Combined Shape

sharing ideas instead of being told what to do

At Aalberts advanced mechatronics, we supply one of the most cutting edge and fastest-growing industries in the world. To keep up, we have to continuously evolve and improve. We need people who are eager to try new things and enjoy the freedom to be creative and are tenacious enough to make change happen. One of our employees who embodies this entrepreneurial spirit is Tom Bolderman, Process Engineer at Lamers.

a perfect fit
Tom studied mechanical engineering and automotive technology in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. He then started working at a company active in the semiconductor industry, first as a Process Engineer and then as an NPI Engineer. Meanwhile he decided to return to his hometown of Nijmegen, and after a year of commuting between Eindhoven and Nijmegen he decided to find something closer to home. He heard via an ex-colleague that Lamers was hiring, and the location and vacancy were a perfect fit.

convincing results, but also challenges
Tom joined Lamers in October 2021 as a Manufacturing Engineer. His initial project has focused on implementing a new software system called Visual Factory, which is used for digitizing work instructions. They started with a pilot of three products, and the results were convincing: after implementing the program, the error rate for assembly went from 20% to 6%. “Visual Factory can help us save rework,” Tom says. “It also makes it easier to train people and easier to divide work between people and switch between tasks.”

Though the results look good, the project has also come with challenges, such as interrupting a busy production process to take pictures of equipment and to get ideas and know-how from the people actually carrying out the work – not all of whom feel there’s a need to change the way things are done. “A tricky part of this project has been getting people excited about the program; it’s different from how we usually work,” Tom says. “But listening to their ideas and needs and figuring out how to make it work for them and get them on board is also really fun.”

giving advice instead of being told what to do
Another thing Tom had to adjust to was the amount of leeway he was given. “At first I struggled a bit because the project sponsor didn’t give me a defined path to follow,” he explains. “I was free to give my opinion and suggest a plan, but I didn’t always know which route to take and needed help. I was giving advice to the management instead of being told what to do, which is not what I was used to. Now I think it’s really nice!”   

That freedom reflects the open culture that Tom has experienced so far. “A nice thing about Lamers is that it’s really flat,” he says. “I can have a joke with my managers, and I can interact with all the other departments. If I’m struggling with something, I can walk into an office and talk to someone and get help or ask questions.”

ready for the next phase
Now that he’s learned the ropes, Tom is ready for the next phase. Visual Factory has been implemented in one department and the plan is to roll it out to other departments. In the meantime his role has changed to Process Engineer, his responsibilities have expanded to include things like standardization and process improvements, and he’s following a Lean 6 Sigma Green Belt course to strengthen his project management skills. “I really like that my role is not fixed,” he says. “I’m excited to keep trying new things and figure out where I want to go in the future.”

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