Around 3 months ago I packed my bags and stepped on a plane with the final destination being the Netherlands. This was a bit unfortunate timing as the country was in the midst of a covid lockdown making it difficult to settle in at first. Luckily IKEA opened up a few days later making it possible to collect all the necessities of being a “swede”.
Ever since my arrival I have had the great opportunity of joining the Lean deployment team at GKN’s defense site located in Hoogeveen. Upon joining I was a bit worried that the language barrier would be an obstacle. As it turned out I have more of an issue with the food culture of eating sandwiches to lunch every day than with the language, which says a lot about how well they speak English in this country. Anyway, my role within the Lean deployment team is an interim site six sigma black belt which constitutes a few different responsibilities. For instance, I am running an improvement project targeting reduction of non-conformances for one of our “high movers” for the military fighter jet F-35 Lightning II. Another part is to make sure we are running our six sigma program for the benefit of the site, meaning that we target the most critical issues and the ones who can bring us financial savings and cost of poor quality (COPQ) reduction. Based on GKNs global target of putting much emphasis on reducing COPQ I believe working with Lean six sigma is one of the most influential areas at this point in time, which really drives my motivation.
Having this possibility of working abroad is one of many great parts with GKN’s graduate program. Besides learning more about handling all the tough situations related to moving to another country I also got first-hand experience working with many cool new products in the defense business line, e.g., wing flaps and inflight opening doors. As these products include a great deal of composites, they require very different manufacturing processes than what I am used to in Sweden, making the new learnings and perspectives very valuable.
As of for now, I am going to enjoy the last couple of weeks here in the Netherlands to see if we can take a few more steps toward making Lean fly. After that, it is time for some vacation and then I will see you all back in Sweden.
Take care everyone!