Fatima El Harouach – Quality Coordinator
Fatima works on the Final Assembly Line, and as coordinator for Q-FAS she manages one of the teams responsible for the quality of our cars. This spirited, motivated lady knows what she wants and is a stickler for order and tidiness. “Quality is really my thing. I enjoy seeking solutions for further improvement.”
Fatima started as a production employee at VDL Nedcar five years ago. When she was hired we were in a transitional phase and had not yet started production for our first customer, BMW. She therefore spent her first few weeks in training, at the practical school. Then she worked as a production worker on various line segments in the factory.
Her dedication, motivation and qualities did not go unnoticed; Fatima was asked to become a coordinator. Fatima says, “I was a little surprised that I was asked to do this job. I may have been the ‘star player’ of the line, but I had no managerial experience at all. I hesitated for a bit, but after a discussion with my manager, I went for it.'
Coordinator training programme
“I've been a quality coordinator for a year and a half now. There are about 25 to 30 people on my team. Even though I didn't have any prior management experience, I felt comfortable with it straight away. I really enjoy arranging things, keeping an eye on quality and taking steps towards continuous improvement. As far as quality is concerned, I knew I liked it from the very first moment. I have now completed my training as a coordinator, and I learned a lot from that.”
“Quality is really my thing!”
“On my line segment we check a number of things, such as the interior, exterior, engine compartment, rear hatch and the underside of the car. We also have quality controllers who monitor whether everything is perfectly assembled and is working properly.”
“I work in shifts: a day shift and an afternoon shift. The day shift starts at 6:00 and the afternoon shift at 14:30. I start each day by consulting with my fellow coordinator for the other shift on my line segment. I hear from her how the morning or afternoon went and which things we have to pay extra attention to. Then I convene the start-up meeting. In five minutes, I tell everyone our important focus areas and whether there are any important announcements from the area supervisor or other departments. Compliments are also part of this meeting, because those are just as important as criticisms. I also discuss the ‘one-pagers’, which are items we have to pay special attention to.”
“My days are always very busy. After the start-up meeting I check my computer. I can see exactly what's being checked at which station and what can be improved. Quality items can be traced back to the line segment where the part is fitted. Then I contact the relevant area supervisor and he lets me know from which car on the quality items have been solved. As a woman, you have to be able to stand your ground, because feedback has to be accepted. After all, everything must be resolved as quickly as possible so that our quality is guaranteed at all times. I work on the line myself, too. I enjoy that, because it's how I get to know people well.”
Concentration and making choices
“It's all about concentration, watching, feeling and listening. A good controller has to dare to make choices, and for that you have to have self-confidence. To work as a controller, you need to have a lot of ready knowledge, and you must be able to act quickly. You have to decide whether or not something is good enough to go on. My controllers have many more facts and figures at their fingertips than I do. I am very proud of and happy with my team. They provide feedback independently, and everyone gets along well. The fact is, I can tell them what to do until my face turns blue, but ultimately they are the ones who have to do it.”
“This job is really my thing. Every day is a new challenge and it's never boring. I really like quality more than anything else. And managing is also always a challenge. How do you keep your team together and people motivated? Along with the team and the rest of the factory personnel, I'm constantly working to improve the quality. In the end, delivering the best possible finished product is a team effort.”