Optische Werke G. Rodenstock

Optische Werke G. Rodenstock manufactures spectacle lenses, spectacle frames, precision optical systems and equipment for the optical laboratory. Rodenstock's roots go back over 100 years and a member of the Rodenstock family has always run the company.

Head offices are in a five-story building several miles from Munich city center in one of the company's factory sites which is surrounded by a residential area. A security guard, who doesn't speak a word of English, greets visitors in the plain, no-frills tiny lobby. I get the bum's rush here as I'm told they're in the midst of a restructuring and that they never received my advance letter sent to Randolf Rodenstock, President and great-grandson of the founder. Someone's assistant comes to the lobby and hands me a company brochure as if that will satisfy me. Yep, I come all the way from California on a bicycle just to pick up a brochure.

The brochure is a little out of date as it says Rodenstock has a workforce of approximately 6,700 and revenues of 780 million German Marks in 1992. I especially like the following line in the brochure: "Both customers and staff are seen as individuals and not mere anonymous elements of a large crowd". Since I'm not a customer or staff then that makes me an anonymous element of a large crowd. Hmm, that explains the "couldn't care less" attitude.