Performance is continuously improved through preparation and training. That is something Walki's Plant Manager in Haarlem has learnt through his sailing.
As the Plant Manager for Walki BV in Haarlem, the Netherlands, Jan van den Brink looks after the day-to-day performance of the plant, with responsibility for everything from finance to safety, quality, costs and delivery. He says there is never a dull moment in his job, which involves working with a variety of different products and machines.
“The most important and satisfying part of my job is working with the team to help the company improve from year to year. We do this through information-sharing, constant learning and by involving everyone in improving our performance," he says.
Running an extruder line is a challenging affair.
“The extruder lines can only run if people have the right knowledge and willingness to be better. It’s crucial to prepare and have a clear view of how to start and run the machine. The key to success is having people who know their tasks and operate together as a team that’s in full control and willing to excel."
That same teamwork is important when sailing. You also need a winning mentality and have the willingness to invest a lot of practice time to reach the desired level to excel in both your work and sailing.
Jan’s most memorable sailing experience was when he participated in the world championships that were held in the Netherlands in 2015, sailing in his RS500 double-handed trapeze skiff.
“It was an incredibly intensive week, during which all my focus was on sailing – at exhilarating speeds and in high winds, as well as on days when there was almost no wind at all," he adds.
Van der Brink’s dream is to develop his skills in the musto skiff, an extremely sensitive one-person high performer in which you have to handle a gennaker sheet, mainsheet, trapeze hook and tiller with just two hands.
Out at sea van den Brink has experienced firsthand the changing state of the environment and the seas. “In my view, we need to find away to switch away from plastics in favour of bio-degradable materials. In the meantime we have to look for lighter, smarter solutions."
That is the reason why he finds his work at Walki so meaningful.
"We innovate and develop materials that produce less waste and support the circular economy."
By doing the right choices we can make a difference.
"The water quality in the Netherlands has actually improved", he says.