kaum mehr möglich...

Zuva: Es wurde zumindest zunehmend schwieriger. Deshalb auch die Entscheidung, mich als Mitarbeiter von Leuze electronic Assembly für sechs Monate an Leuze „auszuleihen“...

Leuze: „Ausleihen“... wie sich das anhört... das klingt ja wie ein Stück Ware...

Zuva: Nein, so war es natürlich nicht – natürlich wurde ich gefragt, und ich wollte - und wie ich wollte! Ein halbes Jahr bin ich zwischen China und Owen gependelt, habe Flugmeilen gesammelt, über 30 Flüge in nur einem Jahr...

Leuze: Puh... das war dann wirklich ein Sprung vom überschaubaren ländlichen Unterstadion nach Shenzhen in China... kein Heimweh?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil, ich hatte Blut geleckt... ich konnte meinen multikulturellen Charakter erst richtig ausleben und noch bevor das China-Projekt abgeschlossen war, bekam ich schon das nächste Angebot...

Leuze: Welches?

Zuva: Vertriebscontrolling USA.

Leuze: Das heißt, von China direkt in die USA?

Zuva: Genau... ab und zu hatte ich meinen Platz aber auch in Owen, im Controlling.

Leuze: Das war ein nächster großer Sprung für Sie...

Zuva: Ja, man hat mir viel Vertrauen entgegengebracht und ich hatte die Chance, mich in unterschiedlichsten Themengebieten und Ländern beweisen zu können.

Leuze: Wie lange waren Sie dann in den USA?

Zuva: Über ein Jahr... bis ich Ende 2013 erneut ein Angebot bekam, Beteiligungscontroller für China und USA zu werden. Dieses führte mich zurück nach Owen... Das war auch der Moment, in dem ich offiziell vom Mitarbeiter der Leuze electronic Assembly zum Mitarbeiter von Leuze wurde.

Leuze: Wenn ich gut mitgerechnet habe, müssten Sie sieben Jahre weg gewesen sein...

Zuva: Gut mitgerechnet! (lacht) – es waren auf den Tag sieben Jahre... es passte einfach alles perfekt zusammen – die erworbenen Kenntnisse, die gemachten internationalen Erfahrungen in China und USA.

Leuze: Aber heute sind Sie nicht im Controlling tätig...

Zuva: Nein, Mitte 2015 übernahm ich die Verantwortung für die Logistik in Owen und schimpfe mich heute neudeutsch Director Logistics mit vielen neuen spannenden Aufgaben und Herausforderungen...

Leuze: Ist es richtig, dass ein großes, neues Logistikcenter gebaut werden soll?

Zuva: Ja, und irgendwie schließt sich für mich damit der Kreis... Vor guten zehn Jahren wurde das erste automatisierte Kleinteilelager in Owen gebaut und ich begleitete den Aufbau als Aushilfe in der Lagerlogistik. Heute bin ich verantwortlich für die Weiterentwicklung der Logistik und dazu gehört auch ein neues AKL.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie sind jetzt der Vorgesetzte der Sensor People, die früher Ihre Kollegen waren? Gibt das keine Probleme?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil. Wir haben ein sehr gutes Mit- und Füreinander.

Leuze: Worauf führen Sie das zurück?

Zuva: Ich bin mir meiner Entwicklung bewusst, aber ich bin immer bodenständig geblieben, packe immer selbst mit an, krämpele heute die Ärmel genauso hoch wie vor zehn Jahren. Und: Ich bin vielen Menschen begegnet, die mir viel Erfahrung weitergegeben, mich auf meinem Weg und bei meinen Entscheidungen unterstützt haben und dankbar dafür, dass mir so viel Vertrauen geschenkt wurde.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, vielen Dank für das ausführliche und offene Gespräch.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

[Translate to English:] Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

[Translate to English:]

Sebastian Kopp ist schon viele Jahre bei Leuze tätig. Dank der Möglichkeit, sich stets weiterzubilden, weiterzuentwickeln, neue Aufgaben und Projekte anzugehen, mehr und mehr Verantwortung zu übernehmen, hat er es geschafft, sich vom Facharbeiter zum Director Production zu entwickeln.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, Sie sind seit über elf Jahren bei Leuze... das ist schon eine lange Zeit für Ihr noch jugendliches Alter...
 
Kopp: (lacht) Danke, für das Kompliment, aber so jugendlich bin ich auch nicht mehr. Aber ja, das stimmt – 2007 startete ich als Facharbeiter in der Fertigung bei Leuze und seitdem habe ich verschiedene Stationen und Hierarchiestufen in der Produktion durchlaufen.

Leuze: Um gleich als Facharbeiter zu starten, braucht man sicher eine fachspezifische Ausbildung...

Kopp: Ja, diese habe ich. Ich habe von 1997 bis 2001 eine Ausbildung zum Elektriker und anschließend bis 2008 eine Ausbildung zum Meister gemacht. Auf diese setzte ich ein berufsbegleitendes Studium auf - seit 2015 bin ich auch Betriebswirt und verbinde damit die technische und die kaufmännischen Seite.

Leuze: Wie sind Sie einst auf Leuze gekommen?
 
Kopp: Wenn ich ehrlich bin: Es war Zufall – ich blätterte samstags in der Zeitung und mir fiel die Stellenausschreibung von Leuze auf, obgleich ich eigentlich zum damaligen Zeitpunkt gar nicht auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung war.

Leuze: Und dann haben Sie sich trotzdem beworben...
 
Kopp: Ja – und wie man sieht: nicht bereut und bis heute hängen geblieben :-)

Leuze: Wenn Sie die Fertigung 2007 mit der heutigen vergleichen – ein großer Unterschied?
 
Kopp:  Ein gewaltiger Unterschied. Selbst vor zehn Jahren waren noch maximal 80 Mitarbeiter in der Produktion beschäftigt – heute sind fast 200. Schichtbetrieb gab es damals noch nicht.

Leuze: Da haben Sie in Ihrer heutigen Funktion als Director Production ganz schön viel bewegt... Wenn ich bedenke: heute haben wir 2-Schicht- und 3-Schicht-Betrieb und Zeitversatz in den B-Baureihen...
 
Kopp: Ja, ich hatte bei Leuze immer die Chance, mich weiterzuentwickeln, Neues hinzuzulernen, anzupacken und aktiv mit zu gestalten. Das ist sicher einer der Gründe, weshalb ich mich in all den Jahren nie nach neuen Herausforderungen außerhalb dieses Unternehmens gesehnt habe.

Leuze: Das klingt gut. Um Ihren Werdegang besser zu verstehen: Vielleicht springen wir nochmals zurück auf Ihren Einstieg als Facharbeiter– wie sah Ihre weitere Vita bei Leuze konkret aus?

Kopp: Irgendwie wurde ich schon kurz nach Einstieg Gruppensprecher und schon ein Jahr später offiziell Gruppenleiter der Fertigungsgruppe Barcodeleser und betreute ein Team von zirka 15 Mitarbeitern.

Leuze: Betreuen heißt: fachlich betreuen?
 
Kopp: Fachlich und disziplinarisch. Ich bekam mit nur 27 Jahren und als relativ neuer Mitarbeiter im Unternehmen bereits die Personalverantwortung für dieses Team.

Leuze: Und das trotz der allgemeinen Wirtschaftskrise 2009, die Sie ja miterlebt haben?
 
Kopp: Klar, diese Krise ging auch an uns nicht spurlos vorüber. Es kam zur Fusion des Teams, für das ich ja bereits verantwortlich war, mit weiteren Kolleginnen und Kollegen, für die ich dann ebenfalls die Verantwortung übernahm und so zum Teamleiter von insgesamt drei Gruppen wurde.

Leuze: Das war ein großer Sprung in keiner einfachen Zeit...
 
Kopp: Das stimmt. Aber ich traute mir diesen zu und man muss auch dazu sagen: Ich war niemals auf mich alleine gestellt. Ich profitierte sehr von der langjährigen Erfahrung meiner Doppelspitze, dem damaligen Fertigungsleiter, lernte viel hinzu und nahm Tipps gerne an.

Leuze: Als Teamleiter kamen ja auch sicher viele neue Themen und Aufgaben auf Sie zu?
 
Kopp: Ja, die von Ihnen angesprochene Einführung des 2- und 3-Schichtbetriebs waren beispielsweise große Themen, aber auch die Einführung von Lean Management, Shop Floor und die Übernahme des Facility Managements. Aber genau diese neuen Aufgaben haben mich immer gereizt, man schenkte mir das Vertrauen und die Möglichkeit, mich stets weiterzubilden und zu entwickeln - und das ist nicht selbstverständlich!

Leuze: Als Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter wurden: War das OK für Ihre langjährige Doppelspitze zusammen mit Ihrem Kollegen? Kein Konkurrenzkampf?
 
Kopp: Nein, kein Konkurrenzkampf - es gab ganz offene Gespräche, und auch hier bekam ich die volle Unterstützung und Rückendeckung und bin dankbar dafür.

Leuze: Seit wann sind Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter?
 
Kopp: Offiziell seit April 2017 – also noch gar nicht so lange.

Leuze: Wie viele Headcounts verantworten Sie seitdem?
 
Kopp: Lassen Sie mich rechnen... 3 Teamleiter, 9 Produktbetreuer und 2 Personen im Facility Management. Aber ich kann mich zu 100 Prozent auf meine Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter, meine Kolleginnen und Kollegen verlassen, vertraue ihnen und traue ihnen viel zu.

Leuze: Das klingt nach einem guten Miteinander.
 
Kopp: Das ist es auch. Wir alle gehen respektvoll miteinander um, ziehen an einem Strang. Und das ist auch sehr wichtig, um die vielen Herausforderungen in einem stark wachsenden Unternehmen meistern zu können – gemeinsam.

Leuze: Ein wachsendes Unternehmen braucht auch neue Fachkräfte... Wo rekrutieren Sie diese?
 
Kopp: Die meisten wohnen, wie ich selbst, ganz in der Nähe, kennen Leuze als solides, wachsendes Unternehmen. Keiner hat Lust auf lange Wege und Rush-Hour. Sie schätzen bei uns einen zuverlässigen Auftragseingang und Schichtbetrieb.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie haben keine Wechselschicht?
 
Kopp: Ich selbst normalerweise nicht. Natürlich gibt es Zeiten, in denen Zusatzschichten gefahren werden müssen, bei mir gleichermaßen wie bei meinem Team. Dies verlangt eine gewisse Flexibilität. Aber im Grunde genommen haben alle Mitarbeiter in der Fertigung feste, verlässliche Arbeitszeiten, was aber nicht bedeutet, dass die Schichten zementiert sind. Die Kollegen haben die Möglichkeit zur Weiterbildung, können Arbeitsinseln wechseln oder auch Schichten nach Rücksprache tauschen.

Leuze: Das hört sich nach Solidität und Flexibilität gleichermaßen an. 

Kopp: Das würde ich genauso unterstreichen. Mir ist wichtig, den Mitarbeitern eine Perspektive zu geben, so wie sie auch mir immer gegeben wurde. Ich fühle mich verantwortlich für meine inhaltlich zu lösenden Aufgaben, Projekte und neuen Herausforderungen, aber ebenso für das Wohl meiner Mitarbeiter.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, vielen Dank für das freundliche Gespräch.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

[Translate to English:] Katarina Zeko, Facharbeiterin im Lager

[Translate to English:]

Katarina Zeko arbeitet seit über 20 Jahren bei Leuze. Sie brennt für ihre Aufgabe wie am ersten Tag. Als Facharbeiterin im Lager hat sie über die Jahre die Lagerlogistik aktiv und mit viel Energie mitgestaltet, vorangetrieben und zu einem familären Zusammenhalt im Team beigetragen.

Leuze: Frau Zeko, Sie gehören zu einem der Urgesteine von Leuze, die dem Unternehmen schon viele Jahre die Treue halten...

Zeko: Ja, das kann man so sagen – seit 1996 arbeite ich im Lager für Leuze.

Leuze: Schon immer hier in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: Nein – ich habe viele Jahre in der Braike in Owen gearbeitet, zeitweise auch halbtags, als meine Kinder noch klein waren.

Leuze: Was hat Sie gerade zu Leuze geführt?

Zeko: Das ist eine lange Geschichte und ein Werdegang mit Umwegen...

Leuze: Ich bin gespannt – verraten Sie mir Ihren Weg?
 
Zeko: Gerne. Eigentlich bin ich studierte Juristin.

Leuze: Juristin?

Zeko: Ja, ich bin gebürtige Kroatin. Als ich 1993 nach Deutschland kam, war ich der deutschen Sprache nicht mächtig – einen Beruf als Juristin auszuüben war also undenkbar.

Leuze: Sie sprechen aber perfekt deutsch...

Zeko: Ja, mittlerweile. Damals musste ich mir die Sprache und auch ein neues Berufsbild erst hart erarbeiten.

Leuze: Das ist Ihnen gelungen – das heißt, Sie haben umgeschult?

Zeko: Ja, ich habe nochmals eine komplett neue Ausbildung über die IHK gemacht – die Ausbildung zur Kauffrau für Bürokommunikation, in der Abendschule. Tagsüber habe ich weiterhin gearbeitet.

Leuze: Respekt! Da haben Sie auch schon bei Leuze gearbeitet?
 
Zeko: Ja, ich wohnte in Kirchheim bzw. tue das heute noch. Mir war wichtig, dass mein Arbeitgeber in der Nähe meines Wohnorts ist. Das bot mir zeitlich die meiste Flexibilität – mit der Abendschule, der Familie, später den Kindern.

Leuze: Das kann ich gut verstehen. Und warum gerade Leuze? Mit Ihrer Ausbildung waren Sie ja nicht unbedingt an die Sensorbranche gebunden...

Zeko: Das nicht, aber mir war wichtig, zu einem großen Arbeitgeber zu gehen, einem wachsenden Unternehmen mit Zukunft.

Leuze: Klein ist Leuze nicht gerade, aber auch kein Konzern...
 
Zeko: Nein, aber ein solides Unternehmen – und ein international tätiges Unterehmen dazu. Das war mir wichtig. Ein Konzern wäre für mich auch niemals in Frage gekommen...

Leuze: Was finden Sie bei Leuze, was Sie in einem Konzern nicht glauben für sich zu finden?

Zeko: Ich bin Südländerin – da zählt die Familie und der familiäre Zusammenhalt sehr viel. Und diesen finde ich auch hier bei Leuze.

Leuze: Trotz dessen, dass Leuze ja doch sehr stark gewachsen ist die letzen Jahre?
 
Zeko: Ja, in jedem Fall. Ich finde es beispielsweise schön, den Firmenmitgründer Christof Leuze und seine Familie persönlich zu kennen, zu erleben und zu wissen, für wen ich arbeite. Und umgekehrt kennt auch er die langjährigen Mitarbeiter noch alle beim Namen und besucht uns heute noch regelmäßig. Neulich hat er uns erst hier im Lager mit seinen Enkeln besucht und aus dem Nähkästchen geplaudert.

Leuze: Das ist ja nett... und wie steht es um den Zusammenhalt zwischen den Kollegen?

Zeko: Das ist ein guter Punkt – auch das meine ich mit familiärem Charakter. Wir sind hier im Lager wie eine große Familie, wir interessieren uns für einander, halten zusammen.

Leuze: Wie äußert sich dieser Zusammenhalt?

Zeko: Wir helfen uns gegenseitig, krempeln zusammen die Ärmel hoch, inklusive unserem Chef. Wir sind ein echtes Team. So ist auch die Bereitschaft zur flexiblen Arbeit in wachsenden Zeiten da. Und zur Belohnung gibt es ab und zu einen Kuchen von mir...

Leuze: Das ist ja schön – ich komme auch mal zum Kuchen testen vorbei :-) Aber Spaß beiseite: Sie selbst haben einen enormen persönlichen Beitrag dazu geleistet, dass das 6500 qm große Lager in Unterlenningen heute so aufgebaut ist wie es ist...
 
Zeko: Ja, schon. Ich habe beim Aufbau des Lagers hier viele Stunden verbracht, mir bedeutet dieses Lager sehr viel. Ich möchte, dass alle funktioniert und gut läuft und dass letztendlich unsere Kunden rechtzeitig ihre bestellten Produkte erhalten.

Leuze: Sie sind sehr engagiert…

Zeko: Das sind wir alle, aber ja, ich bin eine Macherin, im Privaten wie im Beruflichen. Alles andere wäre wider meinem Naturell. (lacht).

Leuze: Das spürt man – Sie sind mit Leib und Seele ein Sensor People :-)

Zeko: Ich möchte meine Erfahrung miteinbringen und weitergeben an die jüngeren Kollegen. Schließlich habe ich über viele Jahre hinweg die Lagerlogistik aktiv mitgestaltet und aufgebaut: Canban, Hotline, usw. ...

Leuze: Vielen Dank für das sympatische Interview, Frau Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

[Translate to English:] Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logstics

[Translate to English:]

Ibrahim Zuva hat eine Bilderbuchkarriere bei Leuze gemacht: Binnen 10 Jahren von der Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik zum Director Logistics mit der spannenden Aufgabe, ein neues, großes AKL für Leuze am Standort Owen aufzubauen.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, Sie sind noch keine 40 Jahre alt und schon Director Logistics...

Zuva: Ja, so gesehen kann ich mit U40 schon auf eine gute Karriere bei Leuze zurückblicken...

Leuze: Die wie begann?

Zuva: Die Verbundenheit zu Leuze hat sehr früh angefangen: Ich erinnere mich noch heute, wie ich früher als Kind zusammen mit meinem Vater meine Mutter und meine Oma häufiger von der Arbeit bei Leuze Textil abholte... und wie mein Vater mir aus dem Snackautomaten, den es damals schon gab, hin oder wieder einen Schokoriegel rausließ...

Leuze: So lange sind Sie schon mit dem Unternehmen verbunden?

Zuva: Ja, die halbe Familie arbeitete hier – meine Tante tut es heute noch.

Leuze: Dann sind Sie ja quasi ein richtiges „Kind“ des Unternehmens?!

Zuva: Ja, kann man schon so sagen - wobei ich nach meinem BWL-Studium an der Fachhochschule in Aalen durchaus offen und nicht fixiert war - weder auf das Arbeiten im Ländle, noch auf Leuze. Durch meine weltoffene Mentalität komme ich mit Menschen unterschiedlichster Kulturen schnell und gut zurecht.

Leuze: Ihr Name klingt nicht.direkt „schwäbisch“... darf ich fragen, wo ihre Wurzeln liegen?

Zuva: Geboren bin ich in Kirchheim/Teck. Dort habe ich auch den Großteil meines Lebens verbracht. Meine Familie kommt ursprünglich aus der Türkei. Mich selbst würde ich als schwäbischen Deutsch-Türken bezeichnen.

Leuze: Und was führte Sie in jungen Jahren trotzdem nicht in die große weite Welt, sondern ins Lenninger Tal?

Zuva: Hm, um ehrlich zu sein – trotz gutem Studienabschluss fand ich damals nicht sogleich einen Job.. wohnhaft in Kirchheim... Familie, die auch bei Leuze arbeitete... da lag es irgendwie nahe, mich hier zu bewerben.

Leuze: Das ist eine ehrliche Antwort... dann haben Sie in welcher Funktion hier begonnen?

Zuva: 2006 startete ich als Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik.

Leuze: Und gute zehn Jahre später sind Sie Director Logistics? Das ist wirklich eine schöne Karriere...

Zuva: So gesehen ja. Sicher ist vieles darauf zurückzuführen, dass ich jemand bin, der gerne anpackt, gut schwäbisch die Ärmel hochkrempelt, „schafft“. Aber ich hatte auch Glück und war zur rechten Zeit am rechten Ort und Vorgesetzte, die an mich glaubten und mir die Möglichkeit gaben, mich permanent weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Was konkret meinen Sie damit?

Zuva: 2006 wurde das erste AKL in Owen am Standort der Firmenzentrale gebaut. In dieser Zeit musste das komplette Lager nach Unterlenningen umziehen. Ich bekam die für einen Jungster sehr verantwortungvolle Aufgabe, die Produktion in Owen logistisch von Unterlenningen aus weiter zu versorgen...

Leuze: Dazu braucht man aber doch eigentlich etwas Erfahrung... oder?

Zuva: Ich machte das ja auch nicht alleine, sondern mit Unterstützung der Kollegen, die alle tatkräftig mitanpackten – ich denke, das zeichnet uns Sensor People aus – damals wie heute.

Leuze: Sie haben mich neugierig gemacht... wie ging es dann weiter in Ihrer Vita?

Zuva: Ende 2006 bewarb ich mich auf eine Sachbearbeiterstelle in der Fertigungssteuerung in unserer Tochtergesellschaft Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Dann ging alles ganz schnell. Zum 1. Januar trat ich die neue Stelle an und zog in kürzester Zeit mit Sack und Pack von Kirchheim ins Donautal.
 
Leuze: Und dann?

Zuva: Ich arbeitete in Unterstadion in einem kleinen Team von vier bis fünf Kollegen im Auftragszentrum und entwickelte mich mehr und mehr in die Rolle ihres Gruppensprechers. Zudem erweiterte sich mein Aufgabengebiet zunehmend. Ich hatte die Möglichkeit, immer Neues hinzuzulernen und mich weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Welche Aufgaben kamen zu Ihrer sachbearbeitenden Tätigkeit im Auftragszentrum beispielsweise hinzu?

Zuva: Mit der Verlagerung unserer Fertigung von Fürstenfeldbruck nach Unterstadion wurden wir zum Supply Chain Management, welches die Fertigungssteuerung, das Auftragszentrum, Warehouse und IT umfasste. Zu jenem Zeitpunkt wurde ich zum Teamleiter von Fertigungssteuerung und Auftragszentrum, gleichzeitig zum stellvertretenden Abteilungsleiter des gesamten Bereichs.

Leuze: Das war ein wirklich großer Spung...

Zuva: Ja, das war es. Zudem bekam ich zum Tagesgeschäft mein erstes großes Projekt hinzu – die ERP-Einführung. Und kurz darauf, 2012, folgte schon ein Zweites: die Gründung der Produktionsgesellschaft in China.

Leuze: Da war ja Tagesgeschäft kaum mehr möglich...

