Why was the position created?
In our global BU with its major growth plans, manufacturing plays a key role and requires dedicated oversight to improve safety, quality, service and costs. Our plants operate highly independently and entrepreneurially and can therefore respond quickly, but lack the necessary interconnectivity to drive standardization, best practice sharing and the development towards smart factories and Industry 4.0. My mission is to maintain their strengths and work in conjunction with them to create an integrated network of high performing sites.
What is it that attracts you to the new job?
Being part of a successful global company with great opportunities for growth. Also, one of our strategic fields of action is “Drive Operational Excellence”. That shows how much ContiTech supports and values manufacturing operations and it is exciting to be a part of that.
What are your tasks?
The safety of our workforce is the top priority. Our plan is to work on programs to increase safety consciousness, reduce risk and improve performance. We also need to be certain that our products meet or exceed our customers’ quality expectations, so we will partner with our colleagues in the Value Chain organization to improve in this area as well. In addition, we want to improve our customer service, increase productivity in collaboration with the CBS team, automate our plants and develop aggressively towards Industry 4.0.
Have you visited all the plants yet?
In my first 100 days I visited the twelve primary IFS plants in seven countries spanning four continents.
How often do you plan on visiting the sites in the future?
Often enough to ensure that our valued people are working successfully toward our goals. The number of visits will vary depending on the scope and size of the projects in the plants.
What did you do previously, and how are you able to make use of that experience now?
I worked for a major US manufacturer of welding equipment for twelve years, starting out as an engineer and finishing as the head of production engineering in a plant with more than 2,000 associates. That is where I grew to deeply appreciate the value creation performed by the factory worker. After that, I spent 16 years in leadership positions at a global German manufacturer of consumer goods, most recently as Vice President of Operations, which was very similar to my current position. I’m now positioned well to apply the experience gained in those previous roles.
How would you describe your management style?
Open and cooperative. I value suggestions from the team. A group is always stronger than an individual. Also, I expect to enjoy the time I spend with my co-workers. We are here to work hard and be successful, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun along the way.