Endress + Hauser
(International) Holding AG
I'm six miles from downtown Basel in an industrial area of suburban
Reinbach. I'm here to visit Endress + Hauser, a family-owned
business with revenues in 2003 of 734 million Euros and over
6,000 employees. What does the company do? Endress + Hauser make
instrumentation and measurement systems with the capabilities
to monitor flow, pressure and temperature.
A large factory facility surrounds the four-story head office
building (built in the 1970's). Visitors enter the building via
a new reception area. Built in 2003, the spacious and impressive
lobby features a spiffy waterfall flowing over glass. Black chairs
and sofas compliment the orange carpet in the waiting area. The
best part? The "no smoking" signs. In the picture accompanying
this story (click on it to enlarge) the entry is to the left
of the several colorful stick-like figures (art sculpture). That's
my bike next to one of the three flagpoles.
Checking in with the receptionist I explain sending a letter
of introduction a month earlier to CEO Klaus Endress. Calls are
made and it's followed by bad news, "no one has time for
you". "Aw jeez", I mutter, "this is my only
chance to visit the company". As I prepare to leave, the
receptionist says to hold on while she makes more calls. Bingo!
thanks to the receptionist's perseverance I'm soon meeting with
Monique Juillerat, Corporate Public Relations. Note: I regret
to say I didn't catch the name of this very helpful receptionist.
It turns out Juillerat is the one who ended up with the letter
of introduction sent to CEO Endress but, was in a meeting when
I arrived. The accommodating Juillerat extends a warm welcome
and gives a tour of the place. About 900 people work here. Employee
parking is free, there's covered parking for cyclists, smoking
is allowed in the workplace and, there's no formal dress code.
From the reception area one can look over the railing and see
the snazzy new company cafeteria on the lower level. Bright and
nicely furnished, employees have the option of eating outside
with the view of a grassy courtyard. Though there are no on-site
recreational facilities, showers are available. It's two minutes
to the nearest freeway, 30 minutes to Basel's airport and 20
minutes to Basel's city center.
I can't see the top floor corner office of CEO Klaus Endress
because "he's not here". Georg H. Endress, then only
29 years old, co-founded the company back in 1953 with Ludwig
Hauser (then 58). In 1995 Georg Endress handed over the reins
of management to his son, Klaus.
Last year (2003) Endress + Hauser celebrated its 50th birthday
and watches commemorating this special event were handed out.
Lucky me gets presented with one of the cool-looking watches.
However, I neglect to tell Juillerat something that's quite ironic.
In the past two years I've visited (so far) over 130 Swiss watch
companies (and counting). The number one question I'm asked by
people is: How many watches have you been given? The answer:
0 as in zero. So, the first and only watch given to me is by
a company having no connection at all with the watch industry.
Company website: www.endress.com