Graduate profile: Lean Coordinator
Making the production flow more transparent, faster and more cost-effective
Claudia Bischof studied Industrial Engineering at the ZHAW School of Engineering. She currently holds the job of Lean Coordinator at Burckhardt Compression where she ensures in this staff function that processes are optimised and general conditions improved.
«I need to scrutinise everything – even those things which already function.» This basic critical attitude is one of Claudia Bischof's most important operating tools. The Industrial Engineering graduate works as a Lean Coordinator at the Winterthur piston compressor manufacturer Burckhardt Compression. «My task is to recognise current problems in both the production flow and the administration, to resolve difficulties in the interfaces and to implement suitable optimisation methods to prevent them in the long term.» In the ideal case, these adjustments make the complete order development process more transparent, faster and consequently even more cost-effective. An important aspect of the job, however, is the reality check. «Theory and practice do not always coincide; the financial and human resources required for an optimal solution are not always available. The costs and benefits have to be weighed here.»
"I need to scrutinise everything – even those things which already function."
Keeping an eye on the big picture
As a staff employee, Claudia Bischof maintains contact with all of the departments. «I really like that: In my job I am involved with practically everybody from the production line employee up to the CEO», she says. It is therefore particularly important for her areas of responsibility that she be familiar with the individual process steps. She explains: «Everything in a production plant is connected. For this reason, I can't simply take corrective action in a single place, but must keep an eye on the big picture. If I turn this little wheel, something may also change on the other little wheel.» Her job in a two-person team is both challenging and rewarding. «I am motivated by the chance to achieve measurable improvements.»
Wide range of opportunities
Claudia Bischof began her professional career with an apprenticeship as an automation technician. She completed a vocational secondary school parallel to her professional training and the ambitious engineer then started her university studies immediately following completion of the apprenticeship. It was clear to her that she wanted to enhance her training by pursuing a technical degree at a university. «An Electrical Engineering study programme would actually have been the logical next step for my training. But the broad portfolio of Industrial Engineering appealed to me. The good reputation of the ZHAW School of Engineering was ultimately the decisive factor in my choice of a place of study.» During three years of full-time study, she learned everything in the Industrial Engineering focus that she needed to know about production principles, quality assurance and controlling.
"An Electrical Engineering study programme would actually have been the logical next step for my training. But the broad portfolio of Industrial Engineering appealed to me. The good reputation of the ZHAW School of Engineering was ultimately the decisive factor in my choice of a place of study."
A strong interest is essential
Claudia Bischof still benefits today from the competences acquired during her studies: «Although I don't work in classical production planning and control, knowledge of this field is still important. By knowing the central tools, I can also determine where and which optimisation opportunities are present.» Just like her work today, her studies also required endurance and a fighting spirit. «I experienced my studies as challenging, but feasible. A strong interest in the specialisation is certainly essential!», says Claudia Bischof today. In-depth knowledge of Mathematics, technical understanding and logical thinking are other important pillars of the Industrial Engineering study program.
Good prospects in the job market
Claudia Bischof describes the job market situation following graduation as excellent. «I had the impression that the economy was looking for professionals like myself. I could really pick and choose where I wanted to apply for a job. I received the offer for my first job even before I completed my studies.» Thanks to her education, Claudia Bischof has a choice of attractive opportunities for advanced training; she could well imagine deepening her knowledge of management and leadership. With her current employer, however, she can also continuously further her training in the field of human relations. She says: «Teamwork is at the centre. Blinkers are guaranteed to hold you back in this position.»