Brigitte Heiden has been taking care of