Even while a student in industrial engineering, Björn Kleigrewe knew he wanted to kick off his career in a trainee program. It was especially the positive reports by colleagues about the company that caused him to take a closer look at Voith. With his focus on logistics and processes, he had the perfect background for a successful start with Voith Turbo in the Rail Vehicles Division.
Successfully completed university studies, internship in aerospace, career entry as trainee in a growth market: For Björn Kleigrewe, acceptance to the Global Graduate Program at Voith Turbo meant everything was going according to plan. For twelve months, he got to know the company – and also to value it, and so he began his permanent position as Project Manager Supply Chain in the Rail Vehicles Division. He finds especially attractive the opportunity to make a useful contribution in a strongly growing market: “In threshold countries, like China, entire regions have to be equipped with transportation infrastructure – and I like being able to help make the world a better place,” says Björn Kleigrewe, putting into words his enthusiasm for his job. He already had the chance to do that while in the Global Graduate Program.
Exciting stations, topics and products
As part of the Global Graduate Program at Voith, trainees get to know three “stations” in detail over a period of twelve months: These stations are mainly the various plants, with their corresponding products, which are spread throughout the world. At each station, the trainees work on different self-contained topics that are oriented on the respective focus in the Global Graduate Program. Selection of stations and topics is made together with the trainees. For that purpose, each trainee has a mentor as a direct contact: Usually, it is the plant manager – for the Global Graduate Program is a management priority at Voith.
That was also Björn Kleigrewe's experience. His first station was the plant in Salzgitter, with the focus on supply chain and logistics. Here he analyzed and optimized the parts kit process of the Scharfenberg coupling. In Salzgitter, Voith produces the couplings, which are used in express trains and subways. Then they are installed on site in China: Björn Kleigrewe's second station – at least that was the plan. But surprising formalities did not permit a continuous stay for several months. Working together with his contact at Voith Turbo, he quickly found a solution: Björn Kleigrewe first went to China for three months. There he had the opportunity to participate when the parts kits were installed and to initiate the measures he developed for better interface communication on site. Then his path took him to Australia, to the Voith plant near Sydney. Here, too, parts kits for the Scharfenberg couplings are installed and overhauled. And so he was able to gain valuable experience and make important contacts. The return trip went through China: He checked the extent that the measures he initiated were still being followed. “This great flexibility, the variety of opportunities and great support by the mentor are an immense advantage of Voith: Together, we always find a solution!”, said Björn Kleigrewe, summarizing his experience in the company.
He spent the last four months of the trainee program in the plant at Heidenheim: Working on mainly logistical topics and processes related to turbo transmissions, he had the chance to get to know a completely different product.
Optimally supported – with close contact to management
Besides gaining comprehensive insight into the company, the Global Graduate Program was an opportunity to make numerous contacts and build up a network – including with those at the highest level: A special highlight for Björn Kleigrewe was the fireside chat with the general manager of Voith Turbo during the training week, which is part of the program: “This was just a wonderful opportunity to make contact with someone at the highest management level in an informal setting,” Björn Kleigrewe remembers. For Björn Kleigrewe, this closeness to management is characteristic of Voith as an employer:
“It's a successful family-owned company with a lot of engineering competence and very attractive, innovative products, though in terms of size it's a large corporation. The company offers the opportunity to actively contribute and shape things.”
And so Björn Kleigrewe was happy to receive an offer to continue working for Voith after the trainee program: As Project Manager Supply Chain, he works on projects throughout the entire value chain - from purchasing to shipping. This coordinating and facilitating role includes meetings and frequent discussions with interface areas on a daily basis. His broad experience and many contacts from his trainee year are very valuable here.