Zuva: Es wurde zumindest zunehmend schwieriger. Deshalb auch die Entscheidung, mich als Mitarbeiter von Leuze electronic Assembly für sechs Monate an Leuze „auszuleihen“...

Leuze: „Ausleihen“... wie sich das anhört... das klingt ja wie ein Stück Ware...

Zuva: Nein, so war es natürlich nicht – natürlich wurde ich gefragt, und ich wollte - und wie ich wollte! Ein halbes Jahr bin ich zwischen China und Owen gependelt, habe Flugmeilen gesammelt, über 30 Flüge in nur einem Jahr...

Leuze: Puh... das war dann wirklich ein Sprung vom überschaubaren ländlichen Unterstadion nach Shenzhen in China... kein Heimweh?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil, ich hatte Blut geleckt... ich konnte meinen multikulturellen Charakter erst richtig ausleben und noch bevor das China-Projekt abgeschlossen war, bekam ich schon das nächste Angebot...

Leuze: Welches?

Zuva: Vertriebscontrolling USA.

Leuze: Das heißt, von China direkt in die USA?

Zuva: Genau... ab und zu hatte ich meinen Platz aber auch in Owen, im Controlling.

Leuze: Das war ein nächster großer Sprung für Sie...

Zuva: Ja, man hat mir viel Vertrauen entgegengebracht und ich hatte die Chance, mich in unterschiedlichsten Themengebieten und Ländern beweisen zu können.

Leuze: Wie lange waren Sie dann in den USA?

Zuva: Über ein Jahr... bis ich Ende 2013 erneut ein Angebot bekam, Beteiligungscontroller für China und USA zu werden. Dieses führte mich zurück nach Owen... Das war auch der Moment, in dem ich offiziell vom Mitarbeiter der Leuze electronic Assembly zum Mitarbeiter von Leuze wurde.

Leuze: Wenn ich gut mitgerechnet habe, müssten Sie sieben Jahre weg gewesen sein...

Zuva: Gut mitgerechnet! (lacht) – es waren auf den Tag sieben Jahre... es passte einfach alles perfekt zusammen – die erworbenen Kenntnisse, die gemachten internationalen Erfahrungen in China und USA.

Leuze: Aber heute sind Sie nicht im Controlling tätig...

Zuva: Nein, Mitte 2015 übernahm ich die Verantwortung für die Logistik in Owen und schimpfe mich heute neudeutsch Director Logistics mit vielen neuen spannenden Aufgaben und Herausforderungen...

Leuze: Ist es richtig, dass ein großes, neues Logistikcenter gebaut werden soll?

Zuva: Ja, und irgendwie schließt sich für mich damit der Kreis... Vor guten zehn Jahren wurde das erste automatisierte Kleinteilelager in Owen gebaut und ich begleitete den Aufbau als Aushilfe in der Lagerlogistik. Heute bin ich verantwortlich für die Weiterentwicklung der Logistik und dazu gehört auch ein neues AKL.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie sind jetzt der Vorgesetzte der Sensor People, die früher Ihre Kollegen waren? Gibt das keine Probleme?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil. Wir haben ein sehr gutes Mit- und Füreinander.

Leuze: Worauf führen Sie das zurück?

Zuva: Ich bin mir meiner Entwicklung bewusst, aber ich bin immer bodenständig geblieben, packe immer selbst mit an, krämpele heute die Ärmel genauso hoch wie vor zehn Jahren. Und: Ich bin vielen Menschen begegnet, die mir viel Erfahrung weitergegeben, mich auf meinem Weg und bei meinen Entscheidungen unterstützt haben und dankbar dafür, dass mir so viel Vertrauen geschenkt wurde.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, vielen Dank für das ausführliche und offene Gespräch.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

(Kopie 3)

Sensor People @ Work

They are innovators, globetrotters, organizational talents and idealists. They love unusual projects, are willing to work hard and are committed to their ideas. Employees with different passions and abilities unite to form one of the most innovative companies in the industry.

In an interview with Leuze they talked about their projects, backgrounds and challenges. 

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

[Translate to English:] Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

[Translate to English:]

Sebastian Kopp ist schon viele Jahre bei Leuze tätig. Dank der Möglichkeit, sich stets weiterzubilden, weiterzuentwickeln, neue Aufgaben und Projekte anzugehen, mehr und mehr Verantwortung zu übernehmen, hat er es geschafft, sich vom Facharbeiter zum Director Production zu entwickeln.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, Sie sind seit über elf Jahren bei Leuze... das ist schon eine lange Zeit für Ihr noch jugendliches Alter...
 
Kopp: (lacht) Danke, für das Kompliment, aber so jugendlich bin ich auch nicht mehr. Aber ja, das stimmt – 2007 startete ich als Facharbeiter in der Fertigung bei Leuze und seitdem habe ich verschiedene Stationen und Hierarchiestufen in der Produktion durchlaufen.

Leuze: Um gleich als Facharbeiter zu starten, braucht man sicher eine fachspezifische Ausbildung...

Kopp: Ja, diese habe ich. Ich habe von 1997 bis 2001 eine Ausbildung zum Elektriker und anschließend bis 2008 eine Ausbildung zum Meister gemacht. Auf diese setzte ich ein berufsbegleitendes Studium auf - seit 2015 bin ich auch Betriebswirt und verbinde damit die technische und die kaufmännischen Seite.

Leuze: Wie sind Sie einst auf Leuze gekommen?
 
Kopp: Wenn ich ehrlich bin: Es war Zufall – ich blätterte samstags in der Zeitung und mir fiel die Stellenausschreibung von Leuze auf, obgleich ich eigentlich zum damaligen Zeitpunkt gar nicht auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung war.

Leuze: Und dann haben Sie sich trotzdem beworben...
 
Kopp: Ja – und wie man sieht: nicht bereut und bis heute hängen geblieben :-)

Leuze: Wenn Sie die Fertigung 2007 mit der heutigen vergleichen – ein großer Unterschied?
 
Kopp:  Ein gewaltiger Unterschied. Selbst vor zehn Jahren waren noch maximal 80 Mitarbeiter in der Produktion beschäftigt – heute sind fast 200. Schichtbetrieb gab es damals noch nicht.

Leuze: Da haben Sie in Ihrer heutigen Funktion als Director Production ganz schön viel bewegt... Wenn ich bedenke: heute haben wir 2-Schicht- und 3-Schicht-Betrieb und Zeitversatz in den B-Baureihen...
 
Kopp: Ja, ich hatte bei Leuze immer die Chance, mich weiterzuentwickeln, Neues hinzuzulernen, anzupacken und aktiv mit zu gestalten. Das ist sicher einer der Gründe, weshalb ich mich in all den Jahren nie nach neuen Herausforderungen außerhalb dieses Unternehmens gesehnt habe.

Leuze: Das klingt gut. Um Ihren Werdegang besser zu verstehen: Vielleicht springen wir nochmals zurück auf Ihren Einstieg als Facharbeiter– wie sah Ihre weitere Vita bei Leuze konkret aus?

Kopp: Irgendwie wurde ich schon kurz nach Einstieg Gruppensprecher und schon ein Jahr später offiziell Gruppenleiter der Fertigungsgruppe Barcodeleser und betreute ein Team von zirka 15 Mitarbeitern.

Leuze: Betreuen heißt: fachlich betreuen?
 
Kopp: Fachlich und disziplinarisch. Ich bekam mit nur 27 Jahren und als relativ neuer Mitarbeiter im Unternehmen bereits die Personalverantwortung für dieses Team.

Leuze: Und das trotz der allgemeinen Wirtschaftskrise 2009, die Sie ja miterlebt haben?
 
Kopp: Klar, diese Krise ging auch an uns nicht spurlos vorüber. Es kam zur Fusion des Teams, für das ich ja bereits verantwortlich war, mit weiteren Kolleginnen und Kollegen, für die ich dann ebenfalls die Verantwortung übernahm und so zum Teamleiter von insgesamt drei Gruppen wurde.

Leuze: Das war ein großer Sprung in keiner einfachen Zeit...
 
Kopp: Das stimmt. Aber ich traute mir diesen zu und man muss auch dazu sagen: Ich war niemals auf mich alleine gestellt. Ich profitierte sehr von der langjährigen Erfahrung meiner Doppelspitze, dem damaligen Fertigungsleiter, lernte viel hinzu und nahm Tipps gerne an.

Leuze: Als Teamleiter kamen ja auch sicher viele neue Themen und Aufgaben auf Sie zu?
 
Kopp: Ja, die von Ihnen angesprochene Einführung des 2- und 3-Schichtbetriebs waren beispielsweise große Themen, aber auch die Einführung von Lean Management, Shop Floor und die Übernahme des Facility Managements. Aber genau diese neuen Aufgaben haben mich immer gereizt, man schenkte mir das Vertrauen und die Möglichkeit, mich stets weiterzubilden und zu entwickeln - und das ist nicht selbstverständlich!

Leuze: Als Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter wurden: War das OK für Ihre langjährige Doppelspitze zusammen mit Ihrem Kollegen? Kein Konkurrenzkampf?
 
Kopp: Nein, kein Konkurrenzkampf - es gab ganz offene Gespräche, und auch hier bekam ich die volle Unterstützung und Rückendeckung und bin dankbar dafür.

Leuze: Seit wann sind Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter?
 
Kopp: Offiziell seit April 2017 – also noch gar nicht so lange.

Leuze: Wie viele Headcounts verantworten Sie seitdem?
 
Kopp: Lassen Sie mich rechnen... 3 Teamleiter, 9 Produktbetreuer und 2 Personen im Facility Management. Aber ich kann mich zu 100 Prozent auf meine Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter, meine Kolleginnen und Kollegen verlassen, vertraue ihnen und traue ihnen viel zu.

Leuze: Das klingt nach einem guten Miteinander.
 
Kopp: Das ist es auch. Wir alle gehen respektvoll miteinander um, ziehen an einem Strang. Und das ist auch sehr wichtig, um die vielen Herausforderungen in einem stark wachsenden Unternehmen meistern zu können – gemeinsam.

Leuze: Ein wachsendes Unternehmen braucht auch neue Fachkräfte... Wo rekrutieren Sie diese?
 
Kopp: Die meisten wohnen, wie ich selbst, ganz in der Nähe, kennen Leuze als solides, wachsendes Unternehmen. Keiner hat Lust auf lange Wege und Rush-Hour. Sie schätzen bei uns einen zuverlässigen Auftragseingang und Schichtbetrieb.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie haben keine Wechselschicht?
 
Kopp: Ich selbst normalerweise nicht. Natürlich gibt es Zeiten, in denen Zusatzschichten gefahren werden müssen, bei mir gleichermaßen wie bei meinem Team. Dies verlangt eine gewisse Flexibilität. Aber im Grunde genommen haben alle Mitarbeiter in der Fertigung feste, verlässliche Arbeitszeiten, was aber nicht bedeutet, dass die Schichten zementiert sind. Die Kollegen haben die Möglichkeit zur Weiterbildung, können Arbeitsinseln wechseln oder auch Schichten nach Rücksprache tauschen.

Leuze: Das hört sich nach Solidität und Flexibilität gleichermaßen an. 

Kopp: Das würde ich genauso unterstreichen. Mir ist wichtig, den Mitarbeitern eine Perspektive zu geben, so wie sie auch mir immer gegeben wurde. Ich fühle mich verantwortlich für meine inhaltlich zu lösenden Aufgaben, Projekte und neuen Herausforderungen, aber ebenso für das Wohl meiner Mitarbeiter.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, vielen Dank für das freundliche Gespräch.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

[Translate to English:] Katarina Zeko, Facharbeiterin im Lager

[Translate to English:]

Katarina Zeko arbeitet seit über 20 Jahren bei Leuze. Sie brennt für ihre Aufgabe wie am ersten Tag. Als Facharbeiterin im Lager hat sie über die Jahre die Lagerlogistik aktiv und mit viel Energie mitgestaltet, vorangetrieben und zu einem familären Zusammenhalt im Team beigetragen.

Leuze: Frau Zeko, Sie gehören zu einem der Urgesteine von Leuze, die dem Unternehmen schon viele Jahre die Treue halten...

Zeko: Ja, das kann man so sagen – seit 1996 arbeite ich im Lager für Leuze.

Leuze: Schon immer hier in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: Nein – ich habe viele Jahre in der Braike in Owen gearbeitet, zeitweise auch halbtags, als meine Kinder noch klein waren.

Leuze: Was hat Sie gerade zu Leuze geführt?

Zeko: Das ist eine lange Geschichte und ein Werdegang mit Umwegen...

Leuze: Ich bin gespannt – verraten Sie mir Ihren Weg?
 
Zeko: Gerne. Eigentlich bin ich studierte Juristin.

Leuze: Juristin?

Zeko: Ja, ich bin gebürtige Kroatin. Als ich 1993 nach Deutschland kam, war ich der deutschen Sprache nicht mächtig – einen Beruf als Juristin auszuüben war also undenkbar.

Leuze: Sie sprechen aber perfekt deutsch...

Zeko: Ja, mittlerweile. Damals musste ich mir die Sprache und auch ein neues Berufsbild erst hart erarbeiten.

Leuze: Das ist Ihnen gelungen – das heißt, Sie haben umgeschult?

Zeko: Ja, ich habe nochmals eine komplett neue Ausbildung über die IHK gemacht – die Ausbildung zur Kauffrau für Bürokommunikation, in der Abendschule. Tagsüber habe ich weiterhin gearbeitet.

Leuze: Respekt! Da haben Sie auch schon bei Leuze gearbeitet?
 
Zeko: Ja, ich wohnte in Kirchheim bzw. tue das heute noch. Mir war wichtig, dass mein Arbeitgeber in der Nähe meines Wohnorts ist. Das bot mir zeitlich die meiste Flexibilität – mit der Abendschule, der Familie, später den Kindern.

Leuze: Das kann ich gut verstehen. Und warum gerade Leuze? Mit Ihrer Ausbildung waren Sie ja nicht unbedingt an die Sensorbranche gebunden...

Zeko: Das nicht, aber mir war wichtig, zu einem großen Arbeitgeber zu gehen, einem wachsenden Unternehmen mit Zukunft.

Leuze: Klein ist Leuze nicht gerade, aber auch kein Konzern...
 
Zeko: Nein, aber ein solides Unternehmen – und ein international tätiges Unterehmen dazu. Das war mir wichtig. Ein Konzern wäre für mich auch niemals in Frage gekommen...

Leuze: Was finden Sie bei Leuze, was Sie in einem Konzern nicht glauben für sich zu finden?

Zeko: Ich bin Südländerin – da zählt die Familie und der familiäre Zusammenhalt sehr viel. Und diesen finde ich auch hier bei Leuze.

Leuze: Trotz dessen, dass Leuze ja doch sehr stark gewachsen ist die letzen Jahre?
 
Zeko: Ja, in jedem Fall. Ich finde es beispielsweise schön, den Firmenmitgründer Christof Leuze und seine Familie persönlich zu kennen, zu erleben und zu wissen, für wen ich arbeite. Und umgekehrt kennt auch er die langjährigen Mitarbeiter noch alle beim Namen und besucht uns heute noch regelmäßig. Neulich hat er uns erst hier im Lager mit seinen Enkeln besucht und aus dem Nähkästchen geplaudert.

Leuze: Das ist ja nett... und wie steht es um den Zusammenhalt zwischen den Kollegen?

Zeko: Das ist ein guter Punkt – auch das meine ich mit familiärem Charakter. Wir sind hier im Lager wie eine große Familie, wir interessieren uns für einander, halten zusammen.

Leuze: Wie äußert sich dieser Zusammenhalt?

Zeko: Wir helfen uns gegenseitig, krempeln zusammen die Ärmel hoch, inklusive unserem Chef. Wir sind ein echtes Team. So ist auch die Bereitschaft zur flexiblen Arbeit in wachsenden Zeiten da. Und zur Belohnung gibt es ab und zu einen Kuchen von mir...

Leuze: Das ist ja schön – ich komme auch mal zum Kuchen testen vorbei :-) Aber Spaß beiseite: Sie selbst haben einen enormen persönlichen Beitrag dazu geleistet, dass das 6500 qm große Lager in Unterlenningen heute so aufgebaut ist wie es ist...
 
Zeko: Ja, schon. Ich habe beim Aufbau des Lagers hier viele Stunden verbracht, mir bedeutet dieses Lager sehr viel. Ich möchte, dass alle funktioniert und gut läuft und dass letztendlich unsere Kunden rechtzeitig ihre bestellten Produkte erhalten.

Leuze: Sie sind sehr engagiert…

Zeko: Das sind wir alle, aber ja, ich bin eine Macherin, im Privaten wie im Beruflichen. Alles andere wäre wider meinem Naturell. (lacht).

Leuze: Das spürt man – Sie sind mit Leib und Seele ein Sensor People :-)

Zeko: Ich möchte meine Erfahrung miteinbringen und weitergeben an die jüngeren Kollegen. Schließlich habe ich über viele Jahre hinweg die Lagerlogistik aktiv mitgestaltet und aufgebaut: Canban, Hotline, usw. ...

Leuze: Vielen Dank für das sympatische Interview, Frau Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

[Translate to English:] Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logstics

[Translate to English:]

Ibrahim Zuva hat eine Bilderbuchkarriere bei Leuze gemacht: Binnen 10 Jahren von der Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik zum Director Logistics mit der spannenden Aufgabe, ein neues, großes AKL für Leuze am Standort Owen aufzubauen.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, Sie sind noch keine 40 Jahre alt und schon Director Logistics...

Zuva: Ja, so gesehen kann ich mit U40 schon auf eine gute Karriere bei Leuze zurückblicken...

Leuze: Die wie begann?

Zuva: Die Verbundenheit zu Leuze hat sehr früh angefangen: Ich erinnere mich noch heute, wie ich früher als Kind zusammen mit meinem Vater meine Mutter und meine Oma häufiger von der Arbeit bei Leuze Textil abholte... und wie mein Vater mir aus dem Snackautomaten, den es damals schon gab, hin oder wieder einen Schokoriegel rausließ...

Leuze: So lange sind Sie schon mit dem Unternehmen verbunden?

Zuva: Ja, die halbe Familie arbeitete hier – meine Tante tut es heute noch.

Leuze: Dann sind Sie ja quasi ein richtiges „Kind“ des Unternehmens?!

Zuva: Ja, kann man schon so sagen - wobei ich nach meinem BWL-Studium an der Fachhochschule in Aalen durchaus offen und nicht fixiert war - weder auf das Arbeiten im Ländle, noch auf Leuze. Durch meine weltoffene Mentalität komme ich mit Menschen unterschiedlichster Kulturen schnell und gut zurecht.

Leuze: Ihr Name klingt nicht.direkt „schwäbisch“... darf ich fragen, wo ihre Wurzeln liegen?

Zuva: Geboren bin ich in Kirchheim/Teck. Dort habe ich auch den Großteil meines Lebens verbracht. Meine Familie kommt ursprünglich aus der Türkei. Mich selbst würde ich als schwäbischen Deutsch-Türken bezeichnen.

Leuze: Und was führte Sie in jungen Jahren trotzdem nicht in die große weite Welt, sondern ins Lenninger Tal?

Zuva: Hm, um ehrlich zu sein – trotz gutem Studienabschluss fand ich damals nicht sogleich einen Job.. wohnhaft in Kirchheim... Familie, die auch bei Leuze arbeitete... da lag es irgendwie nahe, mich hier zu bewerben.

Leuze: Das ist eine ehrliche Antwort... dann haben Sie in welcher Funktion hier begonnen?

Zuva: 2006 startete ich als Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik.

Leuze: Und gute zehn Jahre später sind Sie Director Logistics? Das ist wirklich eine schöne Karriere...

Zuva: So gesehen ja. Sicher ist vieles darauf zurückzuführen, dass ich jemand bin, der gerne anpackt, gut schwäbisch die Ärmel hochkrempelt, „schafft“. Aber ich hatte auch Glück und war zur rechten Zeit am rechten Ort und Vorgesetzte, die an mich glaubten und mir die Möglichkeit gaben, mich permanent weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Was konkret meinen Sie damit?

Zuva: 2006 wurde das erste AKL in Owen am Standort der Firmenzentrale gebaut. In dieser Zeit musste das komplette Lager nach Unterlenningen umziehen. Ich bekam die für einen Jungster sehr verantwortungvolle Aufgabe, die Produktion in Owen logistisch von Unterlenningen aus weiter zu versorgen...

Leuze: Dazu braucht man aber doch eigentlich etwas Erfahrung... oder?

Zuva: Ich machte das ja auch nicht alleine, sondern mit Unterstützung der Kollegen, die alle tatkräftig mitanpackten – ich denke, das zeichnet uns Sensor People aus – damals wie heute.

Leuze: Sie haben mich neugierig gemacht... wie ging es dann weiter in Ihrer Vita?

Zuva: Ende 2006 bewarb ich mich auf eine Sachbearbeiterstelle in der Fertigungssteuerung in unserer Tochtergesellschaft Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Dann ging alles ganz schnell. Zum 1. Januar trat ich die neue Stelle an und zog in kürzester Zeit mit Sack und Pack von Kirchheim ins Donautal.
 
Leuze: Und dann?

Zuva: Ich arbeitete in Unterstadion in einem kleinen Team von vier bis fünf Kollegen im Auftragszentrum und entwickelte mich mehr und mehr in die Rolle ihres Gruppensprechers. Zudem erweiterte sich mein Aufgabengebiet zunehmend. Ich hatte die Möglichkeit, immer Neues hinzuzulernen und mich weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Welche Aufgaben kamen zu Ihrer sachbearbeitenden Tätigkeit im Auftragszentrum beispielsweise hinzu?

Zuva: Mit der Verlagerung unserer Fertigung von Fürstenfeldbruck nach Unterstadion wurden wir zum Supply Chain Management, welches die Fertigungssteuerung, das Auftragszentrum, Warehouse und IT umfasste. Zu jenem Zeitpunkt wurde ich zum Teamleiter von Fertigungssteuerung und Auftragszentrum, gleichzeitig zum stellvertretenden Abteilungsleiter des gesamten Bereichs.

Leuze: Das war ein wirklich großer Spung...

