“Metrology – what do you actually need it for?” This is the question with which Michael Wieler begins his short introduction to one of the total of six business divisions of the ZEISS Group: the Industrial Metrology (IMT). Today, metrology is everywhere. When admiring the various products exhibited in the ZEISS Museum of Optics in Oberkochen, one has to look closely inside the casing before the fascination of the metrology comes to light. There are the everyday objects like a hairdryer or an electric toothbrush, but then there is also medicine, car manufacturing and aerospace engineering, for which the highly precise measurement technology has become an indispensable tool.
The more you deal with metrology, the more fascinated you become by this world that unfolds on the scale of micrometers and makes our lives simpler and better in so many ways. Metrology perfects implants, makes cars more powerful, airplane motors more durable and smartphones more functional – and these are by far not all the examples.
The 38-year old father of a family has been fascinated by ZEISS industrial metrology since his student times. The enthusiasm for this technological achievement is clearly written all over his face. There is no doubt that it is very important for him personally to share his passion not only with his customers, but also with his colleagues.
Becoming a so-called “Zeissian” was not originally part of his life plan, but he is one “with heart and soul today,” he repots laughing as he tells the story. “The gym where I used to go during my student time at the University of Aalen was looking for an English-speaking personal trainer to help with a sports event.” He agreed, and found himself in a sports hall with the top 150 Zeiss employees shortly thereafter. “This was really fun, and by chance I got talking to the then global sales manager of IMT, who was to become my boss later,” remembers the native of Schwäbisch Gmünd. He was a student of International Sales Management and Technology at that time, and got immediately inspired: by ZEISS, by the possibilities, by the people behind the brand. He was infected – and had apparently also convincing arguments of his own. Then there was a thesis at IMT and the career start as an applications engineer. “Which means that I was in charge of demonstrating our equipment to customers. Not exactly what I had actually wanted, which was to work in distribution, go out into the world and sell. On the other hand, this was how I learned everything about all the fascinating technology behind our devices from the ground up, which proves to have been an extremely valuable experience up until today,” considers Wieler.
Thanks to his comprehensive knowledge he was able to better understand customer wishes and thus find optimal solutions for them in his later position as a regional sales manager in Technical Sales. His success proved him right and led him to his next job as a managing director of an IMT subsidiary in Stuttgart. “I was incredibly happy that I was offered that job – after all, I was only in my early 30s at that time,” says Wieler. The region he is responsible for as a sales manager today is not just a little bigger, but also quite a bit farther: Latin America. Although in the meantime he mainly takes care of the organizational aspects like strategy development, structure expansion and team formation, Wieler had never lost his focus on customers.
Opening the doors into the ZEISS world for the customer, bringing it within reach and at the same time figuring out in a direct exchange what is great and what one can make even better are especially significant moments for him.
“After all, a halt in the work of our machines can have dramatic consequences for the production,” he emphasizes. “This is not just about selling powerful machines. We also care about values like trust, attention and tailored consulting, and this on an intercultural level.” This is certainly not always easy, but his modern, cosmopolitan attitude and a way of thinking deeply rooted in the company’s philosophy seem to be part of Wieler’s secret of success. No matter where in the world his work takes him.
When Michael Wieler looks back at his professional career so far, he feels validated in his decision in favor of ZEISS back in the day: “Every person keeps growing and then automatically looking for new challenges. But I never really had to consider switching the employer, because I have always been offered new, different things here, including when I didn’t even have to raise my hand and ask for it. If you are passionate, committed and like to get involved, there is a lot you can achieve here. I am grateful that ZEISS shows trust in their employees and allows them to just try and do things, giving the possibility to actively contribute to the future of the company. This is hugely motivating. At ZEISS, one is working not only in the company, but also on the company in every sense of the word!”