Prior to SCHOTTEL, I worked in the service and pharmaceutical industries. In these economic sectors, office work is usually removed from the product, and in the long run that left me feeling unfulfilled. So the reason I applied for a job here was to become part of the traditional value stream of a manufacturing industry. I’m from around here, but was only familiar with SCHOTTEL’s big new production facilities on the A61. When a job offer matching my profile came up, I applied and after a very enjoyable interview I was offered a contract of employment.
SCHOTTEL has German production sites and over a dozen international subsidiaries, which are supported in sales and service controlling by the Spay site. Our controlling covers the entire range of a product, from the delivery of individual parts to the final product. After just a relatively brief period, I was offered the opportunity to be head of department. Since then, I have been able to present my own ideas and have already seen results.
We are now on the threshold of becoming a Group. Processes are being readjusted or reorganized in numerous areas. We six employees in Controlling have a wide range of tasks, which I find much more exciting than being a specialist. You look at the different ways people think about the production process and find points of intersection between different interests. This means that in addition to the obligatory monthly statements, project work takes up a lot of time.
From my point of view, SCHOTTEL offers the greatest opportunities to develop. If you are committed, you will be given responsibility regardless of your position – which is typical for medium-sized companies. The decision-making paths are not always straight ahead, but there are no dead ends which means that ideas can develop over the long term. The strategic calm of a company that is not listed on the capital market also plays a role here. In this context, I was pleasantly surprised by the down-to-earth attitude of the managing partners who work in the company. And it is this attitude that is reflected throughout the entire corporate culture.
When I decided on a dual study programme in mechanical engineering, I also considered other offers. At the time, SCHOTTEL won me over with a perfectly run assessment centre and a very well equipped training workshop. Entering via the dual study programme was the right way for me. In the four and a half years, I was able to gain a huge amount of knowledge about processes in the company. After the training, I was taken on, as were the other three dual study students who started with me.
My workplace is assigned to technical development. Our calculations have a direct influence on the design of new constructions. At SCHOTTEL, a standardised approach is not always possible, which means that we have to constantly weigh up manageability and processing costs against each other. There is a lot of creative potential in this for our own, technically viable new ways of manufacturing ship propulsion systems.
You benefit from close cooperation with both young and experienced colleagues. For several years, I was also assigned as project manager to develop a new series. This gave me a holistic view of the product, from the blank sheet of paper at the outset through to the acceptance test for the sea trial at the customer’s. Where it makes sense from a technical point of view, further training is always a good idea and broadens the horizon. The icing on the cake are the tasks outside of day-to-day business. For example, foreign assignments to carry out measurements on the propulsion unit under real conditions, especially for prototypes.
There are multiple reasons for that. The ownership structure of the company, for example, has a positive bearing: The shareholders are fully behind the company and support long-term planning. What also counts for me in technical matters is that you can discuss things with everyone on an equal footing when it comes to finding the best technical solution, even across hierarchical levels.
SCHOTTEL and I first came across each other through university. The subject of my Master’s thesis corresponded with the business topics at SCHOTTEL and my individual interests. Afterwards, I was then given an employment contract which included precisely the two features that were important to me: travel and independence. Even though I was assigned a professional mentor, the first assignments abroad were definitely an exciting challenge.
As a project engineer in the Service Department, I am called in for system analysis in complex cases. This means travelling to a vessel, analysing technical problems and initiating the subsequent steps. I’m often responsible for the assignment of large sums of money – in consultation with my superiors, but the project responsibility lies with me. As the “face of SCHOTTEL”, it is also a matter of appearing solution-oriented to the customer and any other companies involved, while at the same time representing our interests.
From the very beginning, my assignments for SCHOTTEL have taken me to Australia, South Africa, North and South America, northern Europe, China and South Korea. I’m usually only away for a few days, but sometimes it can be several weeks.
There is an excellent relationship between us colleagues, in many cases even friendships. This is no doubt down to the fact that you have to – and can – rely completely on your colleagues in the field. This also applies to the colleagues in the international subsidiaries. Our department has a flat hierarchy. Decision-making processes are quick and, in some cases, I work directly with the boss. Every project is different, and because decisions have to be made swiftly in many projects, you have to decide fast and often under pressure. The focus is on customer satisfaction and everyone pulls together to achieve this.
It is where engineers get the opportunity to develop their skills. The company has grown significantly, yet we still don’t have a Group structure, plus you are closely involved with others beyond your own project. Everyone has scope for creativity in their own area. On top of that there is the diversity in terms of internationality. Other companies don’t offer this broad perspective.