Zuva: Ja, das war es. Zudem bekam ich zum Tagesgeschäft mein erstes großes Projekt hinzu – die ERP-Einführung. Und kurz darauf, 2012, folgte schon ein Zweites: die Gründung der Produktionsgesellschaft in China.

Leuze: Da war ja Tagesgeschäft kaum mehr möglich...

Zuva: Es wurde zumindest zunehmend schwieriger. Deshalb auch die Entscheidung, mich als Mitarbeiter von Leuze electronic Assembly für sechs Monate an Leuze „auszuleihen“...

Leuze: „Ausleihen“... wie sich das anhört... das klingt ja wie ein Stück Ware...

Zuva: Nein, so war es natürlich nicht – natürlich wurde ich gefragt, und ich wollte - und wie ich wollte! Ein halbes Jahr bin ich zwischen China und Owen gependelt, habe Flugmeilen gesammelt, über 30 Flüge in nur einem Jahr...

Leuze: Puh... das war dann wirklich ein Sprung vom überschaubaren ländlichen Unterstadion nach Shenzhen in China... kein Heimweh?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil, ich hatte Blut geleckt... ich konnte meinen multikulturellen Charakter erst richtig ausleben und noch bevor das China-Projekt abgeschlossen war, bekam ich schon das nächste Angebot...

Leuze: Welches?

Zuva: Vertriebscontrolling USA.

Leuze: Das heißt, von China direkt in die USA?

Zuva: Genau... ab und zu hatte ich meinen Platz aber auch in Owen, im Controlling.

Leuze: Das war ein nächster großer Sprung für Sie...

Zuva: Ja, man hat mir viel Vertrauen entgegengebracht und ich hatte die Chance, mich in unterschiedlichsten Themengebieten und Ländern beweisen zu können.

Leuze: Wie lange waren Sie dann in den USA?

Zuva: Über ein Jahr... bis ich Ende 2013 erneut ein Angebot bekam, Beteiligungscontroller für China und USA zu werden. Dieses führte mich zurück nach Owen... Das war auch der Moment, in dem ich offiziell vom Mitarbeiter der Leuze electronic Assembly zum Mitarbeiter von Leuze wurde.

Leuze: Wenn ich gut mitgerechnet habe, müssten Sie sieben Jahre weg gewesen sein...

Zuva: Gut mitgerechnet! (lacht) – es waren auf den Tag sieben Jahre... es passte einfach alles perfekt zusammen – die erworbenen Kenntnisse, die gemachten internationalen Erfahrungen in China und USA.

Leuze: Aber heute sind Sie nicht im Controlling tätig...

Zuva: Nein, Mitte 2015 übernahm ich die Verantwortung für die Logistik in Owen und schimpfe mich heute neudeutsch Director Logistics mit vielen neuen spannenden Aufgaben und Herausforderungen...

Leuze: Ist es richtig, dass ein großes, neues Logistikcenter gebaut werden soll?

Zuva: Ja, und irgendwie schließt sich für mich damit der Kreis... Vor guten zehn Jahren wurde das erste automatisierte Kleinteilelager in Owen gebaut und ich begleitete den Aufbau als Aushilfe in der Lagerlogistik. Heute bin ich verantwortlich für die Weiterentwicklung der Logistik und dazu gehört auch ein neues AKL.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie sind jetzt der Vorgesetzte der Sensor People, die früher Ihre Kollegen waren? Gibt das keine Probleme?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil. Wir haben ein sehr gutes Mit- und Füreinander.

Leuze: Worauf führen Sie das zurück?

Zuva: Ich bin mir meiner Entwicklung bewusst, aber ich bin immer bodenständig geblieben, packe immer selbst mit an, krämpele heute die Ärmel genauso hoch wie vor zehn Jahren. Und: Ich bin vielen Menschen begegnet, die mir viel Erfahrung weitergegeben, mich auf meinem Weg und bei meinen Entscheidungen unterstützt haben und dankbar dafür, dass mir so viel Vertrauen geschenkt wurde.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, vielen Dank für das ausführliche und offene Gespräch.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

(Kopie 2)

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

[Translate to English:] Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

[Translate to English:]

Sebastian Kopp ist schon viele Jahre bei Leuze tätig. Dank der Möglichkeit, sich stets weiterzubilden, weiterzuentwickeln, neue Aufgaben und Projekte anzugehen, mehr und mehr Verantwortung zu übernehmen, hat er es geschafft, sich vom Facharbeiter zum Director Production zu entwickeln.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, Sie sind seit über elf Jahren bei Leuze... das ist schon eine lange Zeit für Ihr noch jugendliches Alter...
 
Kopp: (lacht) Danke, für das Kompliment, aber so jugendlich bin ich auch nicht mehr. Aber ja, das stimmt – 2007 startete ich als Facharbeiter in der Fertigung bei Leuze und seitdem habe ich verschiedene Stationen und Hierarchiestufen in der Produktion durchlaufen.

Leuze: Um gleich als Facharbeiter zu starten, braucht man sicher eine fachspezifische Ausbildung...

Kopp: Ja, diese habe ich. Ich habe von 1997 bis 2001 eine Ausbildung zum Elektriker und anschließend bis 2008 eine Ausbildung zum Meister gemacht. Auf diese setzte ich ein berufsbegleitendes Studium auf - seit 2015 bin ich auch Betriebswirt und verbinde damit die technische und die kaufmännischen Seite.

Leuze: Wie sind Sie einst auf Leuze gekommen?
 
Kopp: Wenn ich ehrlich bin: Es war Zufall – ich blätterte samstags in der Zeitung und mir fiel die Stellenausschreibung von Leuze auf, obgleich ich eigentlich zum damaligen Zeitpunkt gar nicht auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung war.

Leuze: Und dann haben Sie sich trotzdem beworben...
 
Kopp: Ja – und wie man sieht: nicht bereut und bis heute hängen geblieben :-)

Leuze: Wenn Sie die Fertigung 2007 mit der heutigen vergleichen – ein großer Unterschied?
 
Kopp:  Ein gewaltiger Unterschied. Selbst vor zehn Jahren waren noch maximal 80 Mitarbeiter in der Produktion beschäftigt – heute sind fast 200. Schichtbetrieb gab es damals noch nicht.

Leuze: Da haben Sie in Ihrer heutigen Funktion als Director Production ganz schön viel bewegt... Wenn ich bedenke: heute haben wir 2-Schicht- und 3-Schicht-Betrieb und Zeitversatz in den B-Baureihen...
 
Kopp: Ja, ich hatte bei Leuze immer die Chance, mich weiterzuentwickeln, Neues hinzuzulernen, anzupacken und aktiv mit zu gestalten. Das ist sicher einer der Gründe, weshalb ich mich in all den Jahren nie nach neuen Herausforderungen außerhalb dieses Unternehmens gesehnt habe.

Leuze: Das klingt gut. Um Ihren Werdegang besser zu verstehen: Vielleicht springen wir nochmals zurück auf Ihren Einstieg als Facharbeiter– wie sah Ihre weitere Vita bei Leuze konkret aus?

Kopp: Irgendwie wurde ich schon kurz nach Einstieg Gruppensprecher und schon ein Jahr später offiziell Gruppenleiter der Fertigungsgruppe Barcodeleser und betreute ein Team von zirka 15 Mitarbeitern.

Leuze: Betreuen heißt: fachlich betreuen?
 
Kopp: Fachlich und disziplinarisch. Ich bekam mit nur 27 Jahren und als relativ neuer Mitarbeiter im Unternehmen bereits die Personalverantwortung für dieses Team.

Leuze: Und das trotz der allgemeinen Wirtschaftskrise 2009, die Sie ja miterlebt haben?
 
Kopp: Klar, diese Krise ging auch an uns nicht spurlos vorüber. Es kam zur Fusion des Teams, für das ich ja bereits verantwortlich war, mit weiteren Kolleginnen und Kollegen, für die ich dann ebenfalls die Verantwortung übernahm und so zum Teamleiter von insgesamt drei Gruppen wurde.

Leuze: Das war ein großer Sprung in keiner einfachen Zeit...
 
Kopp: Das stimmt. Aber ich traute mir diesen zu und man muss auch dazu sagen: Ich war niemals auf mich alleine gestellt. Ich profitierte sehr von der langjährigen Erfahrung meiner Doppelspitze, dem damaligen Fertigungsleiter, lernte viel hinzu und nahm Tipps gerne an.

Leuze: Als Teamleiter kamen ja auch sicher viele neue Themen und Aufgaben auf Sie zu?
 
Kopp: Ja, die von Ihnen angesprochene Einführung des 2- und 3-Schichtbetriebs waren beispielsweise große Themen, aber auch die Einführung von Lean Management, Shop Floor und die Übernahme des Facility Managements. Aber genau diese neuen Aufgaben haben mich immer gereizt, man schenkte mir das Vertrauen und die Möglichkeit, mich stets weiterzubilden und zu entwickeln - und das ist nicht selbstverständlich!

Leuze: Als Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter wurden: War das OK für Ihre langjährige Doppelspitze zusammen mit Ihrem Kollegen? Kein Konkurrenzkampf?
 
Kopp: Nein, kein Konkurrenzkampf - es gab ganz offene Gespräche, und auch hier bekam ich die volle Unterstützung und Rückendeckung und bin dankbar dafür.

Leuze: Seit wann sind Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter?
 
Kopp: Offiziell seit April 2017 – also noch gar nicht so lange.

Leuze: Wie viele Headcounts verantworten Sie seitdem?
 
Kopp: Lassen Sie mich rechnen... 3 Teamleiter, 9 Produktbetreuer und 2 Personen im Facility Management. Aber ich kann mich zu 100 Prozent auf meine Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter, meine Kolleginnen und Kollegen verlassen, vertraue ihnen und traue ihnen viel zu.

Leuze: Das klingt nach einem guten Miteinander.
 
Kopp: Das ist es auch. Wir alle gehen respektvoll miteinander um, ziehen an einem Strang. Und das ist auch sehr wichtig, um die vielen Herausforderungen in einem stark wachsenden Unternehmen meistern zu können – gemeinsam.

Leuze: Ein wachsendes Unternehmen braucht auch neue Fachkräfte... Wo rekrutieren Sie diese?
 
Kopp: Die meisten wohnen, wie ich selbst, ganz in der Nähe, kennen Leuze als solides, wachsendes Unternehmen. Keiner hat Lust auf lange Wege und Rush-Hour. Sie schätzen bei uns einen zuverlässigen Auftragseingang und Schichtbetrieb.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie haben keine Wechselschicht?
 
Kopp: Ich selbst normalerweise nicht. Natürlich gibt es Zeiten, in denen Zusatzschichten gefahren werden müssen, bei mir gleichermaßen wie bei meinem Team. Dies verlangt eine gewisse Flexibilität. Aber im Grunde genommen haben alle Mitarbeiter in der Fertigung feste, verlässliche Arbeitszeiten, was aber nicht bedeutet, dass die Schichten zementiert sind. Die Kollegen haben die Möglichkeit zur Weiterbildung, können Arbeitsinseln wechseln oder auch Schichten nach Rücksprache tauschen.

Leuze: Das hört sich nach Solidität und Flexibilität gleichermaßen an. 

Kopp: Das würde ich genauso unterstreichen. Mir ist wichtig, den Mitarbeitern eine Perspektive zu geben, so wie sie auch mir immer gegeben wurde. Ich fühle mich verantwortlich für meine inhaltlich zu lösenden Aufgaben, Projekte und neuen Herausforderungen, aber ebenso für das Wohl meiner Mitarbeiter.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, vielen Dank für das freundliche Gespräch.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

[Translate to English:] Katarina Zeko, Facharbeiterin im Lager

[Translate to English:]

Katarina Zeko arbeitet seit über 20 Jahren bei Leuze. Sie brennt für ihre Aufgabe wie am ersten Tag. Als Facharbeiterin im Lager hat sie über die Jahre die Lagerlogistik aktiv und mit viel Energie mitgestaltet, vorangetrieben und zu einem familären Zusammenhalt im Team beigetragen.

Leuze: Frau Zeko, Sie gehören zu einem der Urgesteine von Leuze, die dem Unternehmen schon viele Jahre die Treue halten...

Zeko: Ja, das kann man so sagen – seit 1996 arbeite ich im Lager für Leuze.

Leuze: Schon immer hier in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: Nein – ich habe viele Jahre in der Braike in Owen gearbeitet, zeitweise auch halbtags, als meine Kinder noch klein waren.

Leuze: Was hat Sie gerade zu Leuze geführt?

Zeko: Das ist eine lange Geschichte und ein Werdegang mit Umwegen...

Leuze: Ich bin gespannt – verraten Sie mir Ihren Weg?
 
Zeko: Gerne. Eigentlich bin ich studierte Juristin.

Leuze: Juristin?

Zeko: Ja, ich bin gebürtige Kroatin. Als ich 1993 nach Deutschland kam, war ich der deutschen Sprache nicht mächtig – einen Beruf als Juristin auszuüben war also undenkbar.

Leuze: Sie sprechen aber perfekt deutsch...

Zeko: Ja, mittlerweile. Damals musste ich mir die Sprache und auch ein neues Berufsbild erst hart erarbeiten.

Leuze: Das ist Ihnen gelungen – das heißt, Sie haben umgeschult?

Zeko: Ja, ich habe nochmals eine komplett neue Ausbildung über die IHK gemacht – die Ausbildung zur Kauffrau für Bürokommunikation, in der Abendschule. Tagsüber habe ich weiterhin gearbeitet.

Leuze: Respekt! Da haben Sie auch schon bei Leuze gearbeitet?
 
Zeko: Ja, ich wohnte in Kirchheim bzw. tue das heute noch. Mir war wichtig, dass mein Arbeitgeber in der Nähe meines Wohnorts ist. Das bot mir zeitlich die meiste Flexibilität – mit der Abendschule, der Familie, später den Kindern.

Leuze: Das kann ich gut verstehen. Und warum gerade Leuze? Mit Ihrer Ausbildung waren Sie ja nicht unbedingt an die Sensorbranche gebunden...

Zeko: Das nicht, aber mir war wichtig, zu einem großen Arbeitgeber zu gehen, einem wachsenden Unternehmen mit Zukunft.

Leuze: Klein ist Leuze nicht gerade, aber auch kein Konzern...
 
Zeko: Nein, aber ein solides Unternehmen – und ein international tätiges Unterehmen dazu. Das war mir wichtig. Ein Konzern wäre für mich auch niemals in Frage gekommen...

Leuze: Was finden Sie bei Leuze, was Sie in einem Konzern nicht glauben für sich zu finden?

Zeko: Ich bin Südländerin – da zählt die Familie und der familiäre Zusammenhalt sehr viel. Und diesen finde ich auch hier bei Leuze.

Leuze: Trotz dessen, dass Leuze ja doch sehr stark gewachsen ist die letzen Jahre?
 
Zeko: Ja, in jedem Fall. Ich finde es beispielsweise schön, den Firmenmitgründer Christof Leuze und seine Familie persönlich zu kennen, zu erleben und zu wissen, für wen ich arbeite. Und umgekehrt kennt auch er die langjährigen Mitarbeiter noch alle beim Namen und besucht uns heute noch regelmäßig. Neulich hat er uns erst hier im Lager mit seinen Enkeln besucht und aus dem Nähkästchen geplaudert.

Leuze: Das ist ja nett... und wie steht es um den Zusammenhalt zwischen den Kollegen?

Zeko: Das ist ein guter Punkt – auch das meine ich mit familiärem Charakter. Wir sind hier im Lager wie eine große Familie, wir interessieren uns für einander, halten zusammen.

Leuze: Wie äußert sich dieser Zusammenhalt?

Zeko: Wir helfen uns gegenseitig, krempeln zusammen die Ärmel hoch, inklusive unserem Chef. Wir sind ein echtes Team. So ist auch die Bereitschaft zur flexiblen Arbeit in wachsenden Zeiten da. Und zur Belohnung gibt es ab und zu einen Kuchen von mir...

Leuze: Das ist ja schön – ich komme auch mal zum Kuchen testen vorbei :-) Aber Spaß beiseite: Sie selbst haben einen enormen persönlichen Beitrag dazu geleistet, dass das 6500 qm große Lager in Unterlenningen heute so aufgebaut ist wie es ist...
 
Zeko: Ja, schon. Ich habe beim Aufbau des Lagers hier viele Stunden verbracht, mir bedeutet dieses Lager sehr viel. Ich möchte, dass alle funktioniert und gut läuft und dass letztendlich unsere Kunden rechtzeitig ihre bestellten Produkte erhalten.

Leuze: Sie sind sehr engagiert…

Zeko: Das sind wir alle, aber ja, ich bin eine Macherin, im Privaten wie im Beruflichen. Alles andere wäre wider meinem Naturell. (lacht).

Leuze: Das spürt man – Sie sind mit Leib und Seele ein Sensor People :-)

Zeko: Ich möchte meine Erfahrung miteinbringen und weitergeben an die jüngeren Kollegen. Schließlich habe ich über viele Jahre hinweg die Lagerlogistik aktiv mitgestaltet und aufgebaut: Canban, Hotline, usw. ...

Leuze: Vielen Dank für das sympatische Interview, Frau Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

[Translate to English:] Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logstics

[Translate to English:]

Ibrahim Zuva hat eine Bilderbuchkarriere bei Leuze gemacht: Binnen 10 Jahren von der Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik zum Director Logistics mit der spannenden Aufgabe, ein neues, großes AKL für Leuze am Standort Owen aufzubauen.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, Sie sind noch keine 40 Jahre alt und schon Director Logistics...

Zuva: Ja, so gesehen kann ich mit U40 schon auf eine gute Karriere bei Leuze zurückblicken...

Leuze: Die wie begann?

Zuva: Die Verbundenheit zu Leuze hat sehr früh angefangen: Ich erinnere mich noch heute, wie ich früher als Kind zusammen mit meinem Vater meine Mutter und meine Oma häufiger von der Arbeit bei Leuze Textil abholte... und wie mein Vater mir aus dem Snackautomaten, den es damals schon gab, hin oder wieder einen Schokoriegel rausließ...

Leuze: So lange sind Sie schon mit dem Unternehmen verbunden?

Zuva: Ja, die halbe Familie arbeitete hier – meine Tante tut es heute noch.

Leuze: Dann sind Sie ja quasi ein richtiges „Kind“ des Unternehmens?!

Zuva: Ja, kann man schon so sagen - wobei ich nach meinem BWL-Studium an der Fachhochschule in Aalen durchaus offen und nicht fixiert war - weder auf das Arbeiten im Ländle, noch auf Leuze. Durch meine weltoffene Mentalität komme ich mit Menschen unterschiedlichster Kulturen schnell und gut zurecht.

Leuze: Ihr Name klingt nicht.direkt „schwäbisch“... darf ich fragen, wo ihre Wurzeln liegen?

Zuva: Geboren bin ich in Kirchheim/Teck. Dort habe ich auch den Großteil meines Lebens verbracht. Meine Familie kommt ursprünglich aus der Türkei. Mich selbst würde ich als schwäbischen Deutsch-Türken bezeichnen.

Leuze: Und was führte Sie in jungen Jahren trotzdem nicht in die große weite Welt, sondern ins Lenninger Tal?

Zuva: Hm, um ehrlich zu sein – trotz gutem Studienabschluss fand ich damals nicht sogleich einen Job.. wohnhaft in Kirchheim... Familie, die auch bei Leuze arbeitete... da lag es irgendwie nahe, mich hier zu bewerben.

Leuze: Das ist eine ehrliche Antwort... dann haben Sie in welcher Funktion hier begonnen?

Zuva: 2006 startete ich als Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik.

Leuze: Und gute zehn Jahre später sind Sie Director Logistics? Das ist wirklich eine schöne Karriere...

Zuva: So gesehen ja. Sicher ist vieles darauf zurückzuführen, dass ich jemand bin, der gerne anpackt, gut schwäbisch die Ärmel hochkrempelt, „schafft“. Aber ich hatte auch Glück und war zur rechten Zeit am rechten Ort und Vorgesetzte, die an mich glaubten und mir die Möglichkeit gaben, mich permanent weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Was konkret meinen Sie damit?

Zuva: 2006 wurde das erste AKL in Owen am Standort der Firmenzentrale gebaut. In dieser Zeit musste das komplette Lager nach Unterlenningen umziehen. Ich bekam die für einen Jungster sehr verantwortungvolle Aufgabe, die Produktion in Owen logistisch von Unterlenningen aus weiter zu versorgen...

Leuze: Dazu braucht man aber doch eigentlich etwas Erfahrung... oder?

Zuva: Ich machte das ja auch nicht alleine, sondern mit Unterstützung der Kollegen, die alle tatkräftig mitanpackten – ich denke, das zeichnet uns Sensor People aus – damals wie heute.

Leuze: Sie haben mich neugierig gemacht... wie ging es dann weiter in Ihrer Vita?

Zuva: Ende 2006 bewarb ich mich auf eine Sachbearbeiterstelle in der Fertigungssteuerung in unserer Tochtergesellschaft Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Dann ging alles ganz schnell. Zum 1. Januar trat ich die neue Stelle an und zog in kürzester Zeit mit Sack und Pack von Kirchheim ins Donautal.
 
Leuze: Und dann?

Zuva: Ich arbeitete in Unterstadion in einem kleinen Team von vier bis fünf Kollegen im Auftragszentrum und entwickelte mich mehr und mehr in die Rolle ihres Gruppensprechers. Zudem erweiterte sich mein Aufgabengebiet zunehmend. Ich hatte die Möglichkeit, immer Neues hinzuzulernen und mich weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Welche Aufgaben kamen zu Ihrer sachbearbeitenden Tätigkeit im Auftragszentrum beispielsweise hinzu?

Zuva: Mit der Verlagerung unserer Fertigung von Fürstenfeldbruck nach Unterstadion wurden wir zum Supply Chain Management, welches die Fertigungssteuerung, das Auftragszentrum, Warehouse und IT umfasste. Zu jenem Zeitpunkt wurde ich zum Teamleiter von Fertigungssteuerung und Auftragszentrum, gleichzeitig zum stellvertretenden Abteilungsleiter des gesamten Bereichs.

Leuze: Das war ein wirklich großer Spung...

