40 years with Knoll: Our warmest congratulations to Erika Schilling.

Christian Rieß, Erika Schilling and Rudolf Artmann

From punch cards to the modern-day ERP system, Erika Schilling has seen the company evolve at first hand.

This year, we are celebrating numerous anniversaries across the Knoll Group – reason enough to honour the true secrets of our success over a celebratory meal, and toast loyal service amounting to decades in many cases. 
One such success story is that of our ‘faithful soul’ and administrator Erika Schilling, who started her career exactly 40 years ago – since when she has consistently assisted and influenced the successful path adopted by our company.

For you, Erika, it all started with a training course at Knoll’s automotive parts business in Bayreuth. Do you remember that?

Of course, it seems like yesterday (smiles). My career began on 1st September 1977, which was a sunny Thursday. I was wearing white jeans, and I still recall how annoyed I was when someone said, “off to the warehouse with you”. Luckily I was quickly reassigned because of my outfit, and spent my first day in the central records office.

Where did things go from there?

Soon after completing my apprenticeship as a wholesale and export clerk, I was assisting Mr. Engelbrecht, the purchasing manager at the time, and sales manager Mr. Schneider in the back office. Over the years that followed I worked on the counter, on the switchboard and in the outer management office. We were always having to adapt to new challenges because of holidays and illnesses, but that’s what made things so interesting. Then, in 1986, I switched to the hydraulics division as an administrator. Once again, I was warmly welcomed and fully integrated into the team from day one.

What was different back then, and how has your working environment changed?

The pace of everything was slower back then, I think, definitely not as fast-moving as it is now. Then again, perhaps you just see things differently in the early days. Over the past few years especially, many changes have taken place in the company and completely transformed our processes. Since computers were introduced, for instance, we no longer work with punch cards or telex machines. Orders are now accepted and processed in a centrally managed system. Procedures were then standardised through certification under DIN ISO:9001. As I’m sure you can imagine, that saves the department a great deal of time. The introduction of the new ERP system was also alien to us at first, but now I can hardly imagine working without WWS.

Having completed 40 years’ service, can you stay focused?

Definitely. There’s still some time to go before pension day (laughs). Even after 40 years, I’m sure I won’t get bored here. Ultimately, I want to give the company my full support right to the end – and I look forward to doing so.


Christian Rieß

+49 9208 657439-10
Christian Riess

Similar topics