Trailblazer and Trendsetter - Gerhard Schubert Leaves a Lasting Legacy Behind
The news of Gerhard Schubert's death must have caused great sadness in the packaging industry last week. Shortly before his 85th birthday, the ingenious designer who created a company of world renown closed his eyes forever. What remains behind is a life's work that is unique in the packaging industry.
Gerhard Schubert arranged his succession at an early stage. The father of two sons and a daughter handed over responsibility to his sons Ralf and Gerald years ago. With grandson Johannes, the third generation of the family is already entrusted with management tasks. It has always been a matter of great concern to him that his company is and remains in family hands. The fact that his children and grandchildren are developing his company so rapidly has made him proud and very pleased.
Gerhard Schubert was a passionate musician, aviator and mechanical engineer. Throughout his life, the region of Hohenlohe was more than home to him, it was a true way of life. Diligence, honesty and above all modesty always remained important to him. How he was, describes a situation in his canteen about ten years ago very well. Two Italian customers came up to his table and introduced themselves: “Are you Mr. Schubert? We are from Ferrero and would like to shake hands briefly with the best packaging machine manufacturer in the world ...” Gerhard Schubert looked up briefly, his eyes shone, he looked at the two gentlemen and thanked them politely. A few minutes later, he had his tray in his hand to take it to the kitchen shelf like everyone else. A trainee had leftover food on his plate. He went to him and emphasized in Hohenlohe dialect: “We eat up. You ask your grandpa and your dad. You only take as much on your plate as you can eat!” Gerhard Schubert came from a simple background and has never forgotten that. His origins, his hometown of Crailsheim, his language made him what we will all remember him as: A man of principle, loyalty to his employees and with powerful decision-making skills. A man of action. The “boss” stood by his people. His employees were companions. Many of them for a lifetime. In the truest sense of the word, Gerhard Schubert Verpackungsmaschinen GmbH has always remained a family business despite its now incredible size.
Gerhard Schubert has built up his life's work under his own steam. The company has always continued to develop. Because, as a special machine builder, he recognized earlier than others that standards, modularity and emerging automation would fuel his world of packaging machine building, he was quick to embrace a new line of thinking. He believed in top-loading and achieved world leadership with this packaging principle. Numbers were his lifeblood. Anyone who was there when he briefly ran over things in his head was deeply impressed. There have also been lows. In 2008, for example, demand stalled during the financial crisis. He then stood up in front of the assembled workforce and emphasized, “Let's use this time to advance our innovations, to get even better.” The automatic tool change with the transmodule was born and started on its path to success. The company is now a technology leader in robotics as well. The development of the Cobot must have delighted Gerhard Schubert in his final days.
Gerhard Schubert's legacy shines in Crailsheim. It is in good hands with his successors.
The packaging industry takes a bow before one of the greatest in the industry. May Gerhard Schubert rest in peace!
Author: Matthias Mahr, Editor Lebensmittel Praxis, former Publisher Packaging360 and Editor-in-Chief Neue Verpackung for many years.