turning an entrepreneurial attitude into satisfied customers

One of Aalbert’s company values is “Be an entrepreneur.” An entrepreneur must be self-confident, agile, and willing to explore, or as American businessman Roy Ash once put it: “An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.” One of our colleagues that embodies that willingness to try new things and take on a challenge is Osaze Ehi-Egharevba, Lead Project Engineer at Lamers.

Osaze studied mechanical engineering at Technological University Dublin. After he graduated in 2017, he traveled to Amsterdam on summer holiday, and shortly after he got home, a recruiter emailed him asking if he’d considered moving to the Netherlands. A leading company from the semiconductor industry was hiring, and according to the recruiter, it was “almost like working at NASA.” Osaze knew nothing about them, but he admired NASA and had enjoyed his visit, so he decided to take the plunge.

That gig didn’t last long, but it did give him a crash course in the industry and working abroad. He moved on to work as a production engineer at another company, but after two years he was ready for a new challenge. He heard Lamers was looking for people who had experience with structure and automation but also wanted to take ownership. Osaze was looking to have an impact and help lay the foundation for something big, so it seemed like an ideal fit. “As a young engineer you see many things that are already done,” he says. “If your role is to keep it going, you don’t have a chance to introduce your own things. I wanted to be part of something different.”

When Osaze joined Lamers in June 2020, he found himself in yet another situation where he had to learn quickly. His role was to work on development projects for one of Lamers’ key customers, but the customer was not happy. “We were not delivering on our promises and they didn’t understand why, so they didn’t feel like they could trust us,” he explains. “I understood why they were frustrated, and quickly found myself challenging the way things were being done. I think my manager liked my way of thinking, so he gave me a lot of freedom.”

Osaze came up with a plan to get back in the customer’s good graces. “We needed to be transparent and acknowledge our mistakes and show them where we wanted to go, and then deliver,” he says. “We started with little things, and that already seemed like a lot to them. There was this misconception that they were a difficult customer, but once I took time to understand them, I found that they really just wanted to be in the know.”

Nowadays the relationship is in a much better place. Osaze says, “The customer is happy, though they do constantly challenge us to do even better. Actually, we challenge each other – they see us as experts and we can bounce ideas off one another. Rather than trying to micromanage us, they can now trust us and even give us things that are headaches for them and ask for help.”

In typical Osaze fashion, he’s looking forward to the next challenge. “We have great products, but we have a lot to do if we want to keep up with our growth,” he says. “We need to develop standard ways of working so that our quality is consistently high. We need to evolve our old ways of thinking, be more flexible, and not accept things that are not how they should be. And we need people with the right skills and the right mindset to make it happen.”

According to him, that last puzzle piece is already in place. “We now have a really strong team. I get to work with engineering PhDs and experts in manufacturing and a production team that knows exactly what to do, and here’s me who doesn’t even have a Masters degree challenging them and learning from them,” Osaze says. “I’m surrounded by people who know a lot more than I do but appreciate my contribution to the team. I think that together we are already making an impact.”

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