How long have you been working at ERICH JAEGER and what brought you to us?
I started in 2002. I was tipped off by an acquaintance who was working at ERICH JAEGER as an external collaborator.
Which department did you start in?
It was work preparation and production. Until 2009 we had our production here in Friedberg, and that’s where I worked.
Which department are you currently working in and what are your responsibilities?
I’m in charge of local supply chain management here. The main focus is on monitoring the supply chain, i.e. checking whether the material flows between our plants are working. A big area is bottleneck management, which, as the name suggests, is all about trying to prevent bottlenecks. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the entire global logistics market is currently struggling with the lack of capacity in sea freight. We usually have a standard lead time from China to Germany of six weeks. When containers are en route for ten weeks or more, you get some delays that have a huge impact on the supply chains.
In supply chain management, your tasks include visiting the other branches and traveling abroad to help out at other plants. How exactly do these trips pan out, and what are their aims?
This all started with projects in our branch in the Czech Republic, and I then regularly went to China between 2011 and 2016 to support projects there, such as the introduction of the bar code system, process optimizations in the warehouse and the handling of delivery schedules. Either the management here notices the need for support, or the plant concerned asks for it. In 2016, our Mexico site was set up, and training in all the important processes was run there.
How do you define your role in this?
I’m actually a kind of mediator. I have my goals, I try to get us all to a place of mutual understanding and to communicate why changes are necessary. We’re still in dialog now. There are SCM meetings twice a week.
To what extent have you and the other plants benefited from these secondments?
You learn how to deal with your colleagues. So, inter-cultural skills are very important, and the international teams are a real enrichment. Every culture is different, but in the end everyone is the same and everyone has their own problems and goals. There’s a different working atmosphere at each site. In China, for example, I used to regularly play basketball with my colleagues. At some point, you know the organization so well that you know who you have to contact for what. On the ground you get to hear about what might look like trivial issues but play a major role.
How would you describe the relationship between the individual subsidiaries of the JAEGER Group?
The relationship is very collegial and pleasant. If you make mistakes, you deal with them openly here, and that, I think, should always be communicated.
With the Studium+ program, ERICH JAEGER offers the opportunity to pursue a dual program of study and work. How has this worked in the past, and what are the plans for the future?
In Supply Chain Management we had 3 people, and it worked really well. The advantage is that, alongside their studies, students join the company in their practical phases and get to know the company from an early age without being burdened with daily routines. This means that Studium+ candidates can familiarize themselves much quicker with projects, get much closer to whatever they’re working on, and cooperate with other departments.
Why offer a dual study program of all things at ERICH JAEGER?
Thanks to our international positioning and our contact with almost every global culture, it’s a really exciting place to be here. The automotive industry is also very dynamic, which makes things exciting and means we never get bored. You can move freely here and you have a lot of opportunities and a wide range of things that you can cover.
What’s your advice for career starters who are interested in a career with the JAEGER Group?
My experience has been that you have freedom to move in pretty much any direction here. You can develop pretty freely and have a lot of room for maneuver. Some of my colleagues have worked abroad at our other branches. They’ve often found that paths have opened up which have taken them in directions that they didn’t expect at the beginning. So, grasp the opportunity and get involved!