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Always had an attachment to thyssenkrupp

From apprentice to head of department: André Mense has mastered many roles at thyssenkrupp. As a true Westphalian, he has always had an attachment to thyssenkrupp - whether in Beckum, Essen or Krefeld. He has been part of #GENERATIONTK for 20 years – a proud anniversary. How come he’s never become bored with the same employer? It’s because of the many opportunities for personal development at thyssenkrupp. He himself is proof perfect of that. Today, André Mense can proudly say that he is responsible for quality assurance and technical customer support at thyssenkrupp Materials Processing Europe GmbH, managing quality-related issues across the business unit’s Europe-wide network.

How did you come to join thyssenkrupp?

“thyssenkrupp is everywhere in North Rhine-Westphalia. It became clear to me at a young age that joining thyssenkrupp would open up a lot of opportunities. And that’s exactly what happened. I’ve had opportunities to develop in many different ways – and I’ve made the most of them. It's never boring, because there are always exciting challenges. You can get to know different departments and sites, or you can even take advantage of the diversity of the group to change industries. At the beginning as a trainee, I thought to myself: If I can put my knowledge of supply chain management processes to use in the steel sector, there should be nothing to stop me starting a career at thyssenkrupp Steel. For me, the product was secondary at first but that has changed massively in the course of my career at thyssenkrupp. Although I moved from thyssenkrupp Steel to thyssenkrupp Materials Processing, my fascination with steel has matured in the new business unit. I’ve been here for a few years now yet there are still lots of new things to discover and learn. After all, we – and by that I mean primarily our colleagues at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe of course – we are continuously developing and optimizing the product steel to meet customer requirements.”

What is your main role at thyssenkrupp?

“To put it simply, I bear part of the responsibility for ensuring that customers are satisfied with our products. Our customers need to receive the product we supply them with in exactly the form they imagined and specified with us. For this, it’s important to carefully check the quality of the product - in our case slit strip or sheet. This starts with a manufacturability analysis and continues throughout the entire production process. Defects can occur in steel and are also covered by standards and specifications. If these defects occur in our product and the customer complains about a delivery, we begin our analysis: What precisely is the customer’s issue? Is it really caused by our product or more by the fabrication process or the tools used? This is often the point where we come on board as technical customer advisors. First of all we carry out a detailed analysis in which we also involve our customers and suppliers. Afterwards, we might for example recommend a material more suitable for the application. This is something our customers particularly value. We notice this clearly in our communications with them and of course in customer surveys.”

What topic of the future are you currently working on?

“At thyssenkrupp Materials Services we’re focusing on the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT for short. It has a wide range of applications. One of them is measuring the thickness of slit strip. We’re currently working on a shift from manual to digital and automated measurement. The digital thickness measurements taken over the strip length are transmitted to an IIoT platform called toii® for storage and analysis. The added value is obvious: On the one hand we save time and manpower. On the other, we can ensure adherence to the thickness specifications for the entire strip length. This in turn increases customer satisfaction and we have fewer complaints. A classic win-win.”

Is there any one thing that illustrates that things are changing at thyssenkrupp?

Digitization. A lot is happening in this area at our company. Our formula for success: appreciative collaboration between younger and older colleagues. As digital natives, young people starting their careers bring fresh ideas with them. We’re always open to this, because there’s always room for improvement. We older people, on the other hand, have the expertise to be able to test these ideas for feasibility. A good example of this is using an app to track material. For Generation Z, it was an obvious idea. And we were able to implement it. Fantastic!”