Hubertus Volmert is CEO of the European lighting manufacturer Trilux. The company recently outlined a vision for growth in Europe with the statement, “Where there is light, there is life”.
This truism reflects the importance of light in human flourishing, but it also speaks to the bright future for Trilux, which provides solutions for the most basic of needs – lighting – while innovating to improve quality and cost efficiency for customers and to minimize its environmental impact.
“One reason behind that is we believe light is essential and is always needed,” Volmert tells The CEO Magazine.
Trilux engineers, manufactures and designs light fixtures, along with lighting solutions for customers around the world. It provides illumination for everything from humble residential properties to sprawling industrial complexes and chic offices and showrooms.
Its brand promise and philosophy “Simplify your Light” underscores the company’s commitment to making complex lighting solutions as simple and service-oriented as possible.
Trilux has been a leader in the LED transformation, in which greater light energy is produced from lighting fixtures rather than heat energy. But it’s growing beyond traditional illumination projects to provide digital services for customers.
It is also rising to meet the challenge of the climate crisis by creating less-carbon-intensive lighting solutions for clients pursuing net zero policies. “I really believe that climate change, in particular, really demands our full attention as a company,” Volmert says.
“As a company, we really have a special social responsibility. And we really want to live up to this responsibility.”
Volmert first joined Trilux in 2000 and became CEO in 2021. He set out to build on Trilux’s success and 111-year heritage as a leader in lighting and started by developing a strong team and outlining a clear vision and strategy.
“A strong vision forms a basis for a motivating work environment,” he says. “It’s all about empowering people, giving them courage and then trusting them.”
Doing so, he says, encourages decision making, something Volmert wants happening throughout the company. “I really believe it’s so important that a decision’s made,” he says. “It’s one of the most important topics, in my opinion, if you want to implement a modern, flexible, adaptable organization.”
Volmert has established several strategic pillars as priorities, starting with digitalization and going beyond lighting. He lists billing, energy monitoring and building automation as examples of services Trilux is unveiling for customers.
“We are totally clear that the lighting industry will change. We believe we have to develop Trilux and transform it to more of a solutions provider and services company. The future, in our opinion, lies in cooperation, in finding the right partners in these changing industries,” Volmert explains.
“We are not able to do everything on our own in these fast-moving markets. It’s very important also to have the right partners onboard. With these combinations, I think we are able to create the best solutions for our customers.”
Sustainability is another pillar, with Trilux working to reduce its carbon footprint in its own facilities while offering customers similar solutions. “Our lighting solutions consume energy,” he says. “It’s important to develop, plan and implement lighting solutions where they’re as energy efficient as possible.”
And as companies bring back employees to the office, Volmert sees them investing in creating the right atmosphere through effective and efficient lighting and making workplaces as efficient as possible.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges, but Volmert says Trilux rose to the occasion. He credits a strong leadership team with pulling the company through the worst of the crisis. Prioritizing flexibility and speed paid dividends, too.
“Flexibility and speed are becoming increasingly important in this uncertain future. So, you have to develop an organization that is able to adapt very fast in changing environments,” he says.
The pandemic caused a readjustment in the company’s dealings with customers, too. Trilux now proactively meets with customers rather than waiting for them to show up at big events, Volmert says.
It also reinforced the importance of close supplier relationships. Volmert recalls a conversation with the CEO of a semiconductor company, where he asked if Trilux – a small company compared to giants such as automakers – should worry about supplies. He was assured his orders would arrive.
The CEO shared an anecdote from automotive executives who were trying to call the shots: “They are whistling, and we are jumping”.
“I have not lost one day of production because of missing components from this manufacturer, from this supplier,” Volmert says. “This makes me very confident in our strategy as a medium-sized company to work on a partnership level.”