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75 Years of automating safely

In a world where profits often take precedence over people, Pilz and its Managing Partner, Susanne Kunschert, stand out as beacons of values-based leadership.

Pilz is one of the leading names in safe automation solutions, and this year the company is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Starting as a glass-blowing business in 1948, Pilz transformed into an electronics company and later into an automation and digitalization company, all while remaining true to its core values of togetherness, trust and innovation.

In 2017, Susanne Kunschert and her brother, Thomas Pilz, took over the management of the company from their mother, Renate Pilz, who ran the company for many years. Since then, they have continued to uphold the company’s ideals, managing it with a sense of respect and loyalty for their customers and the long history of the company.

As a means of contributing to the history of safe automation and to keep up with current events, Kunschert and Pilz also participate actively in numerous associations and research collaborations.

Customers take center stage


The key strength of Pilz lies in its customer-centric approach. Aside from providing holistic solutions through their products, systems and expert services such as risk assessment, safety validation, training and more, the team of Safety Ambassadors loves to build connections with its customers, powering business continuity.

“We have good products; we have good technology; we have safety experts; and we are close to the customers. We genuinely care for customers and love to involve them when developing tailored solutions to address their specific needs. This is the biggest advantage I think we have in comparison with other competitors,” Managing Partner Kunschert says.

“We genuinely care for customers and love to involve them when developing tailored solutions to address their specific needs.”

Pilz has cultivated strong ties, not only with its customers but also with its suppliers, leading organizations, regulatory bodies and industry experts. These partnerships have allowed Pilz to gain valuable insights, exchange knowledge and contribute to the development of safety standards around the globe.

Numerous international approvals and certifications of Pilz products, from sensor technology to control and drive technology, ensure that the company can tailor solutions to meet the specific needs of its customers across different industries.

Values-based leadership

When asked about her leadership style, Kunschert utters a powerful yet humble response.

“If you lead people, it’s a human relationship and not just a technique,” she says. “The role of a leader varies from situation to situation. Sometimes you have to make really hard decisions and other times you need to bring people together. I do those by going back to our core values – our Christian values. They are our roots, our foundation.

“If you lead people, it’s a human relationship and not just a technique.”

“They are expressed in the togetherness, interaction, trust, reliability and helpfulness at Pilz. I have to say, that’s why you notice the values within the company. They guide us daily. The resulting team spirit enables us to stand strong as we go through crises.”

Kunschert’s leadership style is characterized by her empathetic nature and her ability to foster collaboration within the organization. She firmly believes that a leader’s success is strongly tied to the success and wellbeing of their team members.

Open communication is also actively encouraged and diverse perspectives valued at Pilz. Kunschert believes that collaboration is essential in driving innovation. By encouraging a culture of trust and respect, she has built a nurturing work environment that fosters loyalty and dedication, allowing the team to thrive on collective intelligence and work toward a shared goal.

Looking east


As Pilz celebrates its 75th year, Kunschert is keen to discuss the future for the company, especially in South-East Asia, where its youngest subsidiary is.

“We currently have Singapore as its headquarters, an office in Thailand – which is the biggest market, as of today – and a presence in Malaysia and Vietnam. We plan to expand the Pilz brand to other South-East Asian countries like Indonesia and the Philippines. We want to be known as the complete solution provider for safety and security when it comes to industrial automation,” she says.

“With machinery safety as the core, we are expanding our portfolio and we aim to be well-known in the industrial security domain as well, because there is no safety without security,” she explains.

With expansion comes a responsibility to tread lightly and ensure a healthy planet for future generations. With this in mind, Kunschert adds that she would like to focus on environmental protection and build on past sustainability efforts.

With Pilz’s unwavering commitment to safety, security, innovation and sustainability, it has not only transformed the automation industry but also set a new standard for corporate responsibility. By putting the wellbeing of their customers, employees and the environment at the forefront of their operations, the company has created a culture of trust, collaboration and continuous improvement.

Such a sound foundation promises another 75 years of creating a safer, more secure and sustainable tomorrow.

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