Stefanie Kress on her work as a Lean Coach

Stefanie Kress, Lean Coach

“As a Lean Coach, I help my colleagues take an occasional look at what’s happening outside their own department. I try to do the same myself, for that matter: With the many opportunities that Heraeus offers, I’m always learning something new.”

At Heraeus, I’ve learned everything from the bottom up. I started my career there in 2006, having just finished my training as a chemist. Then I went to night school and became a state-certified technician. I deliberately chose Heraeus as an employer. I’ve been working in Lean Management since 2010, currently at Heraeus Sensor Technology. We make microstructured precious metal thin- and thick-film systems that are used, for example, in the automotive industry.

People often go from day to day doing things the way they’ve always been done. As a lean coach, it’s my job to be always on the lookout for better ways to do things. Using the 5S method (where 5S stands for sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain), I examine the workplaces and work processes of my co-workers in Production to see whether they can be made even better. And that’s just the beginning.

In my job, I can actively apply the experiences I gained during my training. Even there, the principles of Lean were already being addressed. One small example: Here at Heraeus, we work in several shifts. If each employee who uses a tool puts it back where it belongs, the next one doesn’t need to spend time looking for it. As a Lean Coach, I try to help my co-workers take such supposedly small details out of the daily routine and be mindful of them. After all, our doing so gives us a competitive advantage: Shorter throughput times in our core processes mean faster delivery to our customers.