Johannes Heerdt is Head of Operations in Kassel. In this interview, he tells us what his day-to-day work is like and what challenges it brings.
My day is filled with routine meetings around all current and planned projects in production. We have a large variety of highly different orders that are handled simultaneously. Therefore, we are always faced with new challenges - it definitely never gets boring.
I am also responsible for everything that involves modernising and constructing buildings, renting or leasing production, warehouse and office space, and complying with official requirements. Dealing with unexpected situations, such as the recent pandemic at the site, is of course also part of the job. I also keep in touch with the other Rheinmetall branches and am the contact person for almost all matters relating to the Kassel site. In summary, I can say that my job is extremely varied. In the morning, I check the calendar - and in the end, the day can turn out completely different than planned. But that's good. Because I am a person who likes change and new challenges.
Originally, I come from a completely different industry: I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 13 years, where I started my professional life with a vocational training. I have remained true to the production environment until today. Over the years, I have been able to gain a wide variety of experience, whether in different areas and departments, areas of responsibility in Germany or abroad. During my part-time studies, my path then led me to Rheinmetall. I started at the Kassel plant in the area of lean management, an area that still fascinates and drives me today. I quickly integrated myself into the company and things progressed steadily. Opportunities came and doors opened. And, I am a guy who likes to evolve. I don't like standing still. So, everything fell into place perfectly.
Our special team spirit certainly sets us apart. The Kassel location is a pleasant size, people still know each other here. We really live our corporate values and treat each other with openness and honesty.
We have built up an extremely broad portfolio in recent years. Almost every Rheinmetall project runs through Kassel in some form or other. Whether it is the production of individual assemblies or complete vehicles - from the first screw to final acceptance. We have worked very successfully here in recent years and have the drive to keep it that way.
I am lucky that I love my job. I simply enjoy working. I feel a great affinity to the location, by the way, I was also born in Kassel. Especially at the moment, there are so many opportunities and challenges with regard to our projects. I think there is a great atmosphere here with a lot of drive and team spirit. It is a joy to work here.
The future prospects for our location are great. We have made tremendous strides in recent years. Inevitably, there are also certain "growing pains". We have to find additional colleagues with the appropriate know how, redefine processes, and expand capacities. All in the name of growth.
We can be justifiably proud of what we have all achieved and built up here in the past years. Of the overall development we have made, to which everyone has contributed. We are taking big steps towards the future and can also invest accordingly now: in our employees, in building expansions, tools and new technologies.
Of course, there are also difficult phases. But, at the end of the day, we stand up for each other. I am proud of how we present ourselves as a team and as a location.
Kassel is a location with a great, supportive community that gives you a lot. We are looking for colleagues who are hungry for knowledge, want to get ahead and are happy to share their own know how. If you are ready to take one step further, you have come to the right place. My advice: Communicate openly and directly and work according to our values. Then you quickly become part of the whole - and part of our success.
Our values are extremely important in our everyday work. Where people work, mistakes happen. Only if they are communicated openly can we work on solutions. We have a positive error culture here based on the idea of continuous improvement. It is important for me to always have an open ear for my employees. I want them to know that if they have a problem, they can come to me with confidence and that we will deal with each other fairly.
We have many colleagues from different cultures here. It is especially important to treat each other with respect. Last but not least, for me, respect also includes politeness. A please, a thank you and a friendly greeting are simply part of friendly interaction.
I really enjoy spending my free time outdoors. Whether it is on my bike, on which I recently crossed the Alps with friends, on the water fishing, or I also like to go skiing in the mountains.
My personal balance is provided by my wife and my two children - my daughter and son know exactly how to keep me on my toes, so we make the most of our time together.
Versatile and competent
More than 1,000 employees currently work at the Kassel site. They all contribute to Rheinmetall’s success with their individual areas of work. The following employees have given us a deeper insight into their day-to-day work. Click on the pictures to find out more...
Division Vehicle Systems – further insights
Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH is part of the Vehicle Systems division. The Vehicle Systems division offers a field-proven and versatile vehicle portfolio on wheels and tracks. This includes combat, support, logistics and special vehicles and is constantly evolving. The division is divided into the following business units: Tactical Vehicles and Logistic Vehicles. Sensors, guidance systems, protection technologies and effectors from the partner divisions turn Rheinmetall's wheeled and tracked vehicles into highly effective systems.
Reinforcement wanted for Team Kassel
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