Working as a Young Professional: an interim position in the quality corner

In May 2019, I received a call from a senior consultant asking if I had room in my schedule for an interim job with a manufacturing company. Previously, I had performed several assignments with clients that involved, for example, an ISO or IATF implementation, redesigning a quality management system or performing an audit. However, this time it involved an assignment with no concrete end result. This was an interim assignment where I functioned as an employee of the supplier control department. I was part of a team responsible for following up and resolving vendor complaints.

Applying 8D in practice

I knew the 8D methodology used at this organization from theory but had not previously applied it in practice. In this assignment, I actually engaged in theory in practice. In the process, I gained a lot of practical experience about using and processing 8Ds. This included writing out 8Ds to international suppliers, checking completed 8Ds and asking for additional supporting documents to ensure that mistakes would not be made again in the future.


The young professional is part of the team

Throughout this assignment, I bumped into the same bricks and ran into the same walls as other colleagues on my team at this company. It was instructive to experience what it is like not to be in the “improvement role,” but to have to participate. It made me realize that making changes and/or working differently is not easy for in-house employees. Despite mastering and understanding the theory, it still proves difficult to apply it in practice.

This assignment also gave me a better understanding of how the lines of communication run within an organization and how the processes are connected. I gained insight into how different departments work with each other and what input/output these departments need from each other.

“By rotating on a team, you learn quickly and also gain responsibility quickly.”

Ivo Sleeuwenhoek

Learned a lot…

I also learned a lot during this assignment about how suppliers affect the customer’s manufacturing processes and the subsequent customer/end user. If the supplier supplies the wrong parts, the worst case scenario could result in a production stop, which in turn could translate into a production stop at the next customer/end user. Ultimately, this can result in friction between cooperating companies and the infliction of claims. These claims are based on the expenses incurred by a company at the hands of a supplier.

While handling supplier complaints, I also learned that you have to carefully consider all the actions that need to be put out internally when a supplier’s delivery goes wrong. This could include blocking stock because it may contain faulty parts. But it is also necessary to coordinate with the supplier what to do with the faulty parts and who will pay for these expenses. For example, returning, depositing or reprocessing.

I noticed that in this assignment the distance between the company and the hired consultant was smaller than in other assignments. Because you are part of a team and participate in daily operations, you get to know each other better and interact in a different way.


Quick responsibility and understanding of processes

In the end, this assignment was very educational for a Young professional. By participating in a team, you learn quickly and also gain responsibility quickly. You will also get a good idea about how the various departments and associated processes are related and the possible consequences when certain problems and/or actions occur.

This contribution was written by Young Professional Ivo Sleeuwenhoek. Like Ivo, do you also want to boost your career as a Young Professional? On this page you will find more information. Or contact us at 053 – 20 30 240.

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