Vibrant People

An agile company needs agile people. This is especially important in industries that are experiencing a profound transformation, like the automotive industry. In our series of portraits of people, we introduce some of the employees of ElringKlinger who are now working in different areas than when they first started out in their job. They have experienced exciting changes in their work because they were open minded and willing to develop themselves further. As we follow the paths their careers have taken, we provide an insight into our working worlds, the dynamics of which always have an effect on both sides: the technology and the person.

Yvonne Fink, EKPO,
Dettingen/Erms, Germany

Yvonne Fink’s career to date is a good example of how the technological transformation is closely linked to changes in how people work. By embracing this transformation with an interested and open mind, Yvonne Fink has not only learned a lot – she has also seized opportunities.

Yvonne joined ElringKlinger back in 2015 as an apprentice tool mechanic. “Although I was working in what is traditionally a male-dominated environment, I always felt very comfortable,” she mentions. At the time she successfully completed her apprenticeship, employees with technical qualifications were in great demand in the battery and fuel cell teams. Although it was not possible to give her a job as a toolmaker there, Yvonne decided to make the switch to battery manufacture. During a brief stint in warehouse logistics that was actually only intended to familiarize her with the area, she developed a strong interest in the components being put into storage. She improved the parts picking process and implemented new ideas. With the fuel cell team also looking for this kind of commitment, she made another switch. The fuel cell unit at ElringKlinger continued to grow rapidly while she was there, with new production facilities being built and EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies being set up. The ever-expanding organization called for a steady stream of new solutions in Yvonne’s area of work, which she found with the help of her scheduling and work preparation colleagues. Currently, she is undertaking further training to qualify as a state-certified mechanical engineer. That primes her for new challenges. “Which I’ll ideally be tackling at EKPO!” Yvonne says.

Wasim Shaikh, ElringKlinger,
Ranjangaon, India

Wasim Shaikh began his career at ElringKlinger India as a maintenance officer. Today, he works as an industrial engineer in the Lightweighting/Elastomer Technology business unit. Two personal traits have strongly influenced his career: his natural curiosity as well as an interest in constant learning.

Asked about the difference between his tasks in the past and today, the engineer explains: “At the beginning of my career with ElringKlinger, I was responsible for the maintenance of machines. Today, I am responsible for processes as well.” Process optimization is an ongoing issue at a company that grows steadily and strives for continuous progress. Likewise, new task profiles of employees change or emerge. Wasim actively helped to shape change processes – even if it wasn’t always easy to leave the comfort zone, as he says today. This included moving to a different team as well as retraining and acquiring new skills. For him, aligning personal and company goals is a key success factor. Making use of his experience and constantly working on a better version of himself will continue to be the drivers of his professional work in the future, he assures.

Daniel Fowlds, ElringKlinger,
Redcar, UK

When Daniel Fowlds started with ElringKlinger at the British site Redcar in 2011, he worked in manufacturing of heat shields and sealing systems. Now, he is a member of the senior management team and responsible for the Supply Chain Management division. When you look at his vitae, two personal motives stand out in particular: his firm conviction that enormous potential is released through functioning teams and his dedication to the highest quality.

His experience is valuable. For example, as a Quality Engineer, he initiated a continuous improvement program that helped his plant pass an important certification audit with zero non-conformities. During an assignment that lasted several months at another ElringKlinger site, he was tasked with the introduction of quality systems for a new product group and for specific manufacturing methods to meet with ElringKlinger standards. Later, as a senior quality engineer, he built a team to manage products and processes through the development phase and into production.

While he originally focused mainly on self-development, Daniel’s aspirations have recently shifted more to helping others develop skills. Overall, it seems that continuous improvement is not only the main goal of his job, but also part of his personal development. Now in his early thirties, Daniel is staying true to his philosophy: “Since January 2023, I’ve been participating in an internal leadership development program. I look forward to making the most of this opportunity!”

Nicole Martin, ElringKlinger,
Southfield, Michigan, USA

Looking at Nicole Martin’s career to date, you get the impression of someone who never stands still. When she took up her new position at ElringKlinger’s site in Southfield, Michigan, USA, in 2019, she arrived with professional experience from various roles. Since then, she has always been on hand wherever her expertise has proven particularly valuable.

Nicole’s initial function at ElringKlinger was Supply Chain Project Manager. Following several stints in production engineering, which is part of production planning, she is now in charge of MRP controlling as Team Lead. She has always been willing to change roles within the company to meet operational requirements. Her readiness to switch teams and familiarize herself with new techniques such as pre-calculation were also important factors. Nicole describes them as hurdles that had to be overcome and that proved worthwhile in three respects: for the success of the company, for her own continuous self-improvement, and for the change that both of these make possible. Nicole also knows the point in her career when it became more important to her to pass on experience to colleagues and for their benefit. When asked about her plans, she excitingly anticipates what comes next: “I plan to pursue APICS certification1 and, in general, am confident that the future will bring some interesting challenges. We will see!”

1 A global qualification standard, for supply chain management in this case