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How does one become Head of Sales at Wilhelm Reuss? In the case of Björn Köhler, it is through ability, diligence, and from the outset, with commercial training in-house. “I started in 1994 as a trainee at Winsenia in Winsen at Luhe. When Winsenia was taken over by Wilhelm Reuss in 2003, I was able to move to the headquarters in Berlin,” he recalls. His current position as head of the sales team in the industrial business arose when his predecessor retired. As is typical at Wilhelm Reuss, a successor was initially sought internally, and Björn Köhler was the ideal candidate. First, after teaching, he had completed a degree in business administration and computer science in parallel with his work, and thus was qualified for more senior roles, and second, he loves to advise on and sell products.
“To make your own decisions and to be in direct contact with our customers is for me the salt in the soup during my work.” This is also absolutely necessary, as the distribution of fillings and glazes to industrial customers is a demanding aspect of the business. For example, if a call for tenders for a well-known brand is on the table, where complex negotiations, internal coordination, and an economic offer are all required, everything must be thought through and coordinated. But the work is to a large extent about communication. “I am in my element when I pick up the phone. I maintain an excellent relationship with my contacts. This, of course, also means that you know what their hobbies are and where they are going on their next holiday. This is simply a very pleasant way to work,” says Björn.
Who takes care that the nut-nougat cream tastes delicious and that glass after glass is perfectly filled? The answer is a new recruit from outside the company who, after training with Wilhelm Reuss, worked her way up within a year from machine operator to forewoman. This is an example of how opportunities for further development are not simply a pledge in a job advert, inserted because it reads well, but rather something to be taken seriously.
Beata Majewska controls and monitors the manufacturing process, from the raw material mixture to the correct formulation, from the filling to packaging. “I am the right hand of the shift manager and therefore the link between the shift manager and the employee. I have lovely colleagues, and the team spirit is really great,” says Beata. She did not begin her training with Wilhelm Reuss until she had turned 30, which is somewhat unusual for trainees – but she wanted a change. “Although I was originally from Berlin, I had lived in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia for a long time. I wanted to go back and re-start with training in the food industry, since I was very interested in food, eating, and cooking. The chemistry of Wilhelm Reuss struck a chord with me immediately. Three days after the interview, I received a job offer,” she recalls. She is particularly fascinated by the aspect of the work that means she can follow the process all the way to the end product, as well as by the fact that so many people consume the products every day. And which products should we try? “I think the chocolate cream with banana is great, and as a coffee drinker I can really recommend the coffee syrups – and our bio-spread is particularly close to my heart,” recommends Beata.
Is it possible to become a shift manager at the age of 26, even though your professional experience may not be extensive due to the length of time your studies have taken? At Wilhelm Reuss, this is possible if you are exceptionally talented. Michael Schwabe knows how to work hard – in his professional career and in his daily work.
During his studies, Michael, a food technologist, gained lots of practical experience working for one of the largest mustard producers in Germany. However, the Berliner was looking for more responsibility, ideally as shift manager. In 2010 he got the chance: He saw a standard job advertisement, which was listed at the employment office, and applied for it, as well as for other jobs throughout Germany.
Other potential employers considered him too young to be a shift manager, but Wilhelm Reuss’s team recognized his talent. Since then, he has been a layer manager for water-based masses with more than 60 recipes, such as fruity and classic dessert sauces, coffee syrups, and liquid sugar. “I am responsible for and control which products need to be manufactured so that they can be delivered on time,” says Michael. Every day, he creates a plan for this, which he passes on to his employees. “It is particularly nice that we all work together to ensure that a great product is finally achieved – and that process works very beautifully. And because product development and customer inquiries constantly bring in new product suggestions, it remains varied.” Nevertheless, he also has a few favorite products. “There are lots! For example, our fruit sauces are absolutely world-class, using 50 percent fruit.”