Ideally, AI accelerates ego-to-eco transformation

The Reutlingen-based company Mez-Technik offers software solutions, products, and services for the effective planning, manufacture, installation, and maintenance of air ducting systems. With numerous innovations and Swabian inventiveness, the solid company has been shaping the industry for over 140 years. We spoke to owner and CEO Jörg Mez about the potential uses of AI in his company, his concerns, and the challenges.

How and in which areas do you use artificial intelligence (AI) in your company, or is it still a closed book?

We are testing Ghostwriter as a plug-in for Outlook, PPT, Word, and Excel Ghostwriter Add-ins for Microsoft Office (, as Copilot has not yet been released by Microsoft for SMEs or will only be rolled out from 3,000 licenses. Of course, it’s not comparable in terms of scope, but it’s still very useful.

Our software team uses AI for process automation. More specific development tasks cannot (yet) be solved with AI in our software products.

Is AI already being used in quality control or in production, and if so, how exactly?

So far, only automated quality control without AI. In the next step, AI for predictive production planning will be integrated into our e-traX software solution for tracking production processes in the manufacture of air duct components. The concept for this has already been ready for a year but has been put on hold for capacity reasons.

Are there already tried and tested best practices?

Not yet. After the relaunch of our web store, we want to integrate AI-supported product advice. This is where we see the greatest benefit for us and our customers in the short term.

Is the use of AI still “experimental” or is it already bringing measurable added value to increase efficiency in the company?

Still experimental so far. The use of MS Copilot is definitely planned as soon as it is available for SMEs.

What are the hurdles and obstacles to using AI?

Interfaces to ERP, CRM, and other systems Lack of internal know-how Lack of resources

Have you already developed customized AI solutions for your company?

We are currently in the process of breaking down our data silos internally and networking ERP, CRM, eCommerce, and PIM via interfaces to create a “uniform” basis for AI applications. For our own software solution “klimaX,” we have been offering a package of production program and open-source ERP system since the end of 2023, which is precisely tailored to the top target group of air ducts. The aforementioned e-traX program with AI can then build on this foundation.

If so, are there partnerships with AI start-ups such as OpenAI, Cohere, or Anthropic?

Not yet. For a small medium-sized company like us, it will probably be more in the direction of out-of-the-box or open-source solutions.

Are there any reservations about the use of AI in your organization?

Technological development cannot be stopped. AI opens up opportunities for SMEs but also poses a threat to competitiveness compared to large companies that are already benefiting from an MS Copilot, for example.

The speed of companies is becoming an even greater criterion for success. Know-how as the sole USP can pose a risk with regard to the spread of AI, which can very quickly destroy traditional business models.

How can the use of AI be reconciled with the strict data protection regulations, especially in Germany?

We already see the strict data protection regulations in Germany as a competitive disadvantage in a global market. Nobody can yet imagine how AI will change our social structures, and we will only be able to prevent this development to a limited extent with laws.

Are there any fears that internal knowledge will leak out?

To a certain extent, we have to open up as a company and become transparent to be able to change.

If you could wish for something in relation to AI, what should it do better for your company?

Ideally, AI will accelerate the shift from ego to eco and help solve the challenges of our time.

Whether we like it or not, we need to shift our thinking from bubbles and silos to systemic thinking (or our ecosystem).

“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, no matter how it turns out.” (Vaclav Havel)

Interesting source on the topic:

2023 In Eight Points: Meditating on our planetary moment | by Otto Scharmer | Future Field Blog | Dec 2023 | Medium (

Thank you Jörg Mez for the interview and for recommending the very interesting article on Medium.

Mez-Technik, Reutlingen, Germany


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