Zuva: Ja, das war es. Zudem bekam ich zum Tagesgeschäft mein erstes großes Projekt hinzu – die ERP-Einführung. Und kurz darauf, 2012, folgte schon ein Zweites: die Gründung der Produktionsgesellschaft in China.

Leuze: Da war ja Tagesgeschäft kaum mehr möglich...

Zuva: Es wurde zumindest zunehmend schwieriger. Deshalb auch die Entscheidung, mich als Mitarbeiter von Leuze electronic Assembly für sechs Monate an Leuze „auszuleihen“...

Leuze: „Ausleihen“... wie sich das anhört... das klingt ja wie ein Stück Ware...

Zuva: Nein, so war es natürlich nicht – natürlich wurde ich gefragt, und ich wollte - und wie ich wollte! Ein halbes Jahr bin ich zwischen China und Owen gependelt, habe Flugmeilen gesammelt, über 30 Flüge in nur einem Jahr...

Leuze: Puh... das war dann wirklich ein Sprung vom überschaubaren ländlichen Unterstadion nach Shenzhen in China... kein Heimweh?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil, ich hatte Blut geleckt... ich konnte meinen multikulturellen Charakter erst richtig ausleben und noch bevor das China-Projekt abgeschlossen war, bekam ich schon das nächste Angebot...

Leuze: Welches?

Zuva: Vertriebscontrolling USA.

Leuze: Das heißt, von China direkt in die USA?

Zuva: Genau... ab und zu hatte ich meinen Platz aber auch in Owen, im Controlling.

Leuze: Das war ein nächster großer Sprung für Sie...

Zuva: Ja, man hat mir viel Vertrauen entgegengebracht und ich hatte die Chance, mich in unterschiedlichsten Themengebieten und Ländern beweisen zu können.

Leuze: Wie lange waren Sie dann in den USA?

Zuva: Über ein Jahr... bis ich Ende 2013 erneut ein Angebot bekam, Beteiligungscontroller für China und USA zu werden. Dieses führte mich zurück nach Owen... Das war auch der Moment, in dem ich offiziell vom Mitarbeiter der Leuze electronic Assembly zum Mitarbeiter von Leuze wurde.

Leuze: Wenn ich gut mitgerechnet habe, müssten Sie sieben Jahre weg gewesen sein...

Zuva: Gut mitgerechnet! (lacht) – es waren auf den Tag sieben Jahre... es passte einfach alles perfekt zusammen – die erworbenen Kenntnisse, die gemachten internationalen Erfahrungen in China und USA.

Leuze: Aber heute sind Sie nicht im Controlling tätig...

Zuva: Nein, Mitte 2015 übernahm ich die Verantwortung für die Logistik in Owen und schimpfe mich heute neudeutsch Director Logistics mit vielen neuen spannenden Aufgaben und Herausforderungen...

Leuze: Ist es richtig, dass ein großes, neues Logistikcenter gebaut werden soll?

Zuva: Ja, und irgendwie schließt sich für mich damit der Kreis... Vor guten zehn Jahren wurde das erste automatisierte Kleinteilelager in Owen gebaut und ich begleitete den Aufbau als Aushilfe in der Lagerlogistik. Heute bin ich verantwortlich für die Weiterentwicklung der Logistik und dazu gehört auch ein neues AKL.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie sind jetzt der Vorgesetzte der Sensor People, die früher Ihre Kollegen waren? Gibt das keine Probleme?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil. Wir haben ein sehr gutes Mit- und Füreinander.

Leuze: Worauf führen Sie das zurück?

Zuva: Ich bin mir meiner Entwicklung bewusst, aber ich bin immer bodenständig geblieben, packe immer selbst mit an, krämpele heute die Ärmel genauso hoch wie vor zehn Jahren. Und: Ich bin vielen Menschen begegnet, die mir viel Erfahrung weitergegeben, mich auf meinem Weg und bei meinen Entscheidungen unterstützt haben und dankbar dafür, dass mir so viel Vertrauen geschenkt wurde.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, vielen Dank für das ausführliche und offene Gespräch.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

[Translate to English:] Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

[Translate to English:]

Sebastian Kopp ist schon viele Jahre bei Leuze tätig. Dank der Möglichkeit, sich stets weiterzubilden, weiterzuentwickeln, neue Aufgaben und Projekte anzugehen, mehr und mehr Verantwortung zu übernehmen, hat er es geschafft, sich vom Facharbeiter zum Director Production zu entwickeln.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, Sie sind seit über elf Jahren bei Leuze... das ist schon eine lange Zeit für Ihr noch jugendliches Alter...
 
Kopp: (lacht) Danke, für das Kompliment, aber so jugendlich bin ich auch nicht mehr. Aber ja, das stimmt – 2007 startete ich als Facharbeiter in der Fertigung bei Leuze und seitdem habe ich verschiedene Stationen und Hierarchiestufen in der Produktion durchlaufen.

Leuze: Um gleich als Facharbeiter zu starten, braucht man sicher eine fachspezifische Ausbildung...

Kopp: Ja, diese habe ich. Ich habe von 1997 bis 2001 eine Ausbildung zum Elektriker und anschließend bis 2008 eine Ausbildung zum Meister gemacht. Auf diese setzte ich ein berufsbegleitendes Studium auf - seit 2015 bin ich auch Betriebswirt und verbinde damit die technische und die kaufmännischen Seite.

Leuze: Wie sind Sie einst auf Leuze gekommen?
 
Kopp: Wenn ich ehrlich bin: Es war Zufall – ich blätterte samstags in der Zeitung und mir fiel die Stellenausschreibung von Leuze auf, obgleich ich eigentlich zum damaligen Zeitpunkt gar nicht auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung war.

Leuze: Und dann haben Sie sich trotzdem beworben...
 
Kopp: Ja – und wie man sieht: nicht bereut und bis heute hängen geblieben :-)

Leuze: Wenn Sie die Fertigung 2007 mit der heutigen vergleichen – ein großer Unterschied?
 
Kopp:  Ein gewaltiger Unterschied. Selbst vor zehn Jahren waren noch maximal 80 Mitarbeiter in der Produktion beschäftigt – heute sind fast 200. Schichtbetrieb gab es damals noch nicht.

Leuze: Da haben Sie in Ihrer heutigen Funktion als Director Production ganz schön viel bewegt... Wenn ich bedenke: heute haben wir 2-Schicht- und 3-Schicht-Betrieb und Zeitversatz in den B-Baureihen...
 
Kopp: Ja, ich hatte bei Leuze immer die Chance, mich weiterzuentwickeln, Neues hinzuzulernen, anzupacken und aktiv mit zu gestalten. Das ist sicher einer der Gründe, weshalb ich mich in all den Jahren nie nach neuen Herausforderungen außerhalb dieses Unternehmens gesehnt habe.

Leuze: Das klingt gut. Um Ihren Werdegang besser zu verstehen: Vielleicht springen wir nochmals zurück auf Ihren Einstieg als Facharbeiter– wie sah Ihre weitere Vita bei Leuze konkret aus?

Kopp: Irgendwie wurde ich schon kurz nach Einstieg Gruppensprecher und schon ein Jahr später offiziell Gruppenleiter der Fertigungsgruppe Barcodeleser und betreute ein Team von zirka 15 Mitarbeitern.

Leuze: Betreuen heißt: fachlich betreuen?
 
Kopp: Fachlich und disziplinarisch. Ich bekam mit nur 27 Jahren und als relativ neuer Mitarbeiter im Unternehmen bereits die Personalverantwortung für dieses Team.

Leuze: Und das trotz der allgemeinen Wirtschaftskrise 2009, die Sie ja miterlebt haben?
 
Kopp: Klar, diese Krise ging auch an uns nicht spurlos vorüber. Es kam zur Fusion des Teams, für das ich ja bereits verantwortlich war, mit weiteren Kolleginnen und Kollegen, für die ich dann ebenfalls die Verantwortung übernahm und so zum Teamleiter von insgesamt drei Gruppen wurde.

Leuze: Das war ein großer Sprung in keiner einfachen Zeit...
 
Kopp: Das stimmt. Aber ich traute mir diesen zu und man muss auch dazu sagen: Ich war niemals auf mich alleine gestellt. Ich profitierte sehr von der langjährigen Erfahrung meiner Doppelspitze, dem damaligen Fertigungsleiter, lernte viel hinzu und nahm Tipps gerne an.

Leuze: Als Teamleiter kamen ja auch sicher viele neue Themen und Aufgaben auf Sie zu?
 
Kopp: Ja, die von Ihnen angesprochene Einführung des 2- und 3-Schichtbetriebs waren beispielsweise große Themen, aber auch die Einführung von Lean Management, Shop Floor und die Übernahme des Facility Managements. Aber genau diese neuen Aufgaben haben mich immer gereizt, man schenkte mir das Vertrauen und die Möglichkeit, mich stets weiterzubilden und zu entwickeln - und das ist nicht selbstverständlich!

Leuze: Als Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter wurden: War das OK für Ihre langjährige Doppelspitze zusammen mit Ihrem Kollegen? Kein Konkurrenzkampf?
 
Kopp: Nein, kein Konkurrenzkampf - es gab ganz offene Gespräche, und auch hier bekam ich die volle Unterstützung und Rückendeckung und bin dankbar dafür.

Leuze: Seit wann sind Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter?
 
Kopp: Offiziell seit April 2017 – also noch gar nicht so lange.

Leuze: Wie viele Headcounts verantworten Sie seitdem?
 
Kopp: Lassen Sie mich rechnen... 3 Teamleiter, 9 Produktbetreuer und 2 Personen im Facility Management. Aber ich kann mich zu 100 Prozent auf meine Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter, meine Kolleginnen und Kollegen verlassen, vertraue ihnen und traue ihnen viel zu.

Leuze: Das klingt nach einem guten Miteinander.
 
Kopp: Das ist es auch. Wir alle gehen respektvoll miteinander um, ziehen an einem Strang. Und das ist auch sehr wichtig, um die vielen Herausforderungen in einem stark wachsenden Unternehmen meistern zu können – gemeinsam.

Leuze: Ein wachsendes Unternehmen braucht auch neue Fachkräfte... Wo rekrutieren Sie diese?
 
Kopp: Die meisten wohnen, wie ich selbst, ganz in der Nähe, kennen Leuze als solides, wachsendes Unternehmen. Keiner hat Lust auf lange Wege und Rush-Hour. Sie schätzen bei uns einen zuverlässigen Auftragseingang und Schichtbetrieb.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie haben keine Wechselschicht?
 
Kopp: Ich selbst normalerweise nicht. Natürlich gibt es Zeiten, in denen Zusatzschichten gefahren werden müssen, bei mir gleichermaßen wie bei meinem Team. Dies verlangt eine gewisse Flexibilität. Aber im Grunde genommen haben alle Mitarbeiter in der Fertigung feste, verlässliche Arbeitszeiten, was aber nicht bedeutet, dass die Schichten zementiert sind. Die Kollegen haben die Möglichkeit zur Weiterbildung, können Arbeitsinseln wechseln oder auch Schichten nach Rücksprache tauschen.

Leuze: Das hört sich nach Solidität und Flexibilität gleichermaßen an. 

Kopp: Das würde ich genauso unterstreichen. Mir ist wichtig, den Mitarbeitern eine Perspektive zu geben, so wie sie auch mir immer gegeben wurde. Ich fühle mich verantwortlich für meine inhaltlich zu lösenden Aufgaben, Projekte und neuen Herausforderungen, aber ebenso für das Wohl meiner Mitarbeiter.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, vielen Dank für das freundliche Gespräch.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

[Translate to English:] Katarina Zeko, Facharbeiterin im Lager

[Translate to English:]

Katarina Zeko arbeitet seit über 20 Jahren bei Leuze. Sie brennt für ihre Aufgabe wie am ersten Tag. Als Facharbeiterin im Lager hat sie über die Jahre die Lagerlogistik aktiv und mit viel Energie mitgestaltet, vorangetrieben und zu einem familären Zusammenhalt im Team beigetragen.

Leuze: Frau Zeko, Sie gehören zu einem der Urgesteine von Leuze, die dem Unternehmen schon viele Jahre die Treue halten...

Zeko: Ja, das kann man so sagen – seit 1996 arbeite ich im Lager für Leuze.

Leuze: Schon immer hier in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: Nein – ich habe viele Jahre in der Braike in Owen gearbeitet, zeitweise auch halbtags, als meine Kinder noch klein waren.

Leuze: Was hat Sie gerade zu Leuze geführt?

Zeko: Das ist eine lange Geschichte und ein Werdegang mit Umwegen...

Leuze: Ich bin gespannt – verraten Sie mir Ihren Weg?
 
Zeko: Gerne. Eigentlich bin ich studierte Juristin.

Leuze: Juristin?

Zeko: Ja, ich bin gebürtige Kroatin. Als ich 1993 nach Deutschland kam, war ich der deutschen Sprache nicht mächtig – einen Beruf als Juristin auszuüben war also undenkbar.

Leuze: Sie sprechen aber perfekt deutsch...

Zeko: Ja, mittlerweile. Damals musste ich mir die Sprache und auch ein neues Berufsbild erst hart erarbeiten.

Leuze: Das ist Ihnen gelungen – das heißt, Sie haben umgeschult?

Zeko: Ja, ich habe nochmals eine komplett neue Ausbildung über die IHK gemacht – die Ausbildung zur Kauffrau für Bürokommunikation, in der Abendschule. Tagsüber habe ich weiterhin gearbeitet.

Leuze: Respekt! Da haben Sie auch schon bei Leuze gearbeitet?
 
Zeko: Ja, ich wohnte in Kirchheim bzw. tue das heute noch. Mir war wichtig, dass mein Arbeitgeber in der Nähe meines Wohnorts ist. Das bot mir zeitlich die meiste Flexibilität – mit der Abendschule, der Familie, später den Kindern.

Leuze: Das kann ich gut verstehen. Und warum gerade Leuze? Mit Ihrer Ausbildung waren Sie ja nicht unbedingt an die Sensorbranche gebunden...

Zeko: Das nicht, aber mir war wichtig, zu einem großen Arbeitgeber zu gehen, einem wachsenden Unternehmen mit Zukunft.

Leuze: Klein ist Leuze nicht gerade, aber auch kein Konzern...
 
Zeko: Nein, aber ein solides Unternehmen – und ein international tätiges Unterehmen dazu. Das war mir wichtig. Ein Konzern wäre für mich auch niemals in Frage gekommen...

Leuze: Was finden Sie bei Leuze, was Sie in einem Konzern nicht glauben für sich zu finden?

Zeko: Ich bin Südländerin – da zählt die Familie und der familiäre Zusammenhalt sehr viel. Und diesen finde ich auch hier bei Leuze.

Leuze: Trotz dessen, dass Leuze ja doch sehr stark gewachsen ist die letzen Jahre?
 
Zeko: Ja, in jedem Fall. Ich finde es beispielsweise schön, den Firmenmitgründer Christof Leuze und seine Familie persönlich zu kennen, zu erleben und zu wissen, für wen ich arbeite. Und umgekehrt kennt auch er die langjährigen Mitarbeiter noch alle beim Namen und besucht uns heute noch regelmäßig. Neulich hat er uns erst hier im Lager mit seinen Enkeln besucht und aus dem Nähkästchen geplaudert.

Leuze: Das ist ja nett... und wie steht es um den Zusammenhalt zwischen den Kollegen?

Zeko: Das ist ein guter Punkt – auch das meine ich mit familiärem Charakter. Wir sind hier im Lager wie eine große Familie, wir interessieren uns für einander, halten zusammen.

Leuze: Wie äußert sich dieser Zusammenhalt?

Zeko: Wir helfen uns gegenseitig, krempeln zusammen die Ärmel hoch, inklusive unserem Chef. Wir sind ein echtes Team. So ist auch die Bereitschaft zur flexiblen Arbeit in wachsenden Zeiten da. Und zur Belohnung gibt es ab und zu einen Kuchen von mir...

Leuze: Das ist ja schön – ich komme auch mal zum Kuchen testen vorbei :-) Aber Spaß beiseite: Sie selbst haben einen enormen persönlichen Beitrag dazu geleistet, dass das 6500 qm große Lager in Unterlenningen heute so aufgebaut ist wie es ist...
 
Zeko: Ja, schon. Ich habe beim Aufbau des Lagers hier viele Stunden verbracht, mir bedeutet dieses Lager sehr viel. Ich möchte, dass alle funktioniert und gut läuft und dass letztendlich unsere Kunden rechtzeitig ihre bestellten Produkte erhalten.

Leuze: Sie sind sehr engagiert…

Zeko: Das sind wir alle, aber ja, ich bin eine Macherin, im Privaten wie im Beruflichen. Alles andere wäre wider meinem Naturell. (lacht).

Leuze: Das spürt man – Sie sind mit Leib und Seele ein Sensor People :-)

Zeko: Ich möchte meine Erfahrung miteinbringen und weitergeben an die jüngeren Kollegen. Schließlich habe ich über viele Jahre hinweg die Lagerlogistik aktiv mitgestaltet und aufgebaut: Canban, Hotline, usw. ...

Leuze: Vielen Dank für das sympatische Interview, Frau Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

[Translate to English:] Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logstics

[Translate to English:]

Ibrahim Zuva hat eine Bilderbuchkarriere bei Leuze gemacht: Binnen 10 Jahren von der Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik zum Director Logistics mit der spannenden Aufgabe, ein neues, großes AKL für Leuze am Standort Owen aufzubauen.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, Sie sind noch keine 40 Jahre alt und schon Director Logistics...

Zuva: Ja, so gesehen kann ich mit U40 schon auf eine gute Karriere bei Leuze zurückblicken...

Leuze: Die wie begann?

Zuva: Die Verbundenheit zu Leuze hat sehr früh angefangen: Ich erinnere mich noch heute, wie ich früher als Kind zusammen mit meinem Vater meine Mutter und meine Oma häufiger von der Arbeit bei Leuze Textil abholte... und wie mein Vater mir aus dem Snackautomaten, den es damals schon gab, hin oder wieder einen Schokoriegel rausließ...

Leuze: So lange sind Sie schon mit dem Unternehmen verbunden?

Zuva: Ja, die halbe Familie arbeitete hier – meine Tante tut es heute noch.

Leuze: Dann sind Sie ja quasi ein richtiges „Kind“ des Unternehmens?!

Zuva: Ja, kann man schon so sagen - wobei ich nach meinem BWL-Studium an der Fachhochschule in Aalen durchaus offen und nicht fixiert war - weder auf das Arbeiten im Ländle, noch auf Leuze. Durch meine weltoffene Mentalität komme ich mit Menschen unterschiedlichster Kulturen schnell und gut zurecht.

Leuze: Ihr Name klingt nicht.direkt „schwäbisch“... darf ich fragen, wo ihre Wurzeln liegen?

Zuva: Geboren bin ich in Kirchheim/Teck. Dort habe ich auch den Großteil meines Lebens verbracht. Meine Familie kommt ursprünglich aus der Türkei. Mich selbst würde ich als schwäbischen Deutsch-Türken bezeichnen.

Leuze: Und was führte Sie in jungen Jahren trotzdem nicht in die große weite Welt, sondern ins Lenninger Tal?

Zuva: Hm, um ehrlich zu sein – trotz gutem Studienabschluss fand ich damals nicht sogleich einen Job.. wohnhaft in Kirchheim... Familie, die auch bei Leuze arbeitete... da lag es irgendwie nahe, mich hier zu bewerben.

Leuze: Das ist eine ehrliche Antwort... dann haben Sie in welcher Funktion hier begonnen?

Zuva: 2006 startete ich als Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik.

Leuze: Und gute zehn Jahre später sind Sie Director Logistics? Das ist wirklich eine schöne Karriere...

Zuva: So gesehen ja. Sicher ist vieles darauf zurückzuführen, dass ich jemand bin, der gerne anpackt, gut schwäbisch die Ärmel hochkrempelt, „schafft“. Aber ich hatte auch Glück und war zur rechten Zeit am rechten Ort und Vorgesetzte, die an mich glaubten und mir die Möglichkeit gaben, mich permanent weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Was konkret meinen Sie damit?

Zuva: 2006 wurde das erste AKL in Owen am Standort der Firmenzentrale gebaut. In dieser Zeit musste das komplette Lager nach Unterlenningen umziehen. Ich bekam die für einen Jungster sehr verantwortungvolle Aufgabe, die Produktion in Owen logistisch von Unterlenningen aus weiter zu versorgen...

Leuze: Dazu braucht man aber doch eigentlich etwas Erfahrung... oder?

Zuva: Ich machte das ja auch nicht alleine, sondern mit Unterstützung der Kollegen, die alle tatkräftig mitanpackten – ich denke, das zeichnet uns Sensor People aus – damals wie heute.

Leuze: Sie haben mich neugierig gemacht... wie ging es dann weiter in Ihrer Vita?

Zuva: Ende 2006 bewarb ich mich auf eine Sachbearbeiterstelle in der Fertigungssteuerung in unserer Tochtergesellschaft Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Dann ging alles ganz schnell. Zum 1. Januar trat ich die neue Stelle an und zog in kürzester Zeit mit Sack und Pack von Kirchheim ins Donautal.
 
Leuze: Und dann?

Zuva: Ich arbeitete in Unterstadion in einem kleinen Team von vier bis fünf Kollegen im Auftragszentrum und entwickelte mich mehr und mehr in die Rolle ihres Gruppensprechers. Zudem erweiterte sich mein Aufgabengebiet zunehmend. Ich hatte die Möglichkeit, immer Neues hinzuzulernen und mich weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Welche Aufgaben kamen zu Ihrer sachbearbeitenden Tätigkeit im Auftragszentrum beispielsweise hinzu?

Zuva: Mit der Verlagerung unserer Fertigung von Fürstenfeldbruck nach Unterstadion wurden wir zum Supply Chain Management, welches die Fertigungssteuerung, das Auftragszentrum, Warehouse und IT umfasste. Zu jenem Zeitpunkt wurde ich zum Teamleiter von Fertigungssteuerung und Auftragszentrum, gleichzeitig zum stellvertretenden Abteilungsleiter des gesamten Bereichs.

Leuze: Das war ein wirklich großer Spung...

