Wave-riding dolphins in South Africa, white-knuckle test drives in Texas, Arctic temperatures in Finland… I guess I know the whole world of Continental. I have already visited more than 100 locations.

I’m a Spaniard, so temperatures of around -20° Celsius were something new for me. It felt a bit like Captain Scott fighting his way back to base camp with his team after their unsuccessful attempt to be first to the South Pole :-). And we were only going 50 meters down the road to a restaurant.
The audit in snowbound Helsinki left a lasting impression on me coming from the Tires Division, although this trip was only one in a series – a very long series, to be precise. As a matter of fact, Icollects such experiences like others collect stamps, and takes it in his stride as part of the job.

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More than 100 locations logged

To date, I have visited over 100 Continental locations – and there are a few more still to come. I have some catching up to do – if you can honestly call it that – in the Automotive Group. Actually, most of my work is for Tires and sometimes with ContiTech, but as the intensity of cross-divisional collaboration increases, I’m finding more and more Automotive locations on my travel agenda. And bearing in mind that the Group has over 200 locations around the world, there’s still some way to go.

Some people might envy me for the spectacular amount of traveling I do, but it can sometimes be tiring and complicated with regard to my work-life balance. Although I’m generally home again for the weekend, it’s sometimes difficult to reconcile family life and my job. But in the meantime, Continental and I have managed to organize things pretty well. In practice, this means I spend normally one week every month working from home and the rest of the time on the road, but I do have a lot of flexibility when it comes to planning my assignments.

Personal contact and exchange

So why all the business trips? They’re an absolutely vital part of the job.

The main benefits:

  • personal contact
  • direct dialog
  • and proximity to colleagues and internal customers.

We’ve already achieved a lot when we realize that we have the same problems as other teams or locations, or we may face a completely different set of challenges. We can learn so much from each other. Personal contact is incredibly important here, because it creates Trust and forges close connections and a sense of For One Another.

One important aspect of my job, travel included, is supporting the integration of IT employees and processes, auditing locations and setting up infrastructure. I check whether the Tire IT Standards & Security regulations have been applied properly and help local IT on site to work with them.
Do I think I will ever have visited every single Continental location one day? Why not? Although I have to stress that there must be a good reason for me to go somewhere. After all, these visits aren’t just a hobby of mine; they’re part of the job.

 

Read more about my experiences at Continental here.

Rafael Sales

Rafael Sales

Work in Conti since 1997. Started in the Tire Sales Organisation of Belgium, first as IT Assistant, then as IT Manager. From 2003 I got more and more involved on Central IT projects, till I became "central". Right now I'm Distributed Systems Manager on the Tire Division, basically covering all the "PC World", including Messaging, Mobility ...

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