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TMC employeneurs quickly up to speed at Thermo Fisher Scientific

Thermo Fisher Scientific's biggest site in The Netherlands is in Eindhoven, TMC’s hometown. An excellent environment for TMC employeneurs to thrive. Especially within the R&D department, where Miriam Sandberg has made a soft landing, thanks to the long term relationship between Thermo Fisher Scientific and TMC. Paul Nollen, Development Support Manager: ‘We collaborate closely with TMC, because we want the best engineers, and we need them to be up to speed as quickly as possible.’

Thermo Fisher Scientific works on life science solutions, diagnostic equipment, laboratory products and analytical instruments. This last category consists of complex products, which are Thermo Fisher Scientific Eindhoven’s core business. Microscopes, in particular. Not the average high-school desktop microscope, but electron microscopes: big cabinets of up to almost four meters high, packed with advanced technology. They are used in life sciences but also in materials science and semiconductor production.

Complex products, non-standard requests

Within Thermo Fisher Scientific's R&D department, Paul supervises a team that handles ‘non-standard requests’. Paul: ‘These customer requests deviate from our standard products. Some of them are fairly straightforward. Others are much more complex. Miriam works on these complex requests.’

In fact, three out of the five project leads that coordinate non-standard requests are TMC employeneurs. They all work in close collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific colleagues in various departments. Miriam: ‘I think I am quite good at connecting with other people fast. So within a few weeks I got to know my close colleagues, and discovered the loose ends in my projects. Besides that, I'm a checklist lover. I make lists for everything. In my role, officially called New Product Introduction coordinator, this is very useful, because there are so many parallel things going on.’

Entrepreneurial attitude

‘Miriam describes exactly what I expect from TMC employeneurs’, Paul adds. ‘It’s important that they are eager to learn. They should have some experience in running projects and have the ability to connect people and get people going. They need to make sure that things are organized and keep an overview. Above all, they have to have an entrepreneurial attitude. I’m not there to hold their hand and show them where to find a colleague’s office or guide them to the factory. I show the most important things once. After that I expect everyone to go their own way and be comfortable with this. All I ask is: can I help you? In my experience, TMC employeneurs possess precisely the right qualities.’

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Thermo Fisher Scientific for dummies

‘What really helped’, Miriam continues, ‘is a kind of ‘Thermo Fisher Scientific for dummies’ document that I received. TMC and Thermo Fisher Scientific created this document together. It introduces how the electron microscopes work and their different parts. There was an abbreviations list and a map of the whole facility. So before I started, I already had a good idea of what I could expect.’

This way of working is a result of the long lasting relationship between Thermo Fisher Scientific and TMC. ‘We collaborate closely with TMC, because we want the best engineers, and we need them to be up to speed fast’, Paul explains. ‘This has to do with the fact that non-standard requests sometimes result in an order, but not always. So we can foresee a big part of the upcoming projects, but not all of them. This means that we need to operate in a very versatile way. Our partnership with TMC gives us a flexible shell that allows us to act fast when big amounts of work is coming our way.’

Flexible roles

Flexibility is also key for TMC employeneurs during their time at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Besides her job as coordinator of non-standard requests, Miriam has been asked to join a project team that develops an upgrade of one of the microscope modules. This is equally exciting, she says. ‘It involves a lot of stakeholder management and communication. What's the plan? Which suppliers, customers, operations colleagues and even service engineers need to be involved? How many modules do we have available? When are they going to customers for beta testing? And what I really like is that sometimes it really isn’t rocket science. I am a doer, so if I have to put something on a trolley and walk it to the factory, I still feel that as a useful contribution to the project. On many levels, I am the main connection between the factory and R&D.’

Honesty goes a long way

In Miriam’s case, she was the right person at the right place to fill a position that happened to open up. Paul: ‘But sometimes, matches are not as good as expected. We will always be honest about this. To ourselves, to TMC and to the TMC employeneur. When I see that somebody is not totally happy, we will look for a better position within Thermo Fisher Scientific, or maybe we come to the conclusion that another company may be a better fit. TMC knows this, and will always help us in finding the right solution. As in all long term relationships, honesty plays a big role.’

*Photo (header) taken by Peter van der Wielen*

Want to know more? Please reach out to:

Maarten Guns

Director New Product Introduction, Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)6 54 23 51 31

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