In a nutshell: What does a mechanical engineer do at Bayer?
My name is Beatrice (33) and I have a mechanical engineering degree (Dipl. Wirt.-Ing.) from RWTH Aachen. My passion is being involved in continuous improvement projects that initiate technical and organizational changes.
I enjoy motivating others to challenge the status quo, and to strive for “perfection” in terms of process efficiency improvement. I have been working at Bayer in Corporate Engineering & Technology since February 2015 as an Operational Excellence Consultant and Project Manager in the Operational Excellence & Logistics department (OE &L). As OE&L consultants, we offer services such as process optimization according to the principles of Lean/Six Sigma, Lean implementation, Lean transformation, etc. During my studies, I focused on manufacturing technologies and process optimization. Before joining Bayer, I had worked as an OE Project manager for almost four years.
Different fields in Operational Excellence
OE consultants and project managers can work in many fields. As long as there is a process that needs to be enhanced in terms of efficiency, which almost always is the case, there will always be challenges and potentials for improvement. My first project job was to support an operations project manager, who at the same time was the operations manager for a future biotech facility, in all areas of OE. Initially, this meant carrying out a few project management office (PMO) tasks. They gave me a good opportunity to get to know the project team and stakeholders. After about a month, my tasks shifted more to conceptual design, which was my original assignment. I was given the task of designing a Lean Material Flow Concept for a new facility, i.e. all material needed for production, and operations and other support material within the facility. The operations manager asked us: “Please help us make our processes more efficient.” I led workshops with the project team to get an overview of the “current-state” process, discussing with them how we could improve it. After defining the improvement potentials and the changes needed, we then created the “target process”. Finally, we set up an action plan for addressing the target process.
Part of my job was to “remind” decision-makers to implement the actions and to support them. I do not only design lean processes, I also work on their implementation. It is very detailed work and, at the same time, I have to keep an eye on the “big picture” of the business. Questions like, “What is the added value for the customers (final end user) or patients”, are part of my daily business?” This also includes coordinating process interfaces to other departments, such as Supply Chain, Quality Assurance, Quality Control, Procurement, etc.
Thanks to the experience I gained on my first OE project, I have since been involved in other capacity expansion projects, which are technical investment projects. From an OE consultancy point of view, the earlier you are involved in a technical investment project, the sooner you can influence the process efficiency and therefore bring more value to the entire project and future operations. From the personal development point of view, it shows that your supervisors have growing confidence in you, that you are being given greater responsibility and that your performance is being rewarded.
I really enjoy working as an OE consultant on technical investment projects. It has been a very challenging and rewarding time. In the future, I would like to contribute even more to technical investment projects by creating sustainable lean solutions.
Besides my project job, I am also a trainer for the OE Academy within the Bayer Group. I teach and coach other people who want to earn the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt or a Lean Expert certificate.
What I really like about Bayer …
… is its understanding of OE as a sustainable, continuous improvement approach, and not a means for simply reducing personnel costs! Additionally, I am impressed by how the company practices appreciation. Appreciation really is part of the daily routine for many colleagues, supervisors, department heads, etc. In the Bayer culture, appreciation is a must. I feel very comfortable in a working environment where the words “thank you” are used after every meeting, get-together or finished assignment. I myself appreciate the opportunity to learn about so many new processes at Bayer! I can improve my technical expertise and my soft skills. Bayer offers many internal and external training programs. I look forward to enjoying them over the next few years.
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