An Example of Excellence in the Face of Adversity (podcast highlights)

Jun 23, 2020 • FeaturesDigital TransformationSalesforceThe Field Service PodcastCovid-19Leadership and Strategymichael kuebelcustomer centricity

Koenig and Bauer were an organisation who showed excellent agility, innovation and leadership during the pandemic. Here, Lukas Fahnroth explains how the embedded culture within the organisation helped them pivot and adapt so quickly.


Want to hear more? Head over to our podcast library @ and look for Series Five, Episode Three 'Adaptability, Customer-Centricity and Recovery ft. Lukas Fahnroth & Michael Kuebel'


Field Service Management, Driven By Customer service, Empowered by Digital Transformation

The story of Koenig and Bauer and how their early adoption of a digital transformation strategy allowed them to ride the troubling times brought on by the Covid-19 lockdowns, makes an excellent case study for what best practice can look like in field service. In a recent episode of the Field Service Podcast, Lucas Fahnroth discussed exactly what the culture was within the organisation and how they had been able to pivot during the crisis so effectively. Indeed, companies like Koenig and Bauer have led the way by showing how having an agile mindset within an organisation can be an essential component in success both in times of plenty and in times of famine.

But just how did Koenig and Bauer develop such an internal skill-set and what are the key attributes that empower them to be able to adapt so swiftly when presented with a seemingly insurmountable challenge? 

Koenig and Bauer is the oldest manufacturer of printing presses in the world," Fanroth begins.

"That means we've got a 200 plus year history of constant innovation and constant pivoting, which from my standpoint has only been possible because Koenig and Bauer has constantly looked after our customers and put the customer in the centre of everything we do. The Covid-19 crisis really hit us obviously across our worldwide service operation.  So it took a lot of care to work out how to deal with this in order to continue our 200 plus year success story of constant innovation and constant development.

"The way we at Koenig and Bauer see this crisis is actually as a sort of litmus test of our leadership where it really takes a clear vision in terms of not only how we see the crisis but also how we see our own role in these times of adversity and uncertainty. One thing is for certain - and that is that we will be judged by our response for years to come," Fahnroth adds. 


"We've produced 100,000 face shields and are donating them as we speak. That's something internally we've done in order to give back to our community..."

- Lucas Fahnroth, Koenig and Bauer


"On the one hand we will be judged internally by our employees and also internal stakeholders, but also externally by our customers. Customer centricity means that we as a company need to be a good partner to our customers, and especially during those difficult times it's necessary to be a good partner and what we've done is to communicate this very early on to the stakeholders involved.

One of the things that shines through in the wider discussion with Fahnroth and Salesforce's Michael Kuebel who was also part of the discussion, is the importance of communication. As Fahnroth explains; "We've talked a lot to our customers. We've compiled a package of Covid-19 response actions to help our customers and to really fulfil that role of a good partner in these challenging times.

"We've made special offers to our customers, we've given free access to our analytics tools and our customer community. We have stayed in constant contact with our customers, and we really try to deliver those individual responses and those individual aids that our customers need in such times. We've extended our hotline services and we've brought in more subject matter experts."

While the focus on customer-centricity is important, even crucial, the truth remains however, that such an approach is far more easily facilitated by a modern digitalised approach to field service delivery.

"We have also digitalised the process," Fanhroth explains. "A lot of those actions have been developed or were being developed before the crisis - we actually had a couple of them already in place. But what Covid-19 did for us was really supercharge this development and the market launch for some of those features. For example, our hotline services have been extended and we've been working with video support for our customers for quite some time. However, we've really seen the spike in demand for those actions and we are really seeing adoption grow and further develop with those actions.

"So facing our customers, we've really seen a lot of those products, a lot of those features and services we've sometimes already had in place, be supercharged," he adds.

There is certainly a sense of community leadership that appears to also underpin much of the thinking within Koenig and Bauer.

"Coming back to our general strategy, as I said, we have to also keep in mind all our internal stakeholders," Fahnroth comments. 

"So in order to fill this role of a real leadership, we've also thought a lot about our communities. Koenig and Bauer has used a lot of production and demo facilities and free capacities we've had to produce face shields for example. We've produced 100,000 face shields and are donating them as we speak. That's something internally we've done in order to give back to our community."

The very way in which Koenig and Bauer operate is also underpinned by a 200 year history of innovation, exactly as Fahnroth asserts and it is within that ingenuity that it would appear the secrets of success might lie.

"We've seen the way work looks like now at Koenig and Bauer," Fahnroth states. "We adopted G-Suite at the end of last year and we've seen a huge change in how people at Koenig and Bauer work now. It really is a change towards a more mobile way of working and a lot more collaborative. It's really changed a lot of the way communication and work at Koenig and Bauer looks and we're really glad to see that change of mindset," he adds. 


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