Zuva: Ja, das war es. Zudem bekam ich zum Tagesgeschäft mein erstes großes Projekt hinzu – die ERP-Einführung. Und kurz darauf, 2012, folgte schon ein Zweites: die Gründung der Produktionsgesellschaft in China.

Leuze: Da war ja Tagesgeschäft kaum mehr möglich...

Zuva: Es wurde zumindest zunehmend schwieriger. Deshalb auch die Entscheidung, mich als Mitarbeiter von Leuze electronic Assembly für sechs Monate an Leuze „auszuleihen“...

Leuze: „Ausleihen“... wie sich das anhört... das klingt ja wie ein Stück Ware...

Zuva: Nein, so war es natürlich nicht – natürlich wurde ich gefragt, und ich wollte - und wie ich wollte! Ein halbes Jahr bin ich zwischen China und Owen gependelt, habe Flugmeilen gesammelt, über 30 Flüge in nur einem Jahr...

Leuze: Puh... das war dann wirklich ein Sprung vom überschaubaren ländlichen Unterstadion nach Shenzhen in China... kein Heimweh?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil, ich hatte Blut geleckt... ich konnte meinen multikulturellen Charakter erst richtig ausleben und noch bevor das China-Projekt abgeschlossen war, bekam ich schon das nächste Angebot...

Leuze: Welches?

Zuva: Vertriebscontrolling USA.

Leuze: Das heißt, von China direkt in die USA?

Zuva: Genau... ab und zu hatte ich meinen Platz aber auch in Owen, im Controlling.

Leuze: Das war ein nächster großer Sprung für Sie...

Zuva: Ja, man hat mir viel Vertrauen entgegengebracht und ich hatte die Chance, mich in unterschiedlichsten Themengebieten und Ländern beweisen zu können.

Leuze: Wie lange waren Sie dann in den USA?

Zuva: Über ein Jahr... bis ich Ende 2013 erneut ein Angebot bekam, Beteiligungscontroller für China und USA zu werden. Dieses führte mich zurück nach Owen... Das war auch der Moment, in dem ich offiziell vom Mitarbeiter der Leuze electronic Assembly zum Mitarbeiter von Leuze wurde.

Leuze: Wenn ich gut mitgerechnet habe, müssten Sie sieben Jahre weg gewesen sein...

Zuva: Gut mitgerechnet! (lacht) – es waren auf den Tag sieben Jahre... es passte einfach alles perfekt zusammen – die erworbenen Kenntnisse, die gemachten internationalen Erfahrungen in China und USA.

Leuze: Aber heute sind Sie nicht im Controlling tätig...

Zuva: Nein, Mitte 2015 übernahm ich die Verantwortung für die Logistik in Owen und schimpfe mich heute neudeutsch Director Logistics mit vielen neuen spannenden Aufgaben und Herausforderungen...

Leuze: Ist es richtig, dass ein großes, neues Logistikcenter gebaut werden soll?

Zuva: Ja, und irgendwie schließt sich für mich damit der Kreis... Vor guten zehn Jahren wurde das erste automatisierte Kleinteilelager in Owen gebaut und ich begleitete den Aufbau als Aushilfe in der Lagerlogistik. Heute bin ich verantwortlich für die Weiterentwicklung der Logistik und dazu gehört auch ein neues AKL.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie sind jetzt der Vorgesetzte der Sensor People, die früher Ihre Kollegen waren? Gibt das keine Probleme?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil. Wir haben ein sehr gutes Mit- und Füreinander.

Leuze: Worauf führen Sie das zurück?

Zuva: Ich bin mir meiner Entwicklung bewusst, aber ich bin immer bodenständig geblieben, packe immer selbst mit an, krämpele heute die Ärmel genauso hoch wie vor zehn Jahren. Und: Ich bin vielen Menschen begegnet, die mir viel Erfahrung weitergegeben, mich auf meinem Weg und bei meinen Entscheidungen unterstützt haben und dankbar dafür, dass mir so viel Vertrauen geschenkt wurde.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, vielen Dank für das ausführliche und offene Gespräch.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

Sensor People @ Work

They are innovators, globetrotters, organizational talents and idealists. They love unusual projects, are willing to work hard and are committed to their ideas. Employees with different passions and abilities unite to form one of the most innovative companies in the industry.

In an interview with Leuze they talked about their projects, backgrounds and challenges. 

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

[Translate to English:] Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

[Translate to English:]

Sebastian Kopp ist schon viele Jahre bei Leuze tätig. Dank der Möglichkeit, sich stets weiterzubilden, weiterzuentwickeln, neue Aufgaben und Projekte anzugehen, mehr und mehr Verantwortung zu übernehmen, hat er es geschafft, sich vom Facharbeiter zum Director Production zu entwickeln.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, Sie sind seit über elf Jahren bei Leuze... das ist schon eine lange Zeit für Ihr noch jugendliches Alter...
 
Kopp: (lacht) Danke, für das Kompliment, aber so jugendlich bin ich auch nicht mehr. Aber ja, das stimmt – 2007 startete ich als Facharbeiter in der Fertigung bei Leuze und seitdem habe ich verschiedene Stationen und Hierarchiestufen in der Produktion durchlaufen.

Leuze: Um gleich als Facharbeiter zu starten, braucht man sicher eine fachspezifische Ausbildung...

Kopp: Ja, diese habe ich. Ich habe von 1997 bis 2001 eine Ausbildung zum Elektriker und anschließend bis 2008 eine Ausbildung zum Meister gemacht. Auf diese setzte ich ein berufsbegleitendes Studium auf - seit 2015 bin ich auch Betriebswirt und verbinde damit die technische und die kaufmännischen Seite.

Leuze: Wie sind Sie einst auf Leuze gekommen?
 
Kopp: Wenn ich ehrlich bin: Es war Zufall – ich blätterte samstags in der Zeitung und mir fiel die Stellenausschreibung von Leuze auf, obgleich ich eigentlich zum damaligen Zeitpunkt gar nicht auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung war.

Leuze: Und dann haben Sie sich trotzdem beworben...
 
Kopp: Ja – und wie man sieht: nicht bereut und bis heute hängen geblieben :-)

Leuze: Wenn Sie die Fertigung 2007 mit der heutigen vergleichen – ein großer Unterschied?
 
Kopp:  Ein gewaltiger Unterschied. Selbst vor zehn Jahren waren noch maximal 80 Mitarbeiter in der Produktion beschäftigt – heute sind fast 200. Schichtbetrieb gab es damals noch nicht.

Leuze: Da haben Sie in Ihrer heutigen Funktion als Director Production ganz schön viel bewegt... Wenn ich bedenke: heute haben wir 2-Schicht- und 3-Schicht-Betrieb und Zeitversatz in den B-Baureihen...
 
Kopp: Ja, ich hatte bei Leuze immer die Chance, mich weiterzuentwickeln, Neues hinzuzulernen, anzupacken und aktiv mit zu gestalten. Das ist sicher einer der Gründe, weshalb ich mich in all den Jahren nie nach neuen Herausforderungen außerhalb dieses Unternehmens gesehnt habe.

Leuze: Das klingt gut. Um Ihren Werdegang besser zu verstehen: Vielleicht springen wir nochmals zurück auf Ihren Einstieg als Facharbeiter– wie sah Ihre weitere Vita bei Leuze konkret aus?

Kopp: Irgendwie wurde ich schon kurz nach Einstieg Gruppensprecher und schon ein Jahr später offiziell Gruppenleiter der Fertigungsgruppe Barcodeleser und betreute ein Team von zirka 15 Mitarbeitern.

Leuze: Betreuen heißt: fachlich betreuen?
 
Kopp: Fachlich und disziplinarisch. Ich bekam mit nur 27 Jahren und als relativ neuer Mitarbeiter im Unternehmen bereits die Personalverantwortung für dieses Team.

Leuze: Und das trotz der allgemeinen Wirtschaftskrise 2009, die Sie ja miterlebt haben?
 
Kopp: Klar, diese Krise ging auch an uns nicht spurlos vorüber. Es kam zur Fusion des Teams, für das ich ja bereits verantwortlich war, mit weiteren Kolleginnen und Kollegen, für die ich dann ebenfalls die Verantwortung übernahm und so zum Teamleiter von insgesamt drei Gruppen wurde.

Leuze: Das war ein großer Sprung in keiner einfachen Zeit...
 
Kopp: Das stimmt. Aber ich traute mir diesen zu und man muss auch dazu sagen: Ich war niemals auf mich alleine gestellt. Ich profitierte sehr von der langjährigen Erfahrung meiner Doppelspitze, dem damaligen Fertigungsleiter, lernte viel hinzu und nahm Tipps gerne an.

Leuze: Als Teamleiter kamen ja auch sicher viele neue Themen und Aufgaben auf Sie zu?
 
Kopp: Ja, die von Ihnen angesprochene Einführung des 2- und 3-Schichtbetriebs waren beispielsweise große Themen, aber auch die Einführung von Lean Management, Shop Floor und die Übernahme des Facility Managements. Aber genau diese neuen Aufgaben haben mich immer gereizt, man schenkte mir das Vertrauen und die Möglichkeit, mich stets weiterzubilden und zu entwickeln - und das ist nicht selbstverständlich!

Leuze: Als Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter wurden: War das OK für Ihre langjährige Doppelspitze zusammen mit Ihrem Kollegen? Kein Konkurrenzkampf?
 
Kopp: Nein, kein Konkurrenzkampf - es gab ganz offene Gespräche, und auch hier bekam ich die volle Unterstützung und Rückendeckung und bin dankbar dafür.

Leuze: Seit wann sind Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter?
 
Kopp: Offiziell seit April 2017 – also noch gar nicht so lange.

Leuze: Wie viele Headcounts verantworten Sie seitdem?
 
Kopp: Lassen Sie mich rechnen... 3 Teamleiter, 9 Produktbetreuer und 2 Personen im Facility Management. Aber ich kann mich zu 100 Prozent auf meine Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter, meine Kolleginnen und Kollegen verlassen, vertraue ihnen und traue ihnen viel zu.

Leuze: Das klingt nach einem guten Miteinander.
 
Kopp: Das ist es auch. Wir alle gehen respektvoll miteinander um, ziehen an einem Strang. Und das ist auch sehr wichtig, um die vielen Herausforderungen in einem stark wachsenden Unternehmen meistern zu können – gemeinsam.

Leuze: Ein wachsendes Unternehmen braucht auch neue Fachkräfte... Wo rekrutieren Sie diese?
 
Kopp: Die meisten wohnen, wie ich selbst, ganz in der Nähe, kennen Leuze als solides, wachsendes Unternehmen. Keiner hat Lust auf lange Wege und Rush-Hour. Sie schätzen bei uns einen zuverlässigen Auftragseingang und Schichtbetrieb.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie haben keine Wechselschicht?
 
Kopp: Ich selbst normalerweise nicht. Natürlich gibt es Zeiten, in denen Zusatzschichten gefahren werden müssen, bei mir gleichermaßen wie bei meinem Team. Dies verlangt eine gewisse Flexibilität. Aber im Grunde genommen haben alle Mitarbeiter in der Fertigung feste, verlässliche Arbeitszeiten, was aber nicht bedeutet, dass die Schichten zementiert sind. Die Kollegen haben die Möglichkeit zur Weiterbildung, können Arbeitsinseln wechseln oder auch Schichten nach Rücksprache tauschen.

Leuze: Das hört sich nach Solidität und Flexibilität gleichermaßen an. 

Kopp: Das würde ich genauso unterstreichen. Mir ist wichtig, den Mitarbeitern eine Perspektive zu geben, so wie sie auch mir immer gegeben wurde. Ich fühle mich verantwortlich für meine inhaltlich zu lösenden Aufgaben, Projekte und neuen Herausforderungen, aber ebenso für das Wohl meiner Mitarbeiter.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, vielen Dank für das freundliche Gespräch.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

[Translate to English:] Katarina Zeko, Facharbeiterin im Lager

[Translate to English:]

Katarina Zeko arbeitet seit über 20 Jahren bei Leuze. Sie brennt für ihre Aufgabe wie am ersten Tag. Als Facharbeiterin im Lager hat sie über die Jahre die Lagerlogistik aktiv und mit viel Energie mitgestaltet, vorangetrieben und zu einem familären Zusammenhalt im Team beigetragen.

Leuze: Frau Zeko, Sie gehören zu einem der Urgesteine von Leuze, die dem Unternehmen schon viele Jahre die Treue halten...

Zeko: Ja, das kann man so sagen – seit 1996 arbeite ich im Lager für Leuze.

Leuze: Schon immer hier in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: Nein – ich habe viele Jahre in der Braike in Owen gearbeitet, zeitweise auch halbtags, als meine Kinder noch klein waren.

Leuze: Was hat Sie gerade zu Leuze geführt?

Zeko: Das ist eine lange Geschichte und ein Werdegang mit Umwegen...

Leuze: Ich bin gespannt – verraten Sie mir Ihren Weg?
 
Zeko: Gerne. Eigentlich bin ich studierte Juristin.

Leuze: Juristin?

Zeko: Ja, ich bin gebürtige Kroatin. Als ich 1993 nach Deutschland kam, war ich der deutschen Sprache nicht mächtig – einen Beruf als Juristin auszuüben war also undenkbar.

Leuze: Sie sprechen aber perfekt deutsch...

Zeko: Ja, mittlerweile. Damals musste ich mir die Sprache und auch ein neues Berufsbild erst hart erarbeiten.

Leuze: Das ist Ihnen gelungen – das heißt, Sie haben umgeschult?

Zeko: Ja, ich habe nochmals eine komplett neue Ausbildung über die IHK gemacht – die Ausbildung zur Kauffrau für Bürokommunikation, in der Abendschule. Tagsüber habe ich weiterhin gearbeitet.

Leuze: Respekt! Da haben Sie auch schon bei Leuze gearbeitet?
 
Zeko: Ja, ich wohnte in Kirchheim bzw. tue das heute noch. Mir war wichtig, dass mein Arbeitgeber in der Nähe meines Wohnorts ist. Das bot mir zeitlich die meiste Flexibilität – mit der Abendschule, der Familie, später den Kindern.

Leuze: Das kann ich gut verstehen. Und warum gerade Leuze? Mit Ihrer Ausbildung waren Sie ja nicht unbedingt an die Sensorbranche gebunden...

Zeko: Das nicht, aber mir war wichtig, zu einem großen Arbeitgeber zu gehen, einem wachsenden Unternehmen mit Zukunft.

Leuze: Klein ist Leuze nicht gerade, aber auch kein Konzern...
 
Zeko: Nein, aber ein solides Unternehmen – und ein international tätiges Unterehmen dazu. Das war mir wichtig. Ein Konzern wäre für mich auch niemals in Frage gekommen...

Leuze: Was finden Sie bei Leuze, was Sie in einem Konzern nicht glauben für sich zu finden?

Zeko: Ich bin Südländerin – da zählt die Familie und der familiäre Zusammenhalt sehr viel. Und diesen finde ich auch hier bei Leuze.

Leuze: Trotz dessen, dass Leuze ja doch sehr stark gewachsen ist die letzen Jahre?
 
Zeko: Ja, in jedem Fall. Ich finde es beispielsweise schön, den Firmenmitgründer Christof Leuze und seine Familie persönlich zu kennen, zu erleben und zu wissen, für wen ich arbeite. Und umgekehrt kennt auch er die langjährigen Mitarbeiter noch alle beim Namen und besucht uns heute noch regelmäßig. Neulich hat er uns erst hier im Lager mit seinen Enkeln besucht und aus dem Nähkästchen geplaudert.

Leuze: Das ist ja nett... und wie steht es um den Zusammenhalt zwischen den Kollegen?

Zeko: Das ist ein guter Punkt – auch das meine ich mit familiärem Charakter. Wir sind hier im Lager wie eine große Familie, wir interessieren uns für einander, halten zusammen.

Leuze: Wie äußert sich dieser Zusammenhalt?

Zeko: Wir helfen uns gegenseitig, krempeln zusammen die Ärmel hoch, inklusive unserem Chef. Wir sind ein echtes Team. So ist auch die Bereitschaft zur flexiblen Arbeit in wachsenden Zeiten da. Und zur Belohnung gibt es ab und zu einen Kuchen von mir...

Leuze: Das ist ja schön – ich komme auch mal zum Kuchen testen vorbei :-) Aber Spaß beiseite: Sie selbst haben einen enormen persönlichen Beitrag dazu geleistet, dass das 6500 qm große Lager in Unterlenningen heute so aufgebaut ist wie es ist...
 
Zeko: Ja, schon. Ich habe beim Aufbau des Lagers hier viele Stunden verbracht, mir bedeutet dieses Lager sehr viel. Ich möchte, dass alle funktioniert und gut läuft und dass letztendlich unsere Kunden rechtzeitig ihre bestellten Produkte erhalten.

Leuze: Sie sind sehr engagiert…

Zeko: Das sind wir alle, aber ja, ich bin eine Macherin, im Privaten wie im Beruflichen. Alles andere wäre wider meinem Naturell. (lacht).

Leuze: Das spürt man – Sie sind mit Leib und Seele ein Sensor People :-)

Zeko: Ich möchte meine Erfahrung miteinbringen und weitergeben an die jüngeren Kollegen. Schließlich habe ich über viele Jahre hinweg die Lagerlogistik aktiv mitgestaltet und aufgebaut: Canban, Hotline, usw. ...

Leuze: Vielen Dank für das sympatische Interview, Frau Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

[Translate to English:] Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logstics

[Translate to English:]

Ibrahim Zuva hat eine Bilderbuchkarriere bei Leuze gemacht: Binnen 10 Jahren von der Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik zum Director Logistics mit der spannenden Aufgabe, ein neues, großes AKL für Leuze am Standort Owen aufzubauen.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, Sie sind noch keine 40 Jahre alt und schon Director Logistics...

Zuva: Ja, so gesehen kann ich mit U40 schon auf eine gute Karriere bei Leuze zurückblicken...

Leuze: Die wie begann?

Zuva: Die Verbundenheit zu Leuze hat sehr früh angefangen: Ich erinnere mich noch heute, wie ich früher als Kind zusammen mit meinem Vater meine Mutter und meine Oma häufiger von der Arbeit bei Leuze Textil abholte... und wie mein Vater mir aus dem Snackautomaten, den es damals schon gab, hin oder wieder einen Schokoriegel rausließ...

Leuze: So lange sind Sie schon mit dem Unternehmen verbunden?

Zuva: Ja, die halbe Familie arbeitete hier – meine Tante tut es heute noch.

Leuze: Dann sind Sie ja quasi ein richtiges „Kind“ des Unternehmens?!

Zuva: Ja, kann man schon so sagen - wobei ich nach meinem BWL-Studium an der Fachhochschule in Aalen durchaus offen und nicht fixiert war - weder auf das Arbeiten im Ländle, noch auf Leuze. Durch meine weltoffene Mentalität komme ich mit Menschen unterschiedlichster Kulturen schnell und gut zurecht.

Leuze: Ihr Name klingt nicht.direkt „schwäbisch“... darf ich fragen, wo ihre Wurzeln liegen?

Zuva: Geboren bin ich in Kirchheim/Teck. Dort habe ich auch den Großteil meines Lebens verbracht. Meine Familie kommt ursprünglich aus der Türkei. Mich selbst würde ich als schwäbischen Deutsch-Türken bezeichnen.

Leuze: Und was führte Sie in jungen Jahren trotzdem nicht in die große weite Welt, sondern ins Lenninger Tal?

Zuva: Hm, um ehrlich zu sein – trotz gutem Studienabschluss fand ich damals nicht sogleich einen Job.. wohnhaft in Kirchheim... Familie, die auch bei Leuze arbeitete... da lag es irgendwie nahe, mich hier zu bewerben.

Leuze: Das ist eine ehrliche Antwort... dann haben Sie in welcher Funktion hier begonnen?

Zuva: 2006 startete ich als Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik.

Leuze: Und gute zehn Jahre später sind Sie Director Logistics? Das ist wirklich eine schöne Karriere...

Zuva: So gesehen ja. Sicher ist vieles darauf zurückzuführen, dass ich jemand bin, der gerne anpackt, gut schwäbisch die Ärmel hochkrempelt, „schafft“. Aber ich hatte auch Glück und war zur rechten Zeit am rechten Ort und Vorgesetzte, die an mich glaubten und mir die Möglichkeit gaben, mich permanent weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Was konkret meinen Sie damit?

Zuva: 2006 wurde das erste AKL in Owen am Standort der Firmenzentrale gebaut. In dieser Zeit musste das komplette Lager nach Unterlenningen umziehen. Ich bekam die für einen Jungster sehr verantwortungvolle Aufgabe, die Produktion in Owen logistisch von Unterlenningen aus weiter zu versorgen...

Leuze: Dazu braucht man aber doch eigentlich etwas Erfahrung... oder?

Zuva: Ich machte das ja auch nicht alleine, sondern mit Unterstützung der Kollegen, die alle tatkräftig mitanpackten – ich denke, das zeichnet uns Sensor People aus – damals wie heute.

Leuze: Sie haben mich neugierig gemacht... wie ging es dann weiter in Ihrer Vita?

Zuva: Ende 2006 bewarb ich mich auf eine Sachbearbeiterstelle in der Fertigungssteuerung in unserer Tochtergesellschaft Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Dann ging alles ganz schnell. Zum 1. Januar trat ich die neue Stelle an und zog in kürzester Zeit mit Sack und Pack von Kirchheim ins Donautal.
 
Leuze: Und dann?

Zuva: Ich arbeitete in Unterstadion in einem kleinen Team von vier bis fünf Kollegen im Auftragszentrum und entwickelte mich mehr und mehr in die Rolle ihres Gruppensprechers. Zudem erweiterte sich mein Aufgabengebiet zunehmend. Ich hatte die Möglichkeit, immer Neues hinzuzulernen und mich weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Welche Aufgaben kamen zu Ihrer sachbearbeitenden Tätigkeit im Auftragszentrum beispielsweise hinzu?

Zuva: Mit der Verlagerung unserer Fertigung von Fürstenfeldbruck nach Unterstadion wurden wir zum Supply Chain Management, welches die Fertigungssteuerung, das Auftragszentrum, Warehouse und IT umfasste. Zu jenem Zeitpunkt wurde ich zum Teamleiter von Fertigungssteuerung und Auftragszentrum, gleichzeitig zum stellvertretenden Abteilungsleiter des gesamten Bereichs.

