Bernhard Klöss takes the wheel at Endress+Hauser South Africa

January 2019 News

Following the move of Rob Mackenzie to Endress+Hauser’s Swiss-based head office, the company recently announced its choice of Bernhard Klöss as the new managing director of southern African operations. SA Instrumentation and Control had an opportunity to chat to him about the appointment and his plans for the future.

Bernhard Klöss
Bernhard Klöss

“Can we offer you something to drink?” he asks, settling himself comfortably into a chair at the beginning of our interview. An engaging man with an obvious love for social interaction, Klöss has a long history in the automation industry since his first job as an engineer at Siemens in 1994. Various moves followed, including back to Siemens for a 14-year stint during which he transitioned from engineering to sales to management. Prior to accepting the Endress+Hauser offer, Klöss led the Industrial Automation and Control team at EOH, which included the flourishing Schneider Electric software portfolio of solutions.

Thoughtful in response to the question about why the move from EOH, by his own admission he was extremely happy there, Klöss explains that the more he learnt about Endress+Hauser, the more impressed he became with the company. “The vision and culture suit me perfectly,” as he put it. “Technology innovation is at the cutting-edge and the work environment supports creative thinking through processes that do away with unnecessary red tape. We also never forget the importance of having a little fun along the way. Endress+Hauser truly is a family organisation.”

As one would suppose, Endress+Hauser’s expectation of its newest regional leader is continued growth and development in sub-Saharan Africa. So what is the strategy?

Put customer problems first

Klöss’ enthusiasm for technology shines through whenever we touch on the subject, but that is not the approach he intends to take in the field. “What customers expect from us are solutions that go beyond just measurement and solve every aspect of their instrument-related problems,” he explains. “So before we think technology, we have to sit down with them and make sure that we understand those problems entirely, and from their unique process perspective. One of the first things I’ll focus on is aligning everyone to the idea that we need to think from an ‘holistic solutions’ perspective for our customers, not individual products or technologies, no matter how cool we think these may be.”

What he is alluding to is that while technology will undoubtedly be the enabler, the choice available today is so wide that one cannot make optimum recommendations without a detailed understanding of each customer’s particular constraints. In addition, the modern trend is for end users to rely on their automation vendors for more than just product supply. Klöss believes that the future lies in strategic partnerships and long-term service level agreements, built on the foundation of one of the most advanced portfolio of process measurement solutions in the business. This is not a particularly new approach, but the connected nature of Industry 4.0 has added an extra complexity.

Digitalisation as the X-factor

I asked Klöss about Endress+Hauser’s approach to digitalisation and how it fits into the argument he has just outlined. “The most important thing to realise is that you are not selling Industry 4.0,” he says disarmingly. “Industry 4.0 is just a platform for connecting people and things to a richer source of information that has never been available before. But if you want it to work for you then you have to deploy it in ways that optimise the customer’s own particular supply chain.”

The trick then is for vendors to understand exactly where and how their equipment can add value in this context. Klöss explains how Endress+Hauser approached it from two directions. First, at the administrative level, there is the W@M portal designed to provide effective management of a plant’s installed base over the entire asset lifecycle. The web-based interface gives plant owners and operators quick access to the information that accelerates processes such as repair or replacement of an instrument, or downloading calibration certificates for inspection. Second, at the edge level, there is the Heartbeat Technology embedded in every new instrument. Designed with predictive maintenance strategies in mind, Heartbeat-enabled instruments run their own diagnostics while in service to ensure process measurements are kept perfectly under control.

“It’s a powerful combination of concepts,” concludes Klöss. I have to agree. Thanks to smart technology, its customers will in the future be able to track their orders through each step of Endress+Hauser’s process, which brings me back to a point Klöss made at the beginning of the interview: “What customers expect from us are solutions that go beyond just measurement to solve every aspect of their instrument-related problems.” It seems like he knows exactly how he is going deliver against this.

For more information contact Endress+Hauser, +27 11 262 8000,,


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

From the Editor's desk: Digital transformation is more than just technology
May 2019, Technews Publishing (SA Instrumentation & Control) , News
While digitalisation offers new ways to increase operational efficiency, we see many companies battling to overcome the challenges. Particularly, they struggle to get past the ‘pilot’ stage, and are therefore ...

A technology evolution unfolds at X-Change 2019
May 2019, IS³ - Industry Software, Solutions & Support , News
IS3 and AVEVA reimagine asset optimisation and new ways of work in tomorrow’s digitally enhanced manufacturing plants.

The Heartbeat of plant processes
May 2019, Endress+Hauser , Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration
Self-diagnostics and predictive maintenance.

Emerson appoints new president for Middle East and Africa
May 2019, Emerson Automation Solutions , News
Emerson has appointed Vidya Ramnath as the new president for its Automation Solutions business in Middle East and Africa.    A 24-year veteran of Emerson, she was most recently vice president for Emerson’s ...

Emerson and Repsol form strategic alliance
May 2019 , News
Emerson and Repsol have announced a strategic alliance to deliver advanced subsurface geophysical technologies to significantly reduce the time to prospect and produce first oil. To achieve this critical ...

Yokogawa establishes Yokogawa Norge
May 2019 , News
Yokogawa Electric Corporation has announced that it has established a subsidiary in Norway to engage in the sale of control products and provision of related services. The subsidiary, Yokogawa Norge, ...

Local manufacturing key to economic growth
May 2019 , News
The manufacturing sector in southern Africa is primed to take a more active role in supplying goods to the continent and internationally. Characterised by a pioneering diehard attitude, this sector has ...

Iritron welcomes Oculus into the I3Group
May 2019, Iritron , News
Pretoria-based Iritron, a black economic empowered technology company and subsidiary of the I³ Group, providing quality solutions in the fields of electrical, instrumentation and control systems engineering, ...

SKF expands engineering services to address changing customer needs
May 2019, SKF South Africa , News
The last few months have seen SKF South Africa substantially expand its engineering team and services to keep in step with the company’s new technology and service developments, as well as to address ...

HAW to showcase niche product lines at Nampo 2019
May 2019, Hydraulic & Automation Warehouse , News
Hydraulic and Automation Warehouse (HAW), a Bosch Rexroth South Africa Group Company, will showcase eight of its niche product lines at Nampo 2019. Formally known as Grain SA’s Nampo Harvest Day, the ...