Like two peas in a pod

PEOPLE

Germany


Is LEAN something you learn or is it in your blood? For End-to-End project manager Fin Quante, it’s a bit of both. And he’s found the perfect fit with KAEFER.

As the popular German saying goes, every pot will find a lid that fits. This was certainly the case for Fin Quante in Germany, who found himself drawn to LEAN from very early on in his promising professional career. He now works as an End-to-End Project Manager at KAEFER, which involves leading digital projects and designing harmonised and standardised process models. However, his interest in LEAN developed while he was undertaking an internship at Schaeffler, a German manufacturer of rolling element bearings for automotive, aerospace and industrial uses, where he supported the LEAN team. He learned about the optimisation of production processes and became passionate about the concept of continuous improvement. He would also then later find an even better fit in KAEFER, but we need to tell this story from the beginning.

Fin Quante

Fin’s issue during his studies was that LEAN wasn’t really something that was part of his bachelor’s degree in business management. The engineering part was missing. So, he decided to change track and start a second bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, which adopts an interdisciplinary approach and incorporates both business administration and mechanical engineering, with a focus on system development and innovation management. Upon completion of the programme, graduates are entitled to use the title of industrial engineer. This was much more up Fin’s alley, even though he found it very challenging. “Mathematics, mechanics and physics are not easy subjects to get into after spending time studying business management,” he recounts. “But there was a spark there for me and even if it was very challenging, it was the best decision I ever made.” That decision then led to an application for a master’s degree and a chance encounter with KAEFER.

An unrelenting work ethic

Throughout Fin’s bachelor’s studies, he always had a job on the side: from working with senior management at Schaeffler and a position in DHL’s back office to getting involved with Active e.V. in Bremen, a student consulting company that works for real-life clients in business and industry. These experiences provided him with valuable knowledge in building competence centres like process optimisation, for example. But for his master’s, Fin vowed to stay away from extracurricular work and focus entirely on his studies. He lasted exactly two months before he started looking for jobs again.

After searching through several portals, Fin only made one application. That was to be a working student at KAEFER. He got the job and started in May 2019.

KAEFER Headquarters in Bremen's city center

Living LEAN

From the moment he started at KAEFER, his mission was to be an active participant in the company’s LEAN journey. His master’s thesis was entitled “Data-driven continuous improvement culture enabled by digital Lean tools in the construction industry” and he worked on applying these insights in his daily work. He programmed an app to measure the amount of time wasted on construction sites by idleness. This was integrated into the DPMS – The Order to Invoice Solution app and led to a 90% reduction of wasted time as well as time savings of 1/3 for the entire process. LEAN leaders use the app for analysis and part of his research on his master’s thesis has helped develop new versions of DPMS and its user interface. Throughout his studies and in his subsequent work at KAEFER, Fin has shown a commitment to LEAN as a real driver of innovation and efficiency.


And the fact that people greet each other with ‘moin’ here as well makes me feel at home.

Fitting in and finding ideas for the future

Fin likes to think about what will happen to the company culture with a shift to digitalisation and how this will affect the dynamic on the construction sites. He also wants to understand where there are opportunities for improvement in warehouse and asset management and how things such as QR codes as well as RFID can streamline processes. He also enjoys the fact that he is able to bounce these ideas off of his colleagues and learn from their experience. “I feel like I’m on the same level with others here at KAEFER,” Fin explains. “There’s no feeling of people throwing their weight around, it’s rather a constructive and supportive environment where I’m free to make mistakes and to learn from the experience. And the fact that people greet each other with ‘moin’ here as well makes me feel at home.”

His superiors agree that he fits right in. According to Dr. Alexander Faber, Head of Corporate Operations Excellence, “Fin is a very conscientious employee with high quality standards in his work. At the same time, he is inquisitive and wants to develop himself further. He is a wonderful fit for KAEFER and our motto: When it counts, count on us.”

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