Leuze: Das war ein wirklich großer Spung...

Zuva: Ja, das war es. Zudem bekam ich zum Tagesgeschäft mein erstes großes Projekt hinzu – die ERP-Einführung. Und kurz darauf, 2012, folgte schon ein Zweites: die Gründung der Produktionsgesellschaft in China.

Leuze: Da war ja Tagesgeschäft kaum mehr möglich...

Zuva: Es wurde zumindest zunehmend schwieriger. Deshalb auch die Entscheidung, mich als Mitarbeiter von Leuze electronic Assembly für sechs Monate an Leuze „auszuleihen“...

Leuze: „Ausleihen“... wie sich das anhört... das klingt ja wie ein Stück Ware...

Zuva: Nein, so war es natürlich nicht – natürlich wurde ich gefragt, und ich wollte - und wie ich wollte! Ein halbes Jahr bin ich zwischen China und Owen gependelt, habe Flugmeilen gesammelt, über 30 Flüge in nur einem Jahr...

Leuze: Puh... das war dann wirklich ein Sprung vom überschaubaren ländlichen Unterstadion nach Shenzhen in China... kein Heimweh?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil, ich hatte Blut geleckt... ich konnte meinen multikulturellen Charakter erst richtig ausleben und noch bevor das China-Projekt abgeschlossen war, bekam ich schon das nächste Angebot...

Leuze: Welches?

Zuva: Vertriebscontrolling USA.

Leuze: Das heißt, von China direkt in die USA?

Zuva: Genau... ab und zu hatte ich meinen Platz aber auch in Owen, im Controlling.

Leuze: Das war ein nächster großer Sprung für Sie...

Zuva: Ja, man hat mir viel Vertrauen entgegengebracht und ich hatte die Chance, mich in unterschiedlichsten Themengebieten und Ländern beweisen zu können.

Leuze: Wie lange waren Sie dann in den USA?

Zuva: Über ein Jahr... bis ich Ende 2013 erneut ein Angebot bekam, Beteiligungscontroller für China und USA zu werden. Dieses führte mich zurück nach Owen... Das war auch der Moment, in dem ich offiziell vom Mitarbeiter der Leuze electronic Assembly zum Mitarbeiter von Leuze wurde.

Leuze: Wenn ich gut mitgerechnet habe, müssten Sie sieben Jahre weg gewesen sein...

Zuva: Gut mitgerechnet! (lacht) – es waren auf den Tag sieben Jahre... es passte einfach alles perfekt zusammen – die erworbenen Kenntnisse, die gemachten internationalen Erfahrungen in China und USA.

Leuze: Aber heute sind Sie nicht im Controlling tätig...

Zuva: Nein, Mitte 2015 übernahm ich die Verantwortung für die Logistik in Owen und schimpfe mich heute neudeutsch Director Logistics mit vielen neuen spannenden Aufgaben und Herausforderungen...

Leuze: Ist es richtig, dass ein großes, neues Logistikcenter gebaut werden soll?

Zuva: Ja, und irgendwie schließt sich für mich damit der Kreis... Vor guten zehn Jahren wurde das erste automatisierte Kleinteilelager in Owen gebaut und ich begleitete den Aufbau als Aushilfe in der Lagerlogistik. Heute bin ich verantwortlich für die Weiterentwicklung der Logistik und dazu gehört auch ein neues AKL.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie sind jetzt der Vorgesetzte der Sensor People, die früher Ihre Kollegen waren? Gibt das keine Probleme?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil. Wir haben ein sehr gutes Mit- und Füreinander.

Leuze: Worauf führen Sie das zurück?

Zuva: Ich bin mir meiner Entwicklung bewusst, aber ich bin immer bodenständig geblieben, packe immer selbst mit an, krämpele heute die Ärmel genauso hoch wie vor zehn Jahren. Und: Ich bin vielen Menschen begegnet, die mir viel Erfahrung weitergegeben, mich auf meinem Weg und bei meinen Entscheidungen unterstützt haben und dankbar dafür, dass mir so viel Vertrauen geschenkt wurde.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, vielen Dank für das ausführliche und offene Gespräch.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

(Kopie 2)

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

[Translate to English:] Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

[Translate to English:]

Sebastian Kopp ist schon viele Jahre bei Leuze tätig. Dank der Möglichkeit, sich stets weiterzubilden, weiterzuentwickeln, neue Aufgaben und Projekte anzugehen, mehr und mehr Verantwortung zu übernehmen, hat er es geschafft, sich vom Facharbeiter zum Director Production zu entwickeln.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, Sie sind seit über elf Jahren bei Leuze... das ist schon eine lange Zeit für Ihr noch jugendliches Alter...
 
Kopp: (lacht) Danke, für das Kompliment, aber so jugendlich bin ich auch nicht mehr. Aber ja, das stimmt – 2007 startete ich als Facharbeiter in der Fertigung bei Leuze und seitdem habe ich verschiedene Stationen und Hierarchiestufen in der Produktion durchlaufen.

Leuze: Um gleich als Facharbeiter zu starten, braucht man sicher eine fachspezifische Ausbildung...

Kopp: Ja, diese habe ich. Ich habe von 1997 bis 2001 eine Ausbildung zum Elektriker und anschließend bis 2008 eine Ausbildung zum Meister gemacht. Auf diese setzte ich ein berufsbegleitendes Studium auf - seit 2015 bin ich auch Betriebswirt und verbinde damit die technische und die kaufmännischen Seite.

Leuze: Wie sind Sie einst auf Leuze gekommen?
 
Kopp: Wenn ich ehrlich bin: Es war Zufall – ich blätterte samstags in der Zeitung und mir fiel die Stellenausschreibung von Leuze auf, obgleich ich eigentlich zum damaligen Zeitpunkt gar nicht auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung war.

Leuze: Und dann haben Sie sich trotzdem beworben...
 
Kopp: Ja – und wie man sieht: nicht bereut und bis heute hängen geblieben :-)

Leuze: Wenn Sie die Fertigung 2007 mit der heutigen vergleichen – ein großer Unterschied?
 
Kopp:  Ein gewaltiger Unterschied. Selbst vor zehn Jahren waren noch maximal 80 Mitarbeiter in der Produktion beschäftigt – heute sind fast 200. Schichtbetrieb gab es damals noch nicht.

Leuze: Da haben Sie in Ihrer heutigen Funktion als Director Production ganz schön viel bewegt... Wenn ich bedenke: heute haben wir 2-Schicht- und 3-Schicht-Betrieb und Zeitversatz in den B-Baureihen...
 
Kopp: Ja, ich hatte bei Leuze immer die Chance, mich weiterzuentwickeln, Neues hinzuzulernen, anzupacken und aktiv mit zu gestalten. Das ist sicher einer der Gründe, weshalb ich mich in all den Jahren nie nach neuen Herausforderungen außerhalb dieses Unternehmens gesehnt habe.

Leuze: Das klingt gut. Um Ihren Werdegang besser zu verstehen: Vielleicht springen wir nochmals zurück auf Ihren Einstieg als Facharbeiter– wie sah Ihre weitere Vita bei Leuze konkret aus?

Kopp: Irgendwie wurde ich schon kurz nach Einstieg Gruppensprecher und schon ein Jahr später offiziell Gruppenleiter der Fertigungsgruppe Barcodeleser und betreute ein Team von zirka 15 Mitarbeitern.

Leuze: Betreuen heißt: fachlich betreuen?
 
Kopp: Fachlich und disziplinarisch. Ich bekam mit nur 27 Jahren und als relativ neuer Mitarbeiter im Unternehmen bereits die Personalverantwortung für dieses Team.

Leuze: Und das trotz der allgemeinen Wirtschaftskrise 2009, die Sie ja miterlebt haben?
 
Kopp: Klar, diese Krise ging auch an uns nicht spurlos vorüber. Es kam zur Fusion des Teams, für das ich ja bereits verantwortlich war, mit weiteren Kolleginnen und Kollegen, für die ich dann ebenfalls die Verantwortung übernahm und so zum Teamleiter von insgesamt drei Gruppen wurde.

Leuze: Das war ein großer Sprung in keiner einfachen Zeit...
 
Kopp: Das stimmt. Aber ich traute mir diesen zu und man muss auch dazu sagen: Ich war niemals auf mich alleine gestellt. Ich profitierte sehr von der langjährigen Erfahrung meiner Doppelspitze, dem damaligen Fertigungsleiter, lernte viel hinzu und nahm Tipps gerne an.

Leuze: Als Teamleiter kamen ja auch sicher viele neue Themen und Aufgaben auf Sie zu?
 
Kopp: Ja, die von Ihnen angesprochene Einführung des 2- und 3-Schichtbetriebs waren beispielsweise große Themen, aber auch die Einführung von Lean Management, Shop Floor und die Übernahme des Facility Managements. Aber genau diese neuen Aufgaben haben mich immer gereizt, man schenkte mir das Vertrauen und die Möglichkeit, mich stets weiterzubilden und zu entwickeln - und das ist nicht selbstverständlich!

Leuze: Als Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter wurden: War das OK für Ihre langjährige Doppelspitze zusammen mit Ihrem Kollegen? Kein Konkurrenzkampf?
 
Kopp: Nein, kein Konkurrenzkampf - es gab ganz offene Gespräche, und auch hier bekam ich die volle Unterstützung und Rückendeckung und bin dankbar dafür.

Leuze: Seit wann sind Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter?
 
Kopp: Offiziell seit April 2017 – also noch gar nicht so lange.

Leuze: Wie viele Headcounts verantworten Sie seitdem?
 
Kopp: Lassen Sie mich rechnen... 3 Teamleiter, 9 Produktbetreuer und 2 Personen im Facility Management. Aber ich kann mich zu 100 Prozent auf meine Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter, meine Kolleginnen und Kollegen verlassen, vertraue ihnen und traue ihnen viel zu.

Leuze: Das klingt nach einem guten Miteinander.
 
Kopp: Das ist es auch. Wir alle gehen respektvoll miteinander um, ziehen an einem Strang. Und das ist auch sehr wichtig, um die vielen Herausforderungen in einem stark wachsenden Unternehmen meistern zu können – gemeinsam.

Leuze: Ein wachsendes Unternehmen braucht auch neue Fachkräfte... Wo rekrutieren Sie diese?
 
Kopp: Die meisten wohnen, wie ich selbst, ganz in der Nähe, kennen Leuze als solides, wachsendes Unternehmen. Keiner hat Lust auf lange Wege und Rush-Hour. Sie schätzen bei uns einen zuverlässigen Auftragseingang und Schichtbetrieb.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie haben keine Wechselschicht?
 
Kopp: Ich selbst normalerweise nicht. Natürlich gibt es Zeiten, in denen Zusatzschichten gefahren werden müssen, bei mir gleichermaßen wie bei meinem Team. Dies verlangt eine gewisse Flexibilität. Aber im Grunde genommen haben alle Mitarbeiter in der Fertigung feste, verlässliche Arbeitszeiten, was aber nicht bedeutet, dass die Schichten zementiert sind. Die Kollegen haben die Möglichkeit zur Weiterbildung, können Arbeitsinseln wechseln oder auch Schichten nach Rücksprache tauschen.

Leuze: Das hört sich nach Solidität und Flexibilität gleichermaßen an. 

Kopp: Das würde ich genauso unterstreichen. Mir ist wichtig, den Mitarbeitern eine Perspektive zu geben, so wie sie auch mir immer gegeben wurde. Ich fühle mich verantwortlich für meine inhaltlich zu lösenden Aufgaben, Projekte und neuen Herausforderungen, aber ebenso für das Wohl meiner Mitarbeiter.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, vielen Dank für das freundliche Gespräch.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

[Translate to English:] Katarina Zeko, Facharbeiterin im Lager

[Translate to English:]

Katarina Zeko arbeitet seit über 20 Jahren bei Leuze. Sie brennt für ihre Aufgabe wie am ersten Tag. Als Facharbeiterin im Lager hat sie über die Jahre die Lagerlogistik aktiv und mit viel Energie mitgestaltet, vorangetrieben und zu einem familären Zusammenhalt im Team beigetragen.

Leuze: Frau Zeko, Sie gehören zu einem der Urgesteine von Leuze, die dem Unternehmen schon viele Jahre die Treue halten...

Zeko: Ja, das kann man so sagen – seit 1996 arbeite ich im Lager für Leuze.

Leuze: Schon immer hier in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: Nein – ich habe viele Jahre in der Braike in Owen gearbeitet, zeitweise auch halbtags, als meine Kinder noch klein waren.

Leuze: Was hat Sie gerade zu Leuze geführt?

Zeko: Das ist eine lange Geschichte und ein Werdegang mit Umwegen...

Leuze: Ich bin gespannt – verraten Sie mir Ihren Weg?
 
Zeko: Gerne. Eigentlich bin ich studierte Juristin.

Leuze: Juristin?

Zeko: Ja, ich bin gebürtige Kroatin. Als ich 1993 nach Deutschland kam, war ich der deutschen Sprache nicht mächtig – einen Beruf als Juristin auszuüben war also undenkbar.

Leuze: Sie sprechen aber perfekt deutsch...

Zeko: Ja, mittlerweile. Damals musste ich mir die Sprache und auch ein neues Berufsbild erst hart erarbeiten.

Leuze: Das ist Ihnen gelungen – das heißt, Sie haben umgeschult?

Zeko: Ja, ich habe nochmals eine komplett neue Ausbildung über die IHK gemacht – die Ausbildung zur Kauffrau für Bürokommunikation, in der Abendschule. Tagsüber habe ich weiterhin gearbeitet.

Leuze: Respekt! Da haben Sie auch schon bei Leuze gearbeitet?
 
Zeko: Ja, ich wohnte in Kirchheim bzw. tue das heute noch. Mir war wichtig, dass mein Arbeitgeber in der Nähe meines Wohnorts ist. Das bot mir zeitlich die meiste Flexibilität – mit der Abendschule, der Familie, später den Kindern.

Leuze: Das kann ich gut verstehen. Und warum gerade Leuze? Mit Ihrer Ausbildung waren Sie ja nicht unbedingt an die Sensorbranche gebunden...

Zeko: Das nicht, aber mir war wichtig, zu einem großen Arbeitgeber zu gehen, einem wachsenden Unternehmen mit Zukunft.

Leuze: Klein ist Leuze nicht gerade, aber auch kein Konzern...
 
Zeko: Nein, aber ein solides Unternehmen – und ein international tätiges Unterehmen dazu. Das war mir wichtig. Ein Konzern wäre für mich auch niemals in Frage gekommen...

Leuze: Was finden Sie bei Leuze, was Sie in einem Konzern nicht glauben für sich zu finden?

Zeko: Ich bin Südländerin – da zählt die Familie und der familiäre Zusammenhalt sehr viel. Und diesen finde ich auch hier bei Leuze.

Leuze: Trotz dessen, dass Leuze ja doch sehr stark gewachsen ist die letzen Jahre?
 
Zeko: Ja, in jedem Fall. Ich finde es beispielsweise schön, den Firmenmitgründer Christof Leuze und seine Familie persönlich zu kennen, zu erleben und zu wissen, für wen ich arbeite. Und umgekehrt kennt auch er die langjährigen Mitarbeiter noch alle beim Namen und besucht uns heute noch regelmäßig. Neulich hat er uns erst hier im Lager mit seinen Enkeln besucht und aus dem Nähkästchen geplaudert.

Leuze: Das ist ja nett... und wie steht es um den Zusammenhalt zwischen den Kollegen?

Zeko: Das ist ein guter Punkt – auch das meine ich mit familiärem Charakter. Wir sind hier im Lager wie eine große Familie, wir interessieren uns für einander, halten zusammen.

Leuze: Wie äußert sich dieser Zusammenhalt?

Zeko: Wir helfen uns gegenseitig, krempeln zusammen die Ärmel hoch, inklusive unserem Chef. Wir sind ein echtes Team. So ist auch die Bereitschaft zur flexiblen Arbeit in wachsenden Zeiten da. Und zur Belohnung gibt es ab und zu einen Kuchen von mir...

Leuze: Das ist ja schön – ich komme auch mal zum Kuchen testen vorbei :-) Aber Spaß beiseite: Sie selbst haben einen enormen persönlichen Beitrag dazu geleistet, dass das 6500 qm große Lager in Unterlenningen heute so aufgebaut ist wie es ist...
 
Zeko: Ja, schon. Ich habe beim Aufbau des Lagers hier viele Stunden verbracht, mir bedeutet dieses Lager sehr viel. Ich möchte, dass alle funktioniert und gut läuft und dass letztendlich unsere Kunden rechtzeitig ihre bestellten Produkte erhalten.

Leuze: Sie sind sehr engagiert…

Zeko: Das sind wir alle, aber ja, ich bin eine Macherin, im Privaten wie im Beruflichen. Alles andere wäre wider meinem Naturell. (lacht).

Leuze: Das spürt man – Sie sind mit Leib und Seele ein Sensor People :-)

Zeko: Ich möchte meine Erfahrung miteinbringen und weitergeben an die jüngeren Kollegen. Schließlich habe ich über viele Jahre hinweg die Lagerlogistik aktiv mitgestaltet und aufgebaut: Canban, Hotline, usw. ...

Leuze: Vielen Dank für das sympatische Interview, Frau Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

[Translate to English:] Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logstics

[Translate to English:]

Ibrahim Zuva hat eine Bilderbuchkarriere bei Leuze gemacht: Binnen 10 Jahren von der Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik zum Director Logistics mit der spannenden Aufgabe, ein neues, großes AKL für Leuze am Standort Owen aufzubauen.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, Sie sind noch keine 40 Jahre alt und schon Director Logistics...

Zuva: Ja, so gesehen kann ich mit U40 schon auf eine gute Karriere bei Leuze zurückblicken...

Leuze: Die wie begann?

Zuva: Die Verbundenheit zu Leuze hat sehr früh angefangen: Ich erinnere mich noch heute, wie ich früher als Kind zusammen mit meinem Vater meine Mutter und meine Oma häufiger von der Arbeit bei Leuze Textil abholte... und wie mein Vater mir aus dem Snackautomaten, den es damals schon gab, hin oder wieder einen Schokoriegel rausließ...

Leuze: So lange sind Sie schon mit dem Unternehmen verbunden?

Zuva: Ja, die halbe Familie arbeitete hier – meine Tante tut es heute noch.

Leuze: Dann sind Sie ja quasi ein richtiges „Kind“ des Unternehmens?!

Zuva: Ja, kann man schon so sagen - wobei ich nach meinem BWL-Studium an der Fachhochschule in Aalen durchaus offen und nicht fixiert war - weder auf das Arbeiten im Ländle, noch auf Leuze. Durch meine weltoffene Mentalität komme ich mit Menschen unterschiedlichster Kulturen schnell und gut zurecht.

Leuze: Ihr Name klingt nicht.direkt „schwäbisch“... darf ich fragen, wo ihre Wurzeln liegen?

Zuva: Geboren bin ich in Kirchheim/Teck. Dort habe ich auch den Großteil meines Lebens verbracht. Meine Familie kommt ursprünglich aus der Türkei. Mich selbst würde ich als schwäbischen Deutsch-Türken bezeichnen.

Leuze: Und was führte Sie in jungen Jahren trotzdem nicht in die große weite Welt, sondern ins Lenninger Tal?

Zuva: Hm, um ehrlich zu sein – trotz gutem Studienabschluss fand ich damals nicht sogleich einen Job.. wohnhaft in Kirchheim... Familie, die auch bei Leuze arbeitete... da lag es irgendwie nahe, mich hier zu bewerben.

Leuze: Das ist eine ehrliche Antwort... dann haben Sie in welcher Funktion hier begonnen?

Zuva: 2006 startete ich als Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik.

Leuze: Und gute zehn Jahre später sind Sie Director Logistics? Das ist wirklich eine schöne Karriere...

Zuva: So gesehen ja. Sicher ist vieles darauf zurückzuführen, dass ich jemand bin, der gerne anpackt, gut schwäbisch die Ärmel hochkrempelt, „schafft“. Aber ich hatte auch Glück und war zur rechten Zeit am rechten Ort und Vorgesetzte, die an mich glaubten und mir die Möglichkeit gaben, mich permanent weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Was konkret meinen Sie damit?

Zuva: 2006 wurde das erste AKL in Owen am Standort der Firmenzentrale gebaut. In dieser Zeit musste das komplette Lager nach Unterlenningen umziehen. Ich bekam die für einen Jungster sehr verantwortungvolle Aufgabe, die Produktion in Owen logistisch von Unterlenningen aus weiter zu versorgen...

Leuze: Dazu braucht man aber doch eigentlich etwas Erfahrung... oder?

Zuva: Ich machte das ja auch nicht alleine, sondern mit Unterstützung der Kollegen, die alle tatkräftig mitanpackten – ich denke, das zeichnet uns Sensor People aus – damals wie heute.

Leuze: Sie haben mich neugierig gemacht... wie ging es dann weiter in Ihrer Vita?

Zuva: Ende 2006 bewarb ich mich auf eine Sachbearbeiterstelle in der Fertigungssteuerung in unserer Tochtergesellschaft Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Dann ging alles ganz schnell. Zum 1. Januar trat ich die neue Stelle an und zog in kürzester Zeit mit Sack und Pack von Kirchheim ins Donautal.
 
Leuze: Und dann?

Zuva: Ich arbeitete in Unterstadion in einem kleinen Team von vier bis fünf Kollegen im Auftragszentrum und entwickelte mich mehr und mehr in die Rolle ihres Gruppensprechers. Zudem erweiterte sich mein Aufgabengebiet zunehmend. Ich hatte die Möglichkeit, immer Neues hinzuzulernen und mich weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Welche Aufgaben kamen zu Ihrer sachbearbeitenden Tätigkeit im Auftragszentrum beispielsweise hinzu?

Zuva: Mit der Verlagerung unserer Fertigung von Fürstenfeldbruck nach Unterstadion wurden wir zum Supply Chain Management, welches die Fertigungssteuerung, das Auftragszentrum, Warehouse und IT umfasste. Zu jenem Zeitpunkt wurde ich zum Teamleiter von Fertigungssteuerung und Auftragszentrum, gleichzeitig zum stellvertretenden Abteilungsleiter des gesamten Bereichs.

