continuously learning new ways to make an impact

Continuously learning new ways to make an impact
Our industry is growing at a breakneck pace. To keep up, we need to keep evolving as a business and as individuals. To help our people grow, we offer them new challenges and encourage them to share with and learn from each other. One of our colleagues who has embraced this approach is Marvin Stoll, Customer Service Manager at IDE.

Taking on one new challenge after another
Marvin got his start at IDE in 2004 working in manufacturing – his first job after he completed his apprenticeship. In 2007 IDE decided to implement an ERP system. Marvin helped set up the system for manufacturing and learned so much about production in the process that management suggested he take over production planning.

IDE kept growing along with increased demand, and in 2015 they created a new department to help them handle the challenges that come with growth. Once again, Marvin was asked to take on a new challenge. “I was always complaining that our data was not good enough for me to plan well,” he explains. “In Germany we say that if you’re complaining about something you get to try to do it better, so they asked me to lead the new team.”

The main goal of the new group was to increase customer satisfaction. “When I started, the customer would not know if their order was received until three weeks after they submitted it,” Marvin says. “This was leading to lots of requests for updates and frustration. I restructured the internal organization and we established standardized processes and improved our customer communication. Now we can confirm an order within two days.”

Improving through self knowledge
These results caught the attention of management, and earlier this year they invited Marvin to participate in an intensive professional development program. The program aims to develop leaders by giving them insights into who they are and how people see them, how to develop themselves, and how to work better with others.

The program taught Marvin many things about himself. “I found out that I’m someone who offers too much,” he explains. “I learned to not offer help without asking if the person actually needs help. The program also taught me to take work less personally, which helps me prioritize and focus on my most urgent tasks.”

Learning how to lead
Marvin has also learned a lot from his leaders. “My bosses have all had this attitude of, of course we can solve it, we just have to figure out how,” Marvin says. “Learning to not focus on the issue, but rather what the solution could be, completely changed my mindset.”

Leading a team himself has also taught him a lot. “I have learned that leading a team doesn’t mean you have to know everything or be on top of every single task,” Marvin says. “If you involve the team you have more knowledge to work with. Everyone has ideas and would like to help solve problems. And if you do a good job describing the problem, you automatically get good solutions.”

Finding surprising ways to make an impact
Looking back on his years at IDE, Marvin is surprised by how things evolved but not that he stuck around. “My career has not turned out at all how I expected, but it has always felt right to be here,” he says. “When I was younger, I wanted to be able to see what I created. I did not imagine myself sitting at a computer analyzing data, much less enjoying or being good at it. I’ve learned that I don’t have to use my hands to make a tangible impact.”

Looking ahead
In the future, Marvin would like to find even more ways to grow along with the company. “I would like to focus on strategic topics,” he says. “For example, I see a lot of potential for automating things to help us scale up our business. If we let machines do the work for us, then we have more time to think of ways to offer better solutions or better service. I hope to help my team and IDE work more efficiently, and of course keep growing as a person.”