Zühlke – Empowering Ideas

Organization and Culture

From Engineer to Digital Consultant: Fabian Laasch’s organic career pivot

Fabian Laasch
  • Learn how Zühlke’s ‘open door’ culture helped Fabian Laasch transition from Electronic Engineering to Digital Consultancy.
  • Discover how Zühlke’s flexible working environment adapts to make the most of what its people have to offer.
  • Hear Fabian’s insights on what makes an effective Digital Consultant at Zühlke.
5 minutes to read

‘Gaining a higher view on the project gave me an appetite for a more consultative role.’

Fabian Laasch joined Zühlke Germany as a senior Systems Engineer in 2013, based in Frankfurt. After working his way up to Lead System Architect, in April 2020 he embarked on a new career as a Digital Consultant.

Fabian said: ‘In hindsight, it was a very organic progression. I’d been working on a few projects where I needed to zoom out from technology requirements and think about the wider business view.’

‘For instance, we were developing a sensor for a medical device in the pharma industry. But it was clear in testing that it would be better for customers if we based it around a mobile app instead.’

‘I had a similar experience, when mentoring a start-up. Zühlke employees are given time to mentor other businesses, which also helps our personal development. One start-up I worked with was developing digital picture frame technology. It became clear that in order for the project to be viable, the business needed to pivot from hardware focused development towards software focused development. We helped with that change and the company saw great success.’

‘In both cases, gaining a higher view on the project – to understand the problem and recommend the right solution – gave me an appetite for a more consultative role.’

Opening the doors to possibility

Fabian found it straightforward to move from his technical role at Zühlke to a more business-focused one. He said: ‘At Zühlke, the term “open door” isn’t just a buzzword – anyone can talk to the upper management’

He expressed his desire to do other, more interesting things. In response, he was invited to move into the Digital Consultancy team. After discussing the opportunity with the team lead and various other people, it was arranged very quickly – within about a month.

A technologist in a business role

Fabian said: ‘It didn’t take long for my new team members to see the value in my Engineering background. They quickly saw the opportunity to strengthen their connections across the Zühlke group, where I have a great network. And they realised that, as well as electronic design skills, I was able to be a moderator in workshops, to talk directly to customers, and to understand their needs in an empathic way.’

Fabian’s previous Engineering colleagues needed a little more explanation around his move in order to help them understand how best to integrate him into their projects.

Part of this was down to the fact that the move happened during a period of enforced home working caused by COVID-19. The fact that Fabian was unable to work shoulder-to-shoulder with his new colleagues didn’t help.

New skills and new levels of job satisfaction

Fabian has been involved in rewarding skills exchanges since moving. He said: ‘I’ve learned a lot from my new colleagues. I taught them about how to develop products and projects. And I’ve learned how to structure information, how to synthesise the right outcomes from insights, how to give convincing presentations, and much more.’

Indeed, within his first year, Fabian completed a highly successful project. The client had come to Zühlke for a fresh perspective on a very challenging venture – delivering a new product on a demanding timescale, with a tight budget. And where they wanted to add additional features whilst reducing costs.

Fabian said: ‘We ran a series of workshops over four weeks. We drafted different approaches to the challenges, highlighted the outcomes of each, and made recommendations for what the client should do.’

‘The great moment for me was presenting to 30 people in front of C-level Management, which went really well. We then sold the client one of the bigger development projects, like seven or eight Engineers over one year.’

Being a Digital Consultant

When asked about the most important qualities for a Digital Consultant, Fabian said: ‘You need to be open minded and curious. You need to be, in some way, empathic so that you can understand the customer’s needs and what the real problems are.’

For Fabian it was an interesting pivot of the mindset:

‘Ultimately, you need to find solutions for customers, and get problems solved, so it’s not helpful to be particularly risk-averse. In Engineering, risk-awareness is a much-needed skill and to have both perspectives on one project is a perfect match.’ 

Zühlke is a fluid working environment

Fabian really appreciates the wide variety of working opportunities at Zühlke, and is excited by the prospect of applying his gained knowledge in new ways.

He said: ‘I’ve seen so many customers on projects in the last nine years – coffee makers and other household appliances; pharma and medical projects; IoT implementations, and more.’

‘You get a very broad overview of different solutions, and you can take that knowledge and transfer it into other industries, and that makes it very interesting.’

Flat organisational structure

And, more than just the breadth of opportunities, Fabian also appreciates the non-hierarchical culture.

Fabian said: ‘What I know from Zühlke is that you can talk to anyone, any time, no matter how senior. Yesterday, at lunch, just by chance, I found myself chatting with one of the C-level Managers. We sat together for half an hour, discussing a lot of topics. That’s just normal at Zühlke.’

Contact person for Germany

Caroline Oslizlo

Recruiting & Talent Relations