Leuze: Das war ein wirklich großer Spung...

Zuva: Ja, das war es. Zudem bekam ich zum Tagesgeschäft mein erstes großes Projekt hinzu – die ERP-Einführung. Und kurz darauf, 2012, folgte schon ein Zweites: die Gründung der Produktionsgesellschaft in China.

Leuze: Da war ja Tagesgeschäft kaum mehr möglich...

Zuva: Es wurde zumindest zunehmend schwieriger. Deshalb auch die Entscheidung, mich als Mitarbeiter von Leuze electronic Assembly für sechs Monate an Leuze „auszuleihen“...

Leuze: „Ausleihen“... wie sich das anhört... das klingt ja wie ein Stück Ware...

Zuva: Nein, so war es natürlich nicht – natürlich wurde ich gefragt, und ich wollte - und wie ich wollte! Ein halbes Jahr bin ich zwischen China und Owen gependelt, habe Flugmeilen gesammelt, über 30 Flüge in nur einem Jahr...

Leuze: Puh... das war dann wirklich ein Sprung vom überschaubaren ländlichen Unterstadion nach Shenzhen in China... kein Heimweh?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil, ich hatte Blut geleckt... ich konnte meinen multikulturellen Charakter erst richtig ausleben und noch bevor das China-Projekt abgeschlossen war, bekam ich schon das nächste Angebot...

Leuze: Welches?

Zuva: Vertriebscontrolling USA.

Leuze: Das heißt, von China direkt in die USA?

Zuva: Genau... ab und zu hatte ich meinen Platz aber auch in Owen, im Controlling.

Leuze: Das war ein nächster großer Sprung für Sie...

Zuva: Ja, man hat mir viel Vertrauen entgegengebracht und ich hatte die Chance, mich in unterschiedlichsten Themengebieten und Ländern beweisen zu können.

Leuze: Wie lange waren Sie dann in den USA?

Zuva: Über ein Jahr... bis ich Ende 2013 erneut ein Angebot bekam, Beteiligungscontroller für China und USA zu werden. Dieses führte mich zurück nach Owen... Das war auch der Moment, in dem ich offiziell vom Mitarbeiter der Leuze electronic Assembly zum Mitarbeiter von Leuze wurde.

Leuze: Wenn ich gut mitgerechnet habe, müssten Sie sieben Jahre weg gewesen sein...

Zuva: Gut mitgerechnet! (lacht) – es waren auf den Tag sieben Jahre... es passte einfach alles perfekt zusammen – die erworbenen Kenntnisse, die gemachten internationalen Erfahrungen in China und USA.

Leuze: Aber heute sind Sie nicht im Controlling tätig...

Zuva: Nein, Mitte 2015 übernahm ich die Verantwortung für die Logistik in Owen und schimpfe mich heute neudeutsch Director Logistics mit vielen neuen spannenden Aufgaben und Herausforderungen...

Leuze: Ist es richtig, dass ein großes, neues Logistikcenter gebaut werden soll?

Zuva: Ja, und irgendwie schließt sich für mich damit der Kreis... Vor guten zehn Jahren wurde das erste automatisierte Kleinteilelager in Owen gebaut und ich begleitete den Aufbau als Aushilfe in der Lagerlogistik. Heute bin ich verantwortlich für die Weiterentwicklung der Logistik und dazu gehört auch ein neues AKL.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie sind jetzt der Vorgesetzte der Sensor People, die früher Ihre Kollegen waren? Gibt das keine Probleme?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil. Wir haben ein sehr gutes Mit- und Füreinander.

Leuze: Worauf führen Sie das zurück?

Zuva: Ich bin mir meiner Entwicklung bewusst, aber ich bin immer bodenständig geblieben, packe immer selbst mit an, krämpele heute die Ärmel genauso hoch wie vor zehn Jahren. Und: Ich bin vielen Menschen begegnet, die mir viel Erfahrung weitergegeben, mich auf meinem Weg und bei meinen Entscheidungen unterstützt haben und dankbar dafür, dass mir so viel Vertrauen geschenkt wurde.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, vielen Dank für das ausführliche und offene Gespräch.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

Sebastian Kopp has been working at Leuze for many years. As he was afforded the opportunity to continuously train, develop, take on new tasks and projects and assume more and more responsibility, his career has taken him from skilled worker to Director Production.

Leuze: Mr. Kopp, you have been working at Leuze for more than 11 years... That seems like quite a long time for someone as young as you...
 
Kopp: (laughs) Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not as young as you might think. But it’s true: In 2007 I started working for Leuze as a skilled worker in production, and since then I have filled various positions and levels of seniority in production.

Leuze: Did you have any specialist training that enabled you to get started as a skilled worker?

Kopp: Yes, I did. From 1997 to 2001 I trained as an electrician, and by 2008 I was a certified master technician. In addition, I also studied while working at Leuze, and since 2015 I have a degree in business administration, which enables me to combine the technical and the business side.

Leuze: How did you find Leuze back in 2007?
 
Kopp: To be honest, it was purely by chance. I was reading the newspaper on a Saturday and noticed a job posting by Leuze, even though I wasn’t even looking for a new challenge at the time.

Leuze: But you applied anyway?
 
Kopp: Yes. And as you can see, I have no regrets and I’m still here :-)

Leuze: If you compare production in 2007 to today, is it very different?
 
Kopp: It is completely different. Even just ten years ago, we had no more than 80 employees in production, today we have almost 200. And we did not work in shifts back then.

Leuze: So you have initiated quite a lot of changes in your current position as Director Production... Considering that we now work in two and three shifts, staggered work for the B-series...
 
Kopp: Yes, Leuze affords me the opportunity to continuously develop myself, learn something new, get things done and actively shape operations. This is certainly one of the reasons why I have never felt the need to look for new challenges outside of the company over the years.

Leuze: That sounds good. To shine a light on your career path, let’s get back to when you got started as a skilled worker. What career stages did you go through at Leuze?

Kopp: Somehow I became the spokesperson for the group soon after I was hired, and one year later I was the official group leader of the bar code readers production group, where I supervised a team of about 15 staff.

Leuze: Supervision as in technical support?
 
Kopp: Technical and disciplinary. At the age of 27 and as a relatively new employee in the company, I was handed the personnel responsibility for this team.

Leuze: And you did so in the face of the economic crisis in 2009, which you also experienced?
 
Kopp: Of course, we did not go unscathed by the crisis. The team for which I was already responsible was merged with other colleagues, for whom I also became responsible as a result, and this is how I became the team leader of three groups total.

Leuze: That was a big step in difficult times...
 
Kopp: That is true. But I was confident in my abilities, and – truth be told – I was never on my own. I very much benefited from the many years of experience of my co-manager, the former production manager. I learned a lot and was open to advice.

Leuze: As team leader you must have been confronted with many new topics and tasks?
 
Kopp: Yes. The aforementioned introduction of two and three-shift operation was a big deal, for example, but also the introduction of Lean Management, Shop Floor and the adoption of Facility Management. But it was precisely these challenges that made it interesting for me, and I was given the confidence and opportunity to continuously train and develop. This cannot be taken for granted!

Leuze: When you became the sole production director, was that ok with your co-manager of many years? No rivalry?
 
Kopp: No, there was no rivalry. We had open discussions, and I was given full support and backing, for which I am grateful.

Leuze: When did you become the sole production director?
 
Kopp: Officially in April 2017, so not that long ago.

Leuze: How many people are you now responsible for?
 
Kopp: Let me do the math... three team leaders, nine product supervisors and two in facility management. But I can 100% depend on my staff and colleagues. I trust them and I know that they are very capable.

Leuze: That sounds like everyone is getting along?
 
Kopp: Absolutely. We treat each other with respect and we act in concert. And this is also very important to master the many challenges of a fast-growing company – it’s a team effort.

Leuze: Growing companies also need new staff... Where do you recruit them?
 
Kopp: Most of them live nearby, just like myself, and they are familiar with Leuze as a solid and growing company. Nobody wants a long commute and rush hour. They appreciate that we have a steady influx of orders and work in shifts.

Leuze: So you do not work in rotating shifts?
 
Kopp: Myself, generally not. Of course, at times additional shifts are required both of me and my team. A certain degree of flexibility is required. In principle, all production employees have fixed working hours. But that doesn’t mean that the shifts are set in stone. The colleagues have the opportunity to receive further training, switch work islands or swap shifts by arrangement.

Leuze: That sounds like stability and flexibility at the same time. 

Kopp: That is exactly how I would describe it. To me, it is important the employees are given opportunities in the same way that I was. My responsibilities comprise not only the tasks at hand, projects and new challenges, but also the wellbeing of my employees.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Kopp.

[Translate to English:] Sebastian Kopp, Director Production

[Translate to English:]

Sebastian Kopp ist schon viele Jahre bei Leuze tätig. Dank der Möglichkeit, sich stets weiterzubilden, weiterzuentwickeln, neue Aufgaben und Projekte anzugehen, mehr und mehr Verantwortung zu übernehmen, hat er es geschafft, sich vom Facharbeiter zum Director Production zu entwickeln.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, Sie sind seit über elf Jahren bei Leuze... das ist schon eine lange Zeit für Ihr noch jugendliches Alter...
 
Kopp: (lacht) Danke, für das Kompliment, aber so jugendlich bin ich auch nicht mehr. Aber ja, das stimmt – 2007 startete ich als Facharbeiter in der Fertigung bei Leuze und seitdem habe ich verschiedene Stationen und Hierarchiestufen in der Produktion durchlaufen.

Leuze: Um gleich als Facharbeiter zu starten, braucht man sicher eine fachspezifische Ausbildung...

Kopp: Ja, diese habe ich. Ich habe von 1997 bis 2001 eine Ausbildung zum Elektriker und anschließend bis 2008 eine Ausbildung zum Meister gemacht. Auf diese setzte ich ein berufsbegleitendes Studium auf - seit 2015 bin ich auch Betriebswirt und verbinde damit die technische und die kaufmännischen Seite.

Leuze: Wie sind Sie einst auf Leuze gekommen?
 
Kopp: Wenn ich ehrlich bin: Es war Zufall – ich blätterte samstags in der Zeitung und mir fiel die Stellenausschreibung von Leuze auf, obgleich ich eigentlich zum damaligen Zeitpunkt gar nicht auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung war.

Leuze: Und dann haben Sie sich trotzdem beworben...
 
Kopp: Ja – und wie man sieht: nicht bereut und bis heute hängen geblieben :-)

Leuze: Wenn Sie die Fertigung 2007 mit der heutigen vergleichen – ein großer Unterschied?
 
Kopp:  Ein gewaltiger Unterschied. Selbst vor zehn Jahren waren noch maximal 80 Mitarbeiter in der Produktion beschäftigt – heute sind fast 200. Schichtbetrieb gab es damals noch nicht.

Leuze: Da haben Sie in Ihrer heutigen Funktion als Director Production ganz schön viel bewegt... Wenn ich bedenke: heute haben wir 2-Schicht- und 3-Schicht-Betrieb und Zeitversatz in den B-Baureihen...
 
Kopp: Ja, ich hatte bei Leuze immer die Chance, mich weiterzuentwickeln, Neues hinzuzulernen, anzupacken und aktiv mit zu gestalten. Das ist sicher einer der Gründe, weshalb ich mich in all den Jahren nie nach neuen Herausforderungen außerhalb dieses Unternehmens gesehnt habe.

Leuze: Das klingt gut. Um Ihren Werdegang besser zu verstehen: Vielleicht springen wir nochmals zurück auf Ihren Einstieg als Facharbeiter– wie sah Ihre weitere Vita bei Leuze konkret aus?

Kopp: Irgendwie wurde ich schon kurz nach Einstieg Gruppensprecher und schon ein Jahr später offiziell Gruppenleiter der Fertigungsgruppe Barcodeleser und betreute ein Team von zirka 15 Mitarbeitern.

Leuze: Betreuen heißt: fachlich betreuen?
 
Kopp: Fachlich und disziplinarisch. Ich bekam mit nur 27 Jahren und als relativ neuer Mitarbeiter im Unternehmen bereits die Personalverantwortung für dieses Team.

Leuze: Und das trotz der allgemeinen Wirtschaftskrise 2009, die Sie ja miterlebt haben?
 
Kopp: Klar, diese Krise ging auch an uns nicht spurlos vorüber. Es kam zur Fusion des Teams, für das ich ja bereits verantwortlich war, mit weiteren Kolleginnen und Kollegen, für die ich dann ebenfalls die Verantwortung übernahm und so zum Teamleiter von insgesamt drei Gruppen wurde.

Leuze: Das war ein großer Sprung in keiner einfachen Zeit...
 
Kopp: Das stimmt. Aber ich traute mir diesen zu und man muss auch dazu sagen: Ich war niemals auf mich alleine gestellt. Ich profitierte sehr von der langjährigen Erfahrung meiner Doppelspitze, dem damaligen Fertigungsleiter, lernte viel hinzu und nahm Tipps gerne an.

Leuze: Als Teamleiter kamen ja auch sicher viele neue Themen und Aufgaben auf Sie zu?
 
Kopp: Ja, die von Ihnen angesprochene Einführung des 2- und 3-Schichtbetriebs waren beispielsweise große Themen, aber auch die Einführung von Lean Management, Shop Floor und die Übernahme des Facility Managements. Aber genau diese neuen Aufgaben haben mich immer gereizt, man schenkte mir das Vertrauen und die Möglichkeit, mich stets weiterzubilden und zu entwickeln - und das ist nicht selbstverständlich!

Leuze: Als Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter wurden: War das OK für Ihre langjährige Doppelspitze zusammen mit Ihrem Kollegen? Kein Konkurrenzkampf?
 
Kopp: Nein, kein Konkurrenzkampf - es gab ganz offene Gespräche, und auch hier bekam ich die volle Unterstützung und Rückendeckung und bin dankbar dafür.

Leuze: Seit wann sind Sie alleiniger Fertigungsleiter?
 
Kopp: Offiziell seit April 2017 – also noch gar nicht so lange.

Leuze: Wie viele Headcounts verantworten Sie seitdem?
 
Kopp: Lassen Sie mich rechnen... 3 Teamleiter, 9 Produktbetreuer und 2 Personen im Facility Management. Aber ich kann mich zu 100 Prozent auf meine Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter, meine Kolleginnen und Kollegen verlassen, vertraue ihnen und traue ihnen viel zu.

Leuze: Das klingt nach einem guten Miteinander.
 
Kopp: Das ist es auch. Wir alle gehen respektvoll miteinander um, ziehen an einem Strang. Und das ist auch sehr wichtig, um die vielen Herausforderungen in einem stark wachsenden Unternehmen meistern zu können – gemeinsam.

Leuze: Ein wachsendes Unternehmen braucht auch neue Fachkräfte... Wo rekrutieren Sie diese?
 
Kopp: Die meisten wohnen, wie ich selbst, ganz in der Nähe, kennen Leuze als solides, wachsendes Unternehmen. Keiner hat Lust auf lange Wege und Rush-Hour. Sie schätzen bei uns einen zuverlässigen Auftragseingang und Schichtbetrieb.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie haben keine Wechselschicht?
 
Kopp: Ich selbst normalerweise nicht. Natürlich gibt es Zeiten, in denen Zusatzschichten gefahren werden müssen, bei mir gleichermaßen wie bei meinem Team. Dies verlangt eine gewisse Flexibilität. Aber im Grunde genommen haben alle Mitarbeiter in der Fertigung feste, verlässliche Arbeitszeiten, was aber nicht bedeutet, dass die Schichten zementiert sind. Die Kollegen haben die Möglichkeit zur Weiterbildung, können Arbeitsinseln wechseln oder auch Schichten nach Rücksprache tauschen.

Leuze: Das hört sich nach Solidität und Flexibilität gleichermaßen an. 

Kopp: Das würde ich genauso unterstreichen. Mir ist wichtig, den Mitarbeitern eine Perspektive zu geben, so wie sie auch mir immer gegeben wurde. Ich fühle mich verantwortlich für meine inhaltlich zu lösenden Aufgaben, Projekte und neuen Herausforderungen, aber ebenso für das Wohl meiner Mitarbeiter.

Leuze: Herr Kopp, vielen Dank für das freundliche Gespräch.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

Tanita Ruf, Junior Product Manager

Technology, progress, digitization: this is where Tanita Ruf's interests lie. And this is also why she became a product manager. From her bachelor's thesis to employment as a student worker and her master's thesis – the Kirchheim native completed it all at Leuze and thereby set out on her career. Immediately after earning her master's degree, she joined Product Center Supplementary & Accessories as Junior Product Manager and works to actively drive the digitization of tomorrow.

Leuze: Ms. Ruf, you are Product Manager at Leuze, making you one of the future builders who drive automation and digitization – what do you find fascinating in your job?

Ruf: As a "digital native," I grew up with the topic of the future. I am happy to be part of a rapid technological development and love actively helping to shape the world of tomorrow.

Leuze: Then you certainly not only develop smart technology as part of your career, but then also live in a "smart home?"

Ruf: Of course! Many things are simply practical and save time when they run automatically. In both business and at home. My washing machine, for example, knows exactly when I come home. All I need to do is empty it out – technology unfortunately hasn't solved that problem for me yet :-)

Leuze: How did you come to turning your visions for the future into reality – in particular at Leuze?

Ruf: I originally studied industrial engineering at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Eventually, it came time for my bachelor's thesis: "Analysis of the sensor market." This topic led me to Leuze.

Leuze: An exciting topic – what memories do you have from working on this project?

Ruf: The colleagues at Leuze were always very supportive. I could ask anything and felt at ease and accepted here right from the start – and wasn't treated like a youngster. That is not always the case. I was impressed then with how people worked with one another and still am to this day. We are a strong team.

Leuze: One highlight for you from the time when you were still "young?" :-)?

Ruf: Hey! I'm still young :-) One of the highlights was certainly visiting the port of Hamburg together with a product manager.

Leuze: Yes, that was certainly not an everyday experience. But after earning your bachelor's degree, you didn't join Leuze right away...

Ruf: No, not right away. I was so fascinated in the process of further technical development that I decided to continue my studies with a master's degree in Iinnovation Management" at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. During this time, however, I also worked as often as I could as a student employee at Leuze in the area of marketing.

Leuze: But you didn't develop a love with marketing, but rather stayed true to technology.

Ruf: Yes and no. Technology and further technical development fascinate me, that’s true. But what would technology be without concrete application benefits? Technology is only as good as it serves the customer. This combination of technology and customer – my job as a product manager offers this possibility.

Leuze: Your first big project in product management at Leuze?

Ruf: My master's thesis on the "SmartCore cable" – basically, I oversaw this project from its technical development to its market launch together with my colleague, the responsible product manager.

Leuze: That's quite a bit of responsibility for someone just starting out...

Ruf: Yes, but it was this big challenge that I found so interesting. When the project began, I didn't even know the difference between a wire core and a wire lead… (laughs).

Leuze: A few words on your "baby" – what exactly does this cable do?

Ruf: Basically, the SmartCore cable can detect early on whether and where a cable will break. As a result, predictive maintenance is, in principle, possible. This means that it is possible to make concrete plans even before the system comes to a standstill, thereby allowing expensive downtimes to be completely avoided.

Leuze: Well explained – sounds very utilitarian.

Ruf: Yes, I consider clear communication – the conveying of information between the various interested parties of the departments and making decisions in the interest of the product and its benefits to the customer – as one of the most important parts of my job.

Leuze: Your current task in the Product Center Supplementary Products and Accessories?

Ruf: As Junior Product Manager, I oversee the capacitive sensors, the line of signal lamps and the topic RFID. I found the flexibility and agility that comes with the topic of supplementary products and accessories exciting already while working on my master's thesis. This was also key to my decision to start my professional career in this department.

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Ruf.

[Translate to English:] Katarina Zeko, Facharbeiterin im Lager

[Translate to English:]

Katarina Zeko arbeitet seit über 20 Jahren bei Leuze. Sie brennt für ihre Aufgabe wie am ersten Tag. Als Facharbeiterin im Lager hat sie über die Jahre die Lagerlogistik aktiv und mit viel Energie mitgestaltet, vorangetrieben und zu einem familären Zusammenhalt im Team beigetragen.

Leuze: Frau Zeko, Sie gehören zu einem der Urgesteine von Leuze, die dem Unternehmen schon viele Jahre die Treue halten...

Zeko: Ja, das kann man so sagen – seit 1996 arbeite ich im Lager für Leuze.

Leuze: Schon immer hier in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: Nein – ich habe viele Jahre in der Braike in Owen gearbeitet, zeitweise auch halbtags, als meine Kinder noch klein waren.

Leuze: Was hat Sie gerade zu Leuze geführt?

Zeko: Das ist eine lange Geschichte und ein Werdegang mit Umwegen...

Leuze: Ich bin gespannt – verraten Sie mir Ihren Weg?
 
Zeko: Gerne. Eigentlich bin ich studierte Juristin.

Leuze: Juristin?

Zeko: Ja, ich bin gebürtige Kroatin. Als ich 1993 nach Deutschland kam, war ich der deutschen Sprache nicht mächtig – einen Beruf als Juristin auszuüben war also undenkbar.

Leuze: Sie sprechen aber perfekt deutsch...

Zeko: Ja, mittlerweile. Damals musste ich mir die Sprache und auch ein neues Berufsbild erst hart erarbeiten.

Leuze: Das ist Ihnen gelungen – das heißt, Sie haben umgeschult?

Zeko: Ja, ich habe nochmals eine komplett neue Ausbildung über die IHK gemacht – die Ausbildung zur Kauffrau für Bürokommunikation, in der Abendschule. Tagsüber habe ich weiterhin gearbeitet.

Leuze: Respekt! Da haben Sie auch schon bei Leuze gearbeitet?
 
Zeko: Ja, ich wohnte in Kirchheim bzw. tue das heute noch. Mir war wichtig, dass mein Arbeitgeber in der Nähe meines Wohnorts ist. Das bot mir zeitlich die meiste Flexibilität – mit der Abendschule, der Familie, später den Kindern.

