Women in Tech @ Plan B: Interview with Britta Kalusche, Head of Assembly Planning

by Hermann Assmann (comments: 0)

Head of department Britta Kalusche is happy about her gift for the 10th anniversary

As a medium-sized company in the field of automation and mechanical engineering, we come from a rather classically male-dominated professional field. We are therefore all the more pleased about our Head of Assembly Planning Britta Kalusche, who recently celebrated 10 years with us.

Hello Britta, please tell us briefly about yourself.

I was born in Dortmund, am 39 years old, a mechanical engineer, a manager in a medium-sized company, a mother of two children and live in Bremen.

What do you do for a living?

I am Head of Assembly Planning at Plan B Automatisierung GmbH. I've been working there since 2012. After graduating from Leibniz University in Hanover in 2008, I made a conscious decision to move towards industry, to medium-sized companies, after a short period in science.

What does your day-to-day work look like today?

I work 30 hours a week as head of the planning department and share my management post with my male colleague Dirk Wilhelm. Dirk and I have been working together very closely and in a spirit of trust for years, so that we can represent each other at any time, both internally and with customers, and the management of the department is ensured without interruption.

What do you like most about your current job?

My work content! I design and plan assembly systems on behalf of customers, and it's always new systems for other customers and other products. You have your planning method, which of course you keep getting better at, but it doesn't actually change systemically.

The actual problems, solutions, tasks that the customer needs - these are always different. So it never gets boring at any point, and at the same time I can keep increasing my expertise in the areas of assembly technology and assembly processes.

In addition, the partnership-based cooperation at eye level with customers has also increased more and more in recent years, which I find very fulfilling.

What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day work?

In a nutshell, it's the good cooperation at our company. You can see that, for example, in the fact that I'm never alone in my company when I make a mistake. With us, it's perfectly okay to say: "Something went wrong here, how can we get out of it together? In such situations, we all pull together and think about what could be done.

That's exactly how I still proceed 10 years later. If I get stuck somewhere and run out of ideas, I can always turn to my team, the management or other experts and say, "Let's talk about it. In the end, the solution to a simple question quickly becomes a joint team effort.

What special challenges do you face as a woman in your profession?

Personally, I have gained a different standing over the past ten years, both as a woman and as a planner. I remember how I used to be nervous in customer meetings and always felt a lot of pressure to prove myself and deliver.

With increasing professional experience, that's different today. I'm just much more carefree in client meetings. I'm relaxed when talking to customers and can say what I want to say in the same way, thus presenting myself and my work satisfactorily to all parties.

What has been the most exciting project in your professional life so far?

The most exciting project was one that wasn't realized at all in the end. We planned a matrix assembly for the central plant for a customer in the robotics industry. We wanted to move away from rigid, interlinked lines to individual assembly stations that could be flexibly linked during operation.

There is an extensive theoretical background on this subject, as well as a great deal of scientific information and studies, but very little material from the field. So we kept asking ourselves questions: What does this mean if it is really to be implemented in reality? Where are perhaps limits, and what can be done anyway?

And that was exactly what was super-exciting: working on theoretical possible solutions and adapting them to the requirements of practice, since theoretical planning methods cannot be transferred 1:1 at all. We wanted to use what we had already worked out scientifically as a hands-on method in practice, without having to set up a new experiment.

Where would you like to develop professionally and personally?

Personally, I am already very satisfied at the moment. Professionally, I see great challenges ahead for all companies, namely a shortage in many areas. Be it a lack of skilled workers, a lack of materials and resources in the broadest sense, i.e. also the resources that employees bring into the company.

On the side of our customers, on the other hand, the need to automate is being seen more and more strongly. However, many companies are still at the very beginning of such a process. These companies then ask themselves questions such as "Where do I start? How do I do that when I have optimized my entire production to manual assembly for years and years?". Being able to responsibly offer and also implement suitable solutions and concepts here is what makes me very happy in my job.

What other message would you like to give to women or girls who are interested in technology?

The most important thing is that you enjoy technical subjects. I really enjoy working in my field and am happy about every female colleague. It doesn't matter whether other people like your interest or not - it's all about you.

Thank you very much for the interview, Britta!

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Stephan Schnitger - Sales Management - Plan B GmbH - Montageanlagen

Stephan Schnitger

Sales Management

Phone +49 421 22325 - 218

E-Mail: schnitger@plan-b-bremen.de

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This approach is interesting for your production, or do you have further questions about one of our solutions?

Feel free to contact us. We would be happy to advise you!

Jörn Fischer - Factory Consulting - Plan B GmbH - Montageanlagen

Dr. Jörn E. Fischer

Phone +49 421 22 325 221

E-Mail: info@plan-b-fc.de

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