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Author: Robin Selin

My time in the Netherlands

My time in the Netherlands

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!

(F-35 Lightning II)
Time for placement update!

Time for placement update!


I hope you all are staying safe out there! I believe I speak for most of us when I say I am more than ready for this to be over so we can all return to work at our awesome site.  

This week the annual event of selecting new graduates here in Sweden took place and it is safe to say that all of us soon to be old graduates got a real reality check on how fast time surpass here at GKN. I mean it has already been a year since we were sitting on the opposite side of the table ourselves. Anyway, it was a lot of fun being a part of all the events and meeting the candidates for the upcoming graduate scheme.

Since last time I was here a lot has happened in my personal journey within the graduate program. Just after the Christmas holidays I jumped from the quality department to project management of NPIs (New Product Introductions). Already from early days this was a rotation I knew I wanted to do. I believe that being a part of this “grey zone” when everything is still uncertain is the best place for learning. In combination with all the different functions and people you meet on a daily basis it seemed like a great opportunity for me.

My rotation itself is sort of split into two parts. One where I am working on a project to see how we can enhance learning in the project management process. The project will seek to see whether there is another way that we can identify, document, and reusage knowledge within and between projects. The other part of my rotation is to be involved and support with different tasks in an ongoing NPI project. The NPI project is a fabricated fan case mount ring which will be included in Pratt & Whitney’s PW1000 engine family (see picture). Perhaps a fan case mount ring doesn’t sound too exciting but when it involves additive manufacturing I believe everything gets exciting. My tasks have been aligned with my interest in the field of quality as I have been driving the work for the PFMEA (process failure modes & effects analysis) which essentially is a preventive risk analysis to detect risks before they occur.

That was all until next time. In the meantime, take care!

// Robin

Sustainability at GKN

Sustainability at GKN

Some time ago all graduates took part in a sustainability workshop hosted by the man in the picture, Zakir Hussain. The session turned out to be very inspiring and informative regarding GKN’s sustainability vision. We thought, who else than the host himself would be an ideal person to inspire a couple more. So, with us today we have Zakir Hussain talking about his own journey and why sustainability is important to him and GKN.

Hi my name is Zakir Hussain, a Global Grad from the UK. I joined the organisation in September of 2019 fresh out of university, where I studied Chemical Engineering. During my studies, I never thought I would be joining the Aerospace industry. However, when I attended my interview, I felt “this is a place I would see myself growing and developing in. GKN’s community seem to really care about who I am rather than focusing on what I am”. So I took the leap of faith and haven’t looked back since!

At GKN I have been given some really great opportunities to work on projects which are really significant. Such as, designing and implementing an Automated Defect Reporting System which combined tools from Lean Six Sigma and Industry 4.0, market analysis on Horizon 3 technologies for new business opportunities and to lead GKN’s Energy, Waste & Emissions Workstream for creating the Sustainability Strategy to help the organisation improve on its global sustainability. I have had real control over how much responsibility I would like as well as being able to pave my own career path. Moreover, I have had great opportunities to work and collaborate with seniors within the organisation very early on, such as The Director of Sustainability and The Vice President of Global Manufacturing Engineering Capability. For those who are considering GKN, I would say, ultimately you are really in control of the how, who and when elements of making your career fly!

There is a great support network here at GKN, ranging from mentors, coaches and buddies. These parties will look to support and guide you the best way they can, ranging from giving advice based on their personal experience good or bad to coaching you through how to find the answer and putting you in contact with parties whom may have the answer. In addition to this, in line with GKN’s principle of “Open and Honest” there is a real sense of comfort when seeking out support and help from all parties.

One key area of interest I have is Sustainability. Sustainability has been close to my heart for a large part of my life, during my university education I had a great deal of exposure to the issues, we as a race, are facing today which will be further exacerbated for future generations. I strongly believe as an engineer, there is an obligation to ensure society’s needs are being met in a sustainable way to not hinder future generations from meeting their needs.

Sustainability has become a real focus for GKN Aerospace in the past year. Being a Tier 1 company, GKN has a real opportunity to leverage its position in improving its own sustainability as well as its suppliers and customers. At the end of 2020, a new energy contract was signed, for all the Dutch sites to use 100% renewable electricity. This resulted in GKN reducing its global GHG emissions by 8-11% on a yearly bases. Moreover, to increase awareness and knowledge of the topic, I am leading a team where we are creating an e-learning module for our Manufacturing Engineers which will be rolled out and used globally. So far, from our beta-version, we have seen an increase in awareness and knowledge by 36%!

Thank you for taking the time to read what is ultimately, a testimony that GKN Aerospace is a great place to work.

Thank you,

Zakir Hussain

A Proud Graduate

Up and Running!

Up and Running!

Hello people!

Time flies when you are having fun! The shot indicating the start of our seventh week has just been fired, and we have been through a lot, not the least two whole weeks at our first rotation. Initially it was a lot to take in, and learn about each respective placement. However, as each day passes we all feel that we are more and more in the game.

As Emma introduced last week, my first rotation is within quality. My first two weeks have been very eventful. Within quality people often refer to variation as the villain, but in my case it was the complete opposite. I was very glad to have a lot of varied tasks where no two days were the same. I have been reading up on quality standards, which is an important part within aerospace as there are more narrow requirements on the products and the way they are made. As a part of ISO9001 comes the process oriented management system, which is used to describe and guide the many processes in place. The idea is for me to review a subprocess and how it can become more of a living process, but more on that at a later stage. Other days I have spent time on the shopfloor to gather information for an improvement project that seeks to simplify how data is being visualized in one part of the production. Around all the specific tasks a lot of meetings take place, where I have gotten the chance to meet lots of nice people and simultaneously collect lots of new knowledge.

Finally, we as new graduates would like to send a big thanks to all our coworkers for the world class welcome. Also, don’t miss next week’s update. Jens will return to tell you all about his time in solid mechanics.

See you later!