Interview Simone Bihler

Six questions to Simone Bihler

November 26, 2018

Even if this path was anything but planned for the chemical engineer: Simone Bihler has been involved in quality management since she joined Berghof in 2004. As Quality Management Officer of the Berghof Group, she also has been keeping all threads together since 2015 in the increasingly important topic of quality at Berghof Fluoroplastics – not only with great meticulousness and strong commitment, but also with a great deal of passion.

1. Your task at Berghof Fluoroplastics is structuring and optimizing plants, processes and systems. Cross my heart: Isn't it always the same - and your working day therefore quite monotonous?

No, quite the opposite. We have a very comprehensive understanding of quality management. It's not just about meeting standards. We’re working very hard to use our constantly expanding knowledge on the subject of quality management to continuously improve ourselves in this area as well – and to continually raise quality awareness at all levels. Honestly: I’ve never been bored with this task.

2. Are we correct in assuming you don't have to search long at home when you’re looking for something?

Yes, absolutely. I’m a very structured person and like to have everything neat and tidy, even in my private sphere. Whether job or private everyday life as a mother: It’s simply in my blood to keep an overview even in stressful situations and never lose sight of the big picture. That’s why I feel that the permanent task of understanding complex tasks quickly and organising them effectively is by no means a burden, but an attractive challenge.

3. What else helps you successfully complete your tasks?

Before I started as a quality management representative, I had already spent around ten years working for our subsidiary Berghof Membranes and was responsible for quality assurance in addition to production planning and the laboratory. So I know both sides of the coin, so to speak. Of course, this really helps me put theory into practice in a meaningful way.

4. The topic of quality management systems is actually still quite young. Yet it’s indispensable for every industrial company today. Why do you think that is?

Our world, and thus also the technical systems and solutions for which Berghof as a group in general and Berghof Fluoroplastics in particular stand for, is becoming increasingly complex. This simply requires clear rules and structures to ensure consistently high quality. Quality management systems have quickly proven to be the means of choice and are now an important standard. Certainly also because they tell companies exactly what they have to do – but deliberately leave the concrete implementation of this requirement open. Another important secret of success: The quality management systems, above all ISO certification, are constantly evolving so that we as Quality Management Officers can constantly adapt the concrete implementations in companies to the changing conditions. As I said before: Boredom? I don't know the word.

5. It's quite a complex job. What do you do in your free time to relax after a challenging day at work?

Yes, the tasks are always complex. But I have the best prerequisites at Berghof: I really have a free hand in my area and enjoy the trust of all contacts for quality issues in the individual business areas. Nevertheless, a balance to my work is of course very important to me. Whenever I can, I'm out in nature. And I like to do a lot of sports. Running, cycling, riding – and increasingly yoga too for some time now. The calm, almost meditative state is simply perfect for me as a counterbalance to my work.

6. Keyword complexity: As the automotive industry is one of the activity focuses of Berghof Fluoroplastics, they oriented the quality management on the international standard “IATF 16949:2016“ which was developed for this particular field. Which specific actions were necessary for that?

In the automotive industry there are particularly high requirements concerning the system and process quality. Therefore, the “International Automotive Task Force (IATF)“, in which all well-known European and American automotive manufacturers and associations joint forces, developed an own standard. As a basis there is the current version of the ISO standard “ISO 9001:2015”. However, the IATF standard also includes additional requirements that are specific for the automotive industry. Focal points of the “IATF 16949:2016“ are product safety, risk management and emergency planning as well as change and warranty management. Thereby, it represents an innovative standard that emphasizes strong customer orientation and considers numerous previous customer-specific requirements in consolidated form. In summary: Those who want to comply with the IATF standard, have to work flat out for making their products and production processes safer and more reliable; and this obviously also benefits Berghof Fluoroplastic’s customers from other industries.