Illustration showing the use of e-mail published in the staff magazine in 1996

The first e-mails

“Electronic mail” permanently changed how companies communicated in the 1990s. In 1996, a new era in communication began at KSB.

From August 1996, employees could send and receive communications electronically between the Frankenthal and Pegnitz plants. “E-mail is the technical term”, wrote the KSB staff magazine at the time respectfully. Letters, phone calls and faxes suddenly had competition.

The management hoped it would relieve some of the burden of administrative work. “A report or meeting minutes are typed on a PC, printed out, copied, given a distribution list, put into envelopes and sent. At the recipient’s office, the document is then removed from the envelope, read, categorised, punched and filed,” said the staff magazine, describing the previous work steps. “In future, the only parts of this process that will remain are the fundamental actions of writing and reading.” Everything else would be done electronically. 

Initially, KSB only used e-mails internally. In July 1997, around 700 users sent an average of three messages per day; one year later, around 2000 users were sending a total of 8000 e‑mails on a daily basis. In 1998, KSB also started communicating with customers and suppliers via this new channel. By this point, around 3500 employees across Europe were using the e-mail system. Over the next few years, KSB’s other locations around the world gradually followed.