Hello! My name is Iris Lammers. I’m 25 years old and have been the first participant on the Procurement Trainee Program at Bayer MaterialScience since July 2012.
I studied international industrial engineering at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences in Rüsselsheim from 2007 to 2012 while also completing a Bachelor’s degree in industrial procurement in Toulouse.
Ever since that period of dual study in France, I knew I wanted to stay in the procurement sector.
For me, it was important to get onto a trainee program that would give me a chance to get to know various departments and positions within a procurement organization and to go abroad to further expand my international network.
That’s why I decided to apply for the new 18-month Procurement Trainee Program at Bayer. After a telephone interview and an assessment center in Leverkusen lasting a day and a half, I was accepted for a position in the “Procurement & Trading” business unit at Bayer MaterialScience.
Obviously, I did think about whether I really wanted to embark on a program that was the first of its kind at Bayer and do so completely “alone” without having the company of other – or even former – trainees in the procurement area. In the end, I decided to see it as an opportunity. As it turns out, this has given me the chance to get actively involved in the content of my program, make my own requests and switch placements if necessary. I really enjoy that level of freedom. It also means I share part of the responsibility for my own program.
I have been really impressed by the support I have received from my managers and colleagues and their open attitude. I was made to feel at home in my first placement in next to no time, was allowed to attend meetings, got to know other members of staff and was quickly given certain responsibilities.
Internationality plays an important role in my area of work and at Bayer generally. In the course of projects, I regularly encounter colleagues from other European sites – it’s really great to be able to speak French, English and Spanish with them and learn more about their culture. I can actively participate in workshops and meetings by presenting my projects and the results.
As a trainee, it’s important to be proactive and open in approaching new colleagues, show an interest, ask questions and make it clear that you want to get involved in the projects.
In addition, we Bayer trainees have started to build up a trainee community within the internal Bayer network so that we can share information more quickly and make it easier for new trainees to get to know the rest of us. We also get together outside of work, meeting in Cologne once a month to go for a meal, offer each other advice or simply chat about our different placements.
I completed my first placement in November. That gave me enough time to get to know the other staff and the world of Bayer. I’m really looking forward to the months ahead. The next placements will be a little shorter and I will switch between different areas in Bayer MaterialScience procurement every two to three months. At the moment, I’m on a placement outside the procurement area in the regional product management section of the PUR business unit. This gives me experience with other units, tasks and people, but also enables me to view procurement from an outside perspective. I’ve also gained a better insight into our products – I have a better understanding of how they are made and have been able to see an on-site production facility for myself.
After that, I’m off to Barcelona for three months to work in local procurement. Luckily, I’ve already made contact with some employees there through meetings and telephone conferences, so it will be a bit easier to settle in. However, my own personal highlight will be the final placement at the end of 2013. I’ll be going to Shanghai for 2 months to work on a large global investment project for the expansion of our polymer production at the Shanghai/Caoijing site. The project covers the construction of new, world-scale plants to strengthen our presence on the Asian market. That will definitely be exciting from a procurement point of view, as we will have to purchase entire plant parts. That demands a different procurement strategy to raw materials and usually involves specialist individual parts.
This report was written by Iris Lammers. On this blog Bayer employees from different subgroups and service companies tell you about their personal experiences. So you can get a little insight into the company. Why are we doing this? Please visit our Facebook-Blog.
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