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From trainee to production manager: Stefan Fischer’s story

We are delighted to have such committed employees who support tremco illbruck with their achievements. It makes us particularly proud when a colleague comes to work for us at a young age – and stays with us. This confirms to us that we as an employer offer our employees a great deal. Stefan Fischer has spent his entire career to date with us and has progressed from a trainee industrial clerk to production manager. A great career. A wonderful story. And perhaps it will attract potential employees who want to write their next chapter with us.

From trainee to manager

It all started in 1992. At 17 years old and armed with his intermediate school leavers certificate, Stefan Fischer found out from a friend that illbruck – as they were still known at the time – was looking for new employees. He applied and was offered a traineeship as an industrial clerk. “The position sounded fascinating and the production site was only three kilometres away from my parents’ house. I knew a few people who worked there. It was perfect for me.” Today, Stefan Fischer is responsible for the production site in Bodenwöhr and the new site in Legnica in Poland as production manager. He leads a team of 4 foremen and 120 employees who he leads, supports and motivates every day. The requirements of the job are diverse: Optimising production and ensuring that it runs smoothly. Designing new plants and manufacturing processes. Efficient planning and deployment of team members. Achieving robust KPI management and keeping costs in mind at all times. And in particular: delivering goods on time.

An ambitious upward trajectory

Between the early days and where we are today, Stefan Fischer has spent 25 years working his way up from trainee to a member of the management team with consistency, ambition and humour. After his traineeship he first spent more than three years gaining an industrial business administration qualification while working at the same time. He

then completed further training in business administration – also alongside his job. To do this, he had to sacrifice two evenings a week and lots of Saturdays. “It was a demanding time” recalls the 42-year-old. “But I was young and motivated and as I was already in the job, I knew that all the effort would pay off.”

Diverse insights into the big picture

Stefan Fischer knows the company from all business perspectives. During his training and in the years that followed it he worked in the procurement, logistics and customer services divisions. He worked in the building materials trade sales division and in the supply chain division. Today, when he makes a decision, it is well-founded: “Familiarity with various perspectives from personal experience helps me greatly in my position.” He explains: “Here at tremco illbruck, we set great store by ensuring that our employees get to know as many different aspects of our business as possible. That means that they have a sense of the bigger picture. And as a result, they will be able to do a better job.”

Successes that inspire pride.

With responsibility comes opportunity. Every stage in Stefan Fischer's career was followed by the next, almost self-evidently. But although it sounds effortless, things didn't always run smoothly. “Of course, there were difficulties along the way, particularly in recent years when we were faced with many challenges. But the local team always managed to resolve them somehow or other. The support, cohesion and the way we treat one another is exceptional”. Successfully overcoming difficulties makes us proud. There are a few such examples in Stefan Fischer's professional career: Building up a central customer services division in Bodenwöhr. The contract negotiation in 2009 with a freight forwarder which saved tremco illbruck a six-figure sum. Or the new build of the central warehouse in 2012 for which Stefan Fischer took overall responsibility as project leader.

New challenges create new goals

Stefan Fischer is convinced that new challenges will always arise for tremco illbruck along the way. He is also certain that he will be able to overcome these challenges alongside his colleagues.

One example is the matter of Industry 4.0: the company will go down the route of automation in at least some aspects of production. “It is important to us that our strategy combines both new processes and tried and tested ones. We are looking for more than just robotics. We would like to lead the company into an optimised future for manufacturing.” The crucial factor in this is achieving the greatest possible degree of efficient cooperation within the team. Only in this way can the production leader fulfil one of his declared objectives: to improve productivity each year and to manufacture products in a more cost-effective way. “The team is the key – and how our employees work.” That's why systematic training is carried out. “Continuing to build on the “lean” topic – visual management and the 5S method – is very important to me.”

A very special place to work

Stefan Fischer knows that what he sees as self-evident after two and a half decades at tremco illbruck is not the the case for everybody by any means: solidarity between colleagues, mutual support and a strong feeling of belonging together as well as an informal approach which transcends professional hierarchies. “That is something special. And the company does a lot to promote this: from the group policy for accident insurance to summer parties to the awards which are given out for various categories once a year. The Performance Award, the Team Award, the Business Improvement Award and the Service Award. This award is given for particularly long service to the company.” The extent to which employees are valued is also demonstrated through special holidays for marriages, births and communions, financial contributions to kindergarten costs or further training courses as well as monthly loyalty bonuses.

At the beginning of 2018 Stefan Fischer has received his first Service Award from tremco illbruck after 25 years. He received his medal for service in the ceremonial setting of Cologne's central administration. It won't be the last one he receives, he is certain of that. “If you have goals and if you show commitment, you can achieve a lot with an employer like tremco illbruck. And I still have a few goals to achieve.” Meta description: Stefan Fischer's career at tremco illbruck is impressive: he has worked his way up from the position of trainee industrial clerk to production manager.