Leuze: Das kann ich gut verstehen. Und warum gerade Leuze? Mit Ihrer Ausbildung waren Sie ja nicht unbedingt an die Sensorbranche gebunden...

Zeko: Das nicht, aber mir war wichtig, zu einem großen Arbeitgeber zu gehen, einem wachsenden Unternehmen mit Zukunft.

Leuze: Klein ist Leuze nicht gerade, aber auch kein Konzern...
 
Zeko: Nein, aber ein solides Unternehmen – und ein international tätiges Unterehmen dazu. Das war mir wichtig. Ein Konzern wäre für mich auch niemals in Frage gekommen...

Leuze: Was finden Sie bei Leuze, was Sie in einem Konzern nicht glauben für sich zu finden?

Zeko: Ich bin Südländerin – da zählt die Familie und der familiäre Zusammenhalt sehr viel. Und diesen finde ich auch hier bei Leuze.

Leuze: Trotz dessen, dass Leuze ja doch sehr stark gewachsen ist die letzen Jahre?
 
Zeko: Ja, in jedem Fall. Ich finde es beispielsweise schön, den Firmenmitgründer Christof Leuze und seine Familie persönlich zu kennen, zu erleben und zu wissen, für wen ich arbeite. Und umgekehrt kennt auch er die langjährigen Mitarbeiter noch alle beim Namen und besucht uns heute noch regelmäßig. Neulich hat er uns erst hier im Lager mit seinen Enkeln besucht und aus dem Nähkästchen geplaudert.

Leuze: Das ist ja nett... und wie steht es um den Zusammenhalt zwischen den Kollegen?

Zeko: Das ist ein guter Punkt – auch das meine ich mit familiärem Charakter. Wir sind hier im Lager wie eine große Familie, wir interessieren uns für einander, halten zusammen.

Leuze: Wie äußert sich dieser Zusammenhalt?

Zeko: Wir helfen uns gegenseitig, krempeln zusammen die Ärmel hoch, inklusive unserem Chef. Wir sind ein echtes Team. So ist auch die Bereitschaft zur flexiblen Arbeit in wachsenden Zeiten da. Und zur Belohnung gibt es ab und zu einen Kuchen von mir...

Leuze: Das ist ja schön – ich komme auch mal zum Kuchen testen vorbei :-) Aber Spaß beiseite: Sie selbst haben einen enormen persönlichen Beitrag dazu geleistet, dass das 6500 qm große Lager in Unterlenningen heute so aufgebaut ist wie es ist...
 
Zeko: Ja, schon. Ich habe beim Aufbau des Lagers hier viele Stunden verbracht, mir bedeutet dieses Lager sehr viel. Ich möchte, dass alle funktioniert und gut läuft und dass letztendlich unsere Kunden rechtzeitig ihre bestellten Produkte erhalten.

Leuze: Sie sind sehr engagiert…

Zeko: Das sind wir alle, aber ja, ich bin eine Macherin, im Privaten wie im Beruflichen. Alles andere wäre wider meinem Naturell. (lacht).

Leuze: Das spürt man – Sie sind mit Leib und Seele ein Sensor People :-)

Zeko: Ich möchte meine Erfahrung miteinbringen und weitergeben an die jüngeren Kollegen. Schließlich habe ich über viele Jahre hinweg die Lagerlogistik aktiv mitgestaltet und aufgebaut: Canban, Hotline, usw. ...

Leuze: Vielen Dank für das sympatische Interview, Frau Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Katarina Zeko, Warehouse Specialist

Katarina Zeko has been working at Leuze for more than 20 years. She is still as excited about her job as she was on the first day. As a warehouse specialist, she has actively helped shaping the warehouse logistics with much enthusiasm over the years as well as building team spirit.

Leuze: Ms. Zeko, you are one of the originals at Leuze, who has been loyal to the company for many years...

Zeko: Yes, you could say that. I have been working in the warehouse at Leuze since 1996.

Leuze: Always here in Unterlenningen?
 
Zeko: No. For many years I worked in Braike in Owen, sometimes also only 50% when my children were still small.

Leuze: Why Leuze?

Zeko: That’s a long story and a career path with detours...

Leuze: That sounds interesting. Can you share what your path was?
 
Zeko: Of course. Actually, I studied law.

Leuze: You are an attorney?

Zeko: Yes. I was born in Croatia. When I came to Germany in 1993, I had a hard time speaking German, which made it inconceivable to practice law.

Leuze: But your German is perfect...

Zeko: Now it is, yes. Back then I had to work very hard to learn the language and take a new career path.

Leuze: But you managed. So this means you changed careers?

Zeko: Yes. I retrained from scratch by attending evening school at IHK to become a management assistant for office communication. I continued to work during the day.

Leuze: That’s impressive! Did you already work at Leuze at that time?
 
Zeko: Yes, I already lived in Kirchheim at the time. It was important to me that my workplace was close to home. This gave me maximum flexibility to attend evening classes and spend time with my family and later on the children.

Leuze: That makes sense. And why Leuze of all places? Your training wasn’t necessarily geared towards the sensor industry...

Zeko: That is true, but to me it was important to work for a big and growing company that would offer a future.

Leuze: While Leuze isn’t a small company, it’s no major corporation either...
 
Zeko: No, but it’s a solid company – and an international one at that. That was important to me. A major corporation was never in the cards for me...

Leuze: What does Leuze offer that a corporation doesn’t?

Zeko: I am a southerner, and in this culture the family and sense of family matters a lot. And this is what Leuze offers.

Leuze: Despite of the fact that Leuze has significantly grown in the last couple of years?
 
Zeko: Yes, most definitely. For example, I really enjoy that I personally know and get to experience company founder Christof Leuze and his family, and that I know who I work for. And he also knows all longtime employees by name and still visits us regularly to this day. Not too long ago he and his grandchildren visited us here in the warehouse and shared some gossip.

Leuze: That’s nice... And how is the team spirit between the colleagues?

Zeko: That is an important point, and also what I mean by a sense of family. We are like a big family here in the warehouse, we take an interest in each other and we have each others backs.

Leuze: In what sense?

Zeko: We help each other and roll up our sleeves as a team, including our boss. We truly are a team. And we are also flexible in terms of working hours during times of growth. And as a reward I bake a cake once in a while...

Leuze: Nice – I should come by to sample the cake sometime :-) But in all seriousness: You have personally made a big difference in making the 6500-sqm warehouse in Unterlenningen what it is today.
 
Zeko: Yes, that’s true. I spent many working hours when the warehouse was built, it is really dear to my heart. I want to make sure that everything works and runs smoothly, so that our customers get the products they ordered in time.

Leuze: You are very committed...

Zeko: All of us are. But yes, I’m a doer, both in my personal and professional life. Anything else would be against my nature (laughs).

Leuze: I can tell – you are "Sensor People" through and through :-)

Zeko: I want to help with my experience and share it with the younger colleagues. After all, I have actively co-created and helped to build the warehouse logistics over the course of many years: Canban, Hotline, etc...

Leuze: Many thanks for the interview Ms. Zeko.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.

[Translate to English:] Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logstics

[Translate to English:]

Ibrahim Zuva hat eine Bilderbuchkarriere bei Leuze gemacht: Binnen 10 Jahren von der Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik zum Director Logistics mit der spannenden Aufgabe, ein neues, großes AKL für Leuze am Standort Owen aufzubauen.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, Sie sind noch keine 40 Jahre alt und schon Director Logistics...

Zuva: Ja, so gesehen kann ich mit U40 schon auf eine gute Karriere bei Leuze zurückblicken...

Leuze: Die wie begann?

Zuva: Die Verbundenheit zu Leuze hat sehr früh angefangen: Ich erinnere mich noch heute, wie ich früher als Kind zusammen mit meinem Vater meine Mutter und meine Oma häufiger von der Arbeit bei Leuze Textil abholte... und wie mein Vater mir aus dem Snackautomaten, den es damals schon gab, hin oder wieder einen Schokoriegel rausließ...

Leuze: So lange sind Sie schon mit dem Unternehmen verbunden?

Zuva: Ja, die halbe Familie arbeitete hier – meine Tante tut es heute noch.

Leuze: Dann sind Sie ja quasi ein richtiges „Kind“ des Unternehmens?!

Zuva: Ja, kann man schon so sagen - wobei ich nach meinem BWL-Studium an der Fachhochschule in Aalen durchaus offen und nicht fixiert war - weder auf das Arbeiten im Ländle, noch auf Leuze. Durch meine weltoffene Mentalität komme ich mit Menschen unterschiedlichster Kulturen schnell und gut zurecht.

Leuze: Ihr Name klingt nicht.direkt „schwäbisch“... darf ich fragen, wo ihre Wurzeln liegen?

Zuva: Geboren bin ich in Kirchheim/Teck. Dort habe ich auch den Großteil meines Lebens verbracht. Meine Familie kommt ursprünglich aus der Türkei. Mich selbst würde ich als schwäbischen Deutsch-Türken bezeichnen.

Leuze: Und was führte Sie in jungen Jahren trotzdem nicht in die große weite Welt, sondern ins Lenninger Tal?

Zuva: Hm, um ehrlich zu sein – trotz gutem Studienabschluss fand ich damals nicht sogleich einen Job.. wohnhaft in Kirchheim... Familie, die auch bei Leuze arbeitete... da lag es irgendwie nahe, mich hier zu bewerben.

Leuze: Das ist eine ehrliche Antwort... dann haben Sie in welcher Funktion hier begonnen?

Zuva: 2006 startete ich als Aushilfe im Bereich Logistik.

Leuze: Und gute zehn Jahre später sind Sie Director Logistics? Das ist wirklich eine schöne Karriere...

Zuva: So gesehen ja. Sicher ist vieles darauf zurückzuführen, dass ich jemand bin, der gerne anpackt, gut schwäbisch die Ärmel hochkrempelt, „schafft“. Aber ich hatte auch Glück und war zur rechten Zeit am rechten Ort und Vorgesetzte, die an mich glaubten und mir die Möglichkeit gaben, mich permanent weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Was konkret meinen Sie damit?

Zuva: 2006 wurde das erste AKL in Owen am Standort der Firmenzentrale gebaut. In dieser Zeit musste das komplette Lager nach Unterlenningen umziehen. Ich bekam die für einen Jungster sehr verantwortungvolle Aufgabe, die Produktion in Owen logistisch von Unterlenningen aus weiter zu versorgen...

Leuze: Dazu braucht man aber doch eigentlich etwas Erfahrung... oder?

Zuva: Ich machte das ja auch nicht alleine, sondern mit Unterstützung der Kollegen, die alle tatkräftig mitanpackten – ich denke, das zeichnet uns Sensor People aus – damals wie heute.

Leuze: Sie haben mich neugierig gemacht... wie ging es dann weiter in Ihrer Vita?

Zuva: Ende 2006 bewarb ich mich auf eine Sachbearbeiterstelle in der Fertigungssteuerung in unserer Tochtergesellschaft Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Dann ging alles ganz schnell. Zum 1. Januar trat ich die neue Stelle an und zog in kürzester Zeit mit Sack und Pack von Kirchheim ins Donautal.
 
Leuze: Und dann?

Zuva: Ich arbeitete in Unterstadion in einem kleinen Team von vier bis fünf Kollegen im Auftragszentrum und entwickelte mich mehr und mehr in die Rolle ihres Gruppensprechers. Zudem erweiterte sich mein Aufgabengebiet zunehmend. Ich hatte die Möglichkeit, immer Neues hinzuzulernen und mich weiterzuentwickeln.

Leuze: Welche Aufgaben kamen zu Ihrer sachbearbeitenden Tätigkeit im Auftragszentrum beispielsweise hinzu?

Zuva: Mit der Verlagerung unserer Fertigung von Fürstenfeldbruck nach Unterstadion wurden wir zum Supply Chain Management, welches die Fertigungssteuerung, das Auftragszentrum, Warehouse und IT umfasste. Zu jenem Zeitpunkt wurde ich zum Teamleiter von Fertigungssteuerung und Auftragszentrum, gleichzeitig zum stellvertretenden Abteilungsleiter des gesamten Bereichs.

Leuze: Das war ein wirklich großer Spung...

Zuva: Ja, das war es. Zudem bekam ich zum Tagesgeschäft mein erstes großes Projekt hinzu – die ERP-Einführung. Und kurz darauf, 2012, folgte schon ein Zweites: die Gründung der Produktionsgesellschaft in China.

Leuze: Da war ja Tagesgeschäft kaum mehr möglich...

Zuva: Es wurde zumindest zunehmend schwieriger. Deshalb auch die Entscheidung, mich als Mitarbeiter von Leuze electronic Assembly für sechs Monate an Leuze „auszuleihen“...

Leuze: „Ausleihen“... wie sich das anhört... das klingt ja wie ein Stück Ware...

Zuva: Nein, so war es natürlich nicht – natürlich wurde ich gefragt, und ich wollte - und wie ich wollte! Ein halbes Jahr bin ich zwischen China und Owen gependelt, habe Flugmeilen gesammelt, über 30 Flüge in nur einem Jahr...

Leuze: Puh... das war dann wirklich ein Sprung vom überschaubaren ländlichen Unterstadion nach Shenzhen in China... kein Heimweh?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil, ich hatte Blut geleckt... ich konnte meinen multikulturellen Charakter erst richtig ausleben und noch bevor das China-Projekt abgeschlossen war, bekam ich schon das nächste Angebot...

Leuze: Welches?

Zuva: Vertriebscontrolling USA.

Leuze: Das heißt, von China direkt in die USA?

Zuva: Genau... ab und zu hatte ich meinen Platz aber auch in Owen, im Controlling.

Leuze: Das war ein nächster großer Sprung für Sie...

Zuva: Ja, man hat mir viel Vertrauen entgegengebracht und ich hatte die Chance, mich in unterschiedlichsten Themengebieten und Ländern beweisen zu können.

Leuze: Wie lange waren Sie dann in den USA?

Zuva: Über ein Jahr... bis ich Ende 2013 erneut ein Angebot bekam, Beteiligungscontroller für China und USA zu werden. Dieses führte mich zurück nach Owen... Das war auch der Moment, in dem ich offiziell vom Mitarbeiter der Leuze electronic Assembly zum Mitarbeiter von Leuze wurde.

Leuze: Wenn ich gut mitgerechnet habe, müssten Sie sieben Jahre weg gewesen sein...

Zuva: Gut mitgerechnet! (lacht) – es waren auf den Tag sieben Jahre... es passte einfach alles perfekt zusammen – die erworbenen Kenntnisse, die gemachten internationalen Erfahrungen in China und USA.

Leuze: Aber heute sind Sie nicht im Controlling tätig...

Zuva: Nein, Mitte 2015 übernahm ich die Verantwortung für die Logistik in Owen und schimpfe mich heute neudeutsch Director Logistics mit vielen neuen spannenden Aufgaben und Herausforderungen...

Leuze: Ist es richtig, dass ein großes, neues Logistikcenter gebaut werden soll?

Zuva: Ja, und irgendwie schließt sich für mich damit der Kreis... Vor guten zehn Jahren wurde das erste automatisierte Kleinteilelager in Owen gebaut und ich begleitete den Aufbau als Aushilfe in der Lagerlogistik. Heute bin ich verantwortlich für die Weiterentwicklung der Logistik und dazu gehört auch ein neues AKL.

Leuze: Das heißt, Sie sind jetzt der Vorgesetzte der Sensor People, die früher Ihre Kollegen waren? Gibt das keine Probleme?

Zuva: Im Gegenteil. Wir haben ein sehr gutes Mit- und Füreinander.

Leuze: Worauf führen Sie das zurück?

Zuva: Ich bin mir meiner Entwicklung bewusst, aber ich bin immer bodenständig geblieben, packe immer selbst mit an, krämpele heute die Ärmel genauso hoch wie vor zehn Jahren. Und: Ich bin vielen Menschen begegnet, die mir viel Erfahrung weitergegeben, mich auf meinem Weg und bei meinen Entscheidungen unterstützt haben und dankbar dafür, dass mir so viel Vertrauen geschenkt wurde.

Leuze: Herr Zuva, vielen Dank für das ausführliche und offene Gespräch.

Ibrahim Zuva, Director Logistics

Ibrahim Zuva has had a storybook career at Leuze: within 10 years, he advanced from a temporary worker in the area of Logistics to Director Logistics with the exciting task of creating a new, large automated small-parts warehouse for Leuze at the Owen location.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, you are not even 40 years old yet and are already Director Logistics...

Zuva: Yes, if you put it that way I can already look back on a good career at Leuze before I reached 40.

Leuze: That began how?

Zuva: My connection to Leuze began very early: I can still remember as a child picking up my mother and grandmother from work at Leuze Textil together with my father… and how my father would sometimes slip me a chocolate bar from the vending machine that was in the company back then...

Leuze: You've had a connection to the company that long?

Zuva: Yes, half my family has worked here – my aunt still does.

Leuze: Then you're practically a true "child" of the company?

Zuva: Yes, you could say so – though after earning my degree in business administration at the Technical University in Aalen, I was completely open and wasn't focused on anything in particular – neither on working in the region where I grew up nor in Leuze. Thanks to my open-minded mentality, I get along with people from various cultures quickly and well.

Leuze: Your name doesn’t sound Swabian, can I ask where you are originally from?

Zuva: I was born in Kirchheim/Teck. I've also spent a large part of my life there. My family is originally from Turkey. I would describe myself as a Swabian German-Turk.

Leuze: And what led you in your younger years into the Lenningen Valley instead of the wide-open world?

Zuva: Hmm, to be honest – in spite of earning good grades at university, I wasn't able to find a job right away. I lived in Kirchheim, my family also worked at Leuze… it was only natural that I would apply for a job here.

Leuze: That's an honest answer. In what function did you start out here?

Zuva: I started in 2006 as a temporary worker in the Logistics area.

Leuze: And about 10 years on you have the title Director Logistics? That is truly a nice career…

Zuva: If you put it that way, yes. A lot is certainly due to the fact that I am someone who loves to roll up his sleeves and get to work, as we say in Swabia. But I was also lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and to have had supervisors who believed in me and gave me the possibility to constantly further develop myself.

Leuze: What exactly do you mean by that?

Zuva: The first small-parts warehouse was constructed in Owen at the location of the company headquarters in 2006. During this time, the entire warehouse had to be relocated to Unterlenningen. I was given the task of continuing to supply production in Owen logistically from Unterlenningen, something that carried a great deal of responsibility for a youngster...

Leuze: Doesn't one need a bit of experience for such a project?

Zuva: I didn't do it alone, of course. Rather, I had support from colleagues who all actively contributed – I think that is what characterizes us Sensor People – then as well as today.

Leuze: You've made me curious… what happened next in your career?

Zuva: At the end of 2006, I applied for a clerical position in the production control of our subsidiary, Leuze electronic Assembly in Unterstadion. Then things started happening very quickly. I started the new job on January 1 and moved lock, stock and barrel from Kirchheim to the Danube Valley.
 
Leuze: And then?

Zuva: In Unterstadion I worked in a small team of four to five colleagues in the order center and gradually developed into the role of the group spokesperson. In addition, my area of responsibility continued to expand. I had the possibility to always learn something new and to develop myself further.

Leuze: In addition to your clerical work, what other tasks did you have in the order center?

Zuva: With the relocation of our production from Fürstenfeldbruck to Unterstadion, we became Supply Chain Management, comprising production control, the order center, warehouse and IT. At that time, I became team leader of production control and the order center and also the deputy department manager of the entire area.

Leuze: That was certainly a big jump...

Zuva: Yes, it definitely was. In addition to the day-to-day business, I was also assigned my first big project – ERP implementation. And shortly thereafter, in 2012, a second project followed: the founding of the production company in China.

Leuze: Keeping up with day-to-day business must have been nearly impossible...

Zuva: It was at least becoming increasingly more difficult. The decision was therefore made to "lend" me out as an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to Leuze for six months...

Leuze: "Lend" - that sounds... it sound like lending a piece of equipment...

Zuva: No, it wasn't that way at all – I was, of course, asked, and I wanted to – oh, how I wanted to! For half a year, I commuted between China and Owen, collecting frequent flier miles along the way – more than 30 flights in just a year...

Leuze: Wow... that was certainly a leap from the manageable, rural Unterstadion to Shenzhen in China… no homesickness?

Zuva: Quite the opposite, I'd tasted blood… for the first time, I could really let my multicultural character run free, and before the China project was completed, I'd already received my next offer...

Leuze: Which is?

Zuva: Sales controlling in the USA.

Leuze: That means from China, straight to the USA?

Zuva: Exactly… from time to time, I had my place in Owen as well, in Controlling.

Leuze: That was the next big leap for you...

Zuva: Yes, a great deal of trust was placed in me, and I had the opportunity to prove myself in a wide range of areas and countries.

Leuze: How long were you in the USA then?

Zuva: For more than a year… until I received another offer at the end of 2013 to work as the participation controller for China and the USA. That brought me back to Owen... That was also the moment in which I officially changed from being an employee of Leuze electronic Assembly to an employee of Leuze.

Leuze: If I calculated correctly, you must have been gone for seven years.

Zuva: Way to keep track! (laughs) – It was seven years to the day. Everything came together perfectly – the acquired knowledge, the international experiences I had made in China and the USA.

Leuze: But you no longer work in Controlling...

Zuva: No, in mid-2015, I assumed responsibility for Logistics in Owen and have the title of Director Logistics with many new exciting tasks and challenges...

Leuze: Is it true that a large and new logistics center is about to be built?

Zuva: Yes, and that somehow completes the circle for me. Over ten years ago, the first automated small-parts warehouse was built in Owen and, while that was being constructed, I was a temporary worker in warehouse logistics. Today I'm responsible for the further development of Logistics, and that also includes a new small-parts warehouse.

Leuze: That means you are now the supervisor of the Sensor People who were your colleagues in the past? Are there any problems?

Zuva: Quite the opposite. We have a very good rapport with one another.

Leuze: To what do you attribute that?

Zuva: I'm aware of my development, but I still have my feet on the ground and still roll my sleeves up and get down to work alongside everyone else just as I did ten years ago. And: I've met many people along the way who have handed down a great deal of experience to me and who have supported my decisions. I'm thankful that so much trust was given to me.

Leuze: Mr. Zuva, thank you for the detailed and open conversation.