Business Center Manager at Sumitomo Electric Bordnetze SE
Joined the company in 2014
My company, Sumitomo Electric Bordnetze (SEBN), is an important supplier of wiring systems for a major German car manufacturer. In fact, the company was formerly a subsidiary of this manufacturer until 2006, when it was acquired by Sumitomo Electric Industries. In 2014, I joined SEBN after having worked at some of SEBN’s competitors. It had been a goal of mine to become a member of the team here because I was born in Wolfsburg, the location of our company headquarters.
Early in my career, at another company, I did two-dimensional diagrams for automotive wiring systems. These drawings are essential in our business. At the next company, I became head of development, which sounds big but it was only two projects. However, the importance is that it was my first time to be in a leadership position. I realized that I like to coordinate things, such as international teams. When I joined SEBN, my interest in coordination gave me the possibility to take an assignment in the Czech Republic as the head of development there.
My time in the Czech Republic was a very rewarding experience. The customer there made us feel like we were working on the same level as them, even though we were the supplier. This was a new feeling for me. At the end of the project, I received a big thank-you from the customer for our work for them. Being at SEBN, it is great to see the positive relationships that can exist between customers and suppliers in the automotive industry.
Since 2018, on top to development I have been in the program management position. On the one hand I support international development teams who are working on projects in Eastern Europe and Mexico. These development teams are quite big. In one country, for example, we have 80 people on one team.
As Business Center Manager, I am in charge of projects related to a customer's modular platform. In the Business Center organization every manager is responsible not only for managing the projects and the technical aspects, but also for financial side and project profitability. Over the entire project from the RFQ (Request for Quotation) to the EOP (End of Production) we make regular business plan updates to ensure that the project costs remain within the calculated framework.
In terms of career development, I really appreciate that performance and experience play an important part in career decisions. Work possibilities should not be limited to titles only. At SEBN, academic training counts, of course, but experience also matters very much. In my case, I was able to spend two years in one location where I learned a lot about production, and this knowledge really helped me because solving problems in production teaches you many things for development. I’m not an engineer or technician by training, yet through my performance I have been able to build my career successfully here at SEBN.