Team work, continuous improvement and the right balance

Winning the European KAIZEN Convention and travelling to the global convention in Japan – these were two highlights of Pedro Soler’s business life in the last months. But who is Pedro Soler? The Production Leader at Sekisui Specialty Chemicals Europe gives insights into his daily work, the importance of KAIZEN and his personal life.

Pedro Soler, Production Leader at the Tarragona Plant of Sekisui Specialty Chemicals Europe, joined the company in 2009 when the plant was formed part of SEKISUI. With a degree in Industrial Organic Chemistry from the University of Madrid (Pedro’s home town) and profound working experience in a PVOH (polyvinyl alcohol) plant in Guardo, Spain, Pedro was well positioned for the production department in Tarragona.

Ten years later and at an age of 43 Pedro leads the production department. His responsibility is to fulfill the production goals for the plant, ensuring all the Quality, Safety and Environmental commitments. To develop these tasks, he has a team of 26 employees – leaders and operators, working in five different shifts. And as all employees at the Tarragona site work as a team and for one common goal, he is also supported by colleagues form other departments.

What does a usual day of a production leader look like?

The day starts early, planning the raw materials requisition for the day. After that, a communication with the shift leader is required to check, analyze and plan the production activities for the day. Here, the maintenance activities required for the day are defined – depending on the activity performance during the previous hours and days. Following this, Pedro needs to coordinate the maintenance and attends plant meetings with different parties involved. During the whole time, he holds a continuous contact and reporting line to his leader, David Borrell. The rest of the day is usually occupied with different activities in the plant, such as PVOH lines or high purity methyl acetate units. On top, there are regular meetings and calls with colleagues from Japan and the US.

When Pedro thinks about his current role, he really enjoys working at Sekisui Specialty Chemicals. He is proud to belong to the Tarragona team where everyone adds efforts to achieve the plant’s goals and supports each other. He enjoys working in a very diverse team with different stages of knowledge, courage and experience. While some employees are younger and others are more experienced, the combination results in a very fruitful exchange. Pedro likes to solve the multidisciplinary issues appearing in a chemical industry and works on overcoming challenges as a team.

The importance of KAIZEN

Another reason why he really likes his job is KAIZEN. He is a “man of the first hour”: When the KAIZEN trainings started in 2010, Pedro was participating and still sees the importance of continuous improvement. In his opinion, KAIZEN is important for solving problems and issues detected during the daily routine. In order to have all employees embrace this importance, it is essential to train all employees on KAIZEN methods.

Since 2010, Pedro has participated in the European KAIZEN Convention for three times and has travelled to Japan twice. When coming back from the global KAIZEN convention in Tokyo this year, he explained: “It was a pleasure. It was great seeing colleagues from all over the world and sharing our thoughts on KAIZEN. I got a bit nervous when holding my speech but after the first moments, it was all fine.” He is now looking forward to continuing KAIZEN with his team.

Finding a balance

A lot of challenges and responsibilities on a daily basis. In order to deal with these and find a good balance between business and private life, Pedro tries to enjoy life to the fullest. With the help of his wife, he enjoys the little things and recharges his personal batteries from the harmony in his family. He likes travelling to different places and exploring new regions. But he also enjoys being in Tarragona and discovering all the historic aspects of the city. Or, when the weather is bad, following his love for science fiction. Looking forward, he would like to achieve or discover his very personal “Ikigai” – the reason for being and the things you live for.

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