One family, three generations, one employer: Wanzl

Wanzl stories (part 12)

The Wanzl family of founders itself, which has been moulding the company over the course of generations, is also writing a piece of living company history for the Miller family from Kirchheim. Father Xaver (78), son Xaver junior (52), and grandson Christian (26) were born into different times and circumstances, but have one thing in common: they spent, and are still spending, their working lives at Wanzl. How did this happen? Happy accidents, sticking together and Wanzl as a guarantee of job security – all of these elements play a role. On 19 April 1960, the senior man of the family started working in the former “cheese kitchen” of a dairy in Kirchheim, which had been hurriedly converted into a workshop. Working in a very small space, twelve co-workers ensured that metal wire was perfectly soldered, and – once it had been processed with silver solder in a traditional brazing process – indestructible. Since then, Wanzl has continuously developed and expanded, resulting in today’s highly automated Plant III in Kirchheim. There was a strong sense of team spirit amongst the workers through all those years. This came naturally, as everyone knew everyone in the village of Kirchheim, but it was also because the Millers valued the passion with which Rudolf Wanzl dedicated himself to the company 365 days a year, without pause.

Xaver senior and junior tell of how it was not unusual for Rudolf Wanzl to appear in the workshop with a new material: “I’ve had an idea...!” This spirit of innovation and the challenges associated with it were key drivers for Xaver Miller junior joining the company in 1979 and having stayed true to it to the present day. He now enjoys a role as Head of Department. As Wanzl has always been associated with providing job security, he was delighted when his son Christian started his professional life at Wanzl in 2007. And Christian is now just as well qualified as his father. He works as a designer in the metalworking shop and in equipment construction. All three of them recognised that the development of family-run and industrial companies is not only unstoppable but also necessary in order to enjoy a position at the forefront of today’s globalised competition. And despite all the changes, the unifying family values still remain strong. That is why it is very probable that the next generation in Christian’s family will also wear work clothes with a blue logo...