Advanced mechatronics takes on demanding projects for demanding customers, and we are growing fast. Every day is full of exciting new challenges, and our colleagues get a kick out of taking on these challenges, thinking outside the box, and coming up with ways to work better and deliver better results. We call this “being an entrepreneur.”
A Dutch saying – Geen onderhouder maar bouwer (“Not a maintainer, but a builder”) – captures this same spirit, and is a favorite of Gijs Peters, Logistics Manager at Lamers. Gijs has had an entrepreneurial attitude from the outset of his career. After his bachelors, he started working at a furniture company, but after a year decided to start his own furniture company. After growing his business for nearly 10 years, he suffered a back injury which forced him to take a much-needed break.
“It made me think,” Gijs says. “I was making money but also working seven days a week. I had no time to enjoy what I was doing. I had other things going on in my personal life that required my attention. I asked myself, ‘Is this really what I want?’ I believe that things happen for a reason, so I decided to sell my company. It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Ready for a new adventure, Gijs took a job at the logistics company where his brother worked. “I immediately knew it was my kind of thing,” he says. “I planned to stay six weeks, but it ended up being six years.” Hungry for a new challenge, he joined another logistics company, carried out some major projects, then it was time for a new challenge. “I’m a builder, not a maintainer,” he explains. “I thought if I stayed it would just be more of the same.”
That’s when Gijs found out about Lamers. It was not only much closer to home – it also offered plenty of new challenges. “I could see that the logistics department was struggling to manage its growth and needed to improve to reach the next level,” he says. “But I don’t run away from challenges. I think you can only learn to swim in deep water.”
Gijs immediately dove in, making tweaks to the org chart, tackling improvement projects, and challenging his new team to think along with him. This included giving everyone a training in 5S methodology. “At first people were skeptical about changing things,” Gijs says. “I told them, ‘I can design a setup for the department by myself, but I’m not the one who has to work there. You need to tell me what you need to make things run better.’ When we did the training, it finally clicked. Now people see that it works and are excited to suggest even more improvements.”
So far it seems to be a great fit. “From the first day I’ve had the feeling that I entered the right door,” Gijs says. “I’ve been here for five months, but sometimes it feels like five years. I already see a change in mindset within the team, and it’s helping us grow and work more efficiently. Everything we are investing in is coming back to us. We still have plenty of work to do, but I feel that there are good people around me and we are on the same page.”
Always looking for the next challenge, Gijs is eager to keep improving and learning. “I would like to learn more about the industry and develop myself so that I can work on a higher level someday,” he says. “But for now I want to focus on getting the warehouse where it needs to be – having all the processes running smoothly, high productivity, better cooperation with the other departments, and a stable and happy team.”
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