Warehouse logistics rethought – Häffner welcomes Karol Damaschke as new divisional manager for production and warehousing

With Karol Damaschke, Häffner welcomes an experienced warehouse logistics specialist and industrial master craftsman in the field of chemistry as Area Manager Production and Warehouse. He is in charge of coordinating the warehouse locations and provides support in the area of occupational safety and warehouse optimization. In the interview, he tells us more about his professional life to date and his perspective on the warehouse logistics of the future.

Mr. Damaschke, welcome to Häffner! How did you find your start in the company?

Very well, I received a friendly and courteous welcome. My office and notebook were already set up when I started. The well-structured familiarization plan will also help me to gain new knowledge and bring it into the company in a way that will bring success.

Please feel free to tell us about your career so far, so that we can get to know you better.

After my first vocational training in the field of warehouse logistics and employers from various industries, I caught up with the advanced technical college entrance qualification. In 2015, I finally found my red thread in the professional world, which I have now been passionately pursuing for years. In 2015, I entered the chemical industry as a career changer and got to know all the necessary processes of filling, which are required to work safely and efficiently in a chemical plant. In a relatively short period of time, I had the opportunity to work my way up, so that in 2016 I was a team leader in filling and manufacturing.

During my time as a manager, I continued to develop through various leadership coaching sessions. Furthermore, I decided to continue my education alongside my job and attended an institute for further education on Saturdays for two years, where I was able to successfully complete the industrial foreman in chemistry. At the same time, I worked as a trainer in my company and motivated my employees and trainees with individual target agreements. During this phase, I was also involved in several projects, such as setting up an empties department and training colleagues on the new filling lines.

What challenges have you already identified and how would you like to tackle them?

I see challenges above all in my new area of responsibility, but I also see them as opportunities. The task is to optimize existing structures and processes that are not yet lean but will be optimized in the future. The workforce will be faced with changes that we will have to tackle together and get used to. My plan is to pick up the employees thematically at an information event and explain the procedure in detail there.

What do you see as the difficulty of managing several sites?

The challenge is that you can’t be on site at all three warehouse locations. However, thanks to tools such as notebooks and cell phones, you don’t necessarily have to coordinate everything on site these days. Furthermore, in the future I will drive to all three locations on a daily basis in order to always be up to date on what is happening on site.

What is important to you in your daily work?

Structure! I need the famous red thread through the various work processes and constant communication. If there’s a problem or a suggestion, it has to be discussed and a solution or further development brought about.

What do you think of modern approaches to everyday work such as New Work or job rotation?

At my last employment, I placed great value on approaches such as job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment, as well as semi-autonomous groups. This will also be the case at Häffner. Personally, I think it’s important to be given the chance to develop as an employee and to fully exploit your potential. The classic New Work approaches are difficult to implement in production, if you consider the topic of home office, for example. Even if the employer allows the option, I personally find it fundamentally better to be present on the store floor. The same applies to flexible working hours. As is generally known, local and long-distance traffic cannot be accurately estimated in terms of time, so you have to have fixed goods receiving times. Nevertheless, I have no objection to ending work early during quieter business hours.

What do you think warehouse logistics will look like in the future?

My wish is to create another new department, the “work preparation” department. This is to work closely with Purchasing and Sales in order to optimally plan the required tonnages of filled, as well as purchased, goods. The background to this is that we want to use the high-bay warehouse as efficiently as possible so that all customers receive the best quality at the fastest possible time. In the future, I would like us to work more with key figures. This will help us to become better in all processes in the future. The next two years will be very exciting when we have prepared the move to Marbach a.N. and the new filling lines can be put into operation. There will be great challenges for all of us, which we will overcome together.

Warehouse logistics is a very dynamic and busy area of work.

When things get a little hectic, how do you keep a cool head and how do you pass that on to your employees?

As in the past, I remain calm and objective. Personally, I prefer the situational management style. The past has often shown me that if you approach your work in a structured way and the processes are well thought out, my teams and I will find solutions together.

How do you balance your private life with your job?

In my free time, I like to play chess.

After many extensive questions, now a few to relax. If you had to choose:

Coffee or tea? Coffee
Dog or cat? Cat
Summer or winter? Summer
Beach or mountains? Beach
Organization is everything or a little creative chaos is okay? I’m more the organized and structured type.
Amusement park or wellness? Wellness
Book or e-book? Book
Action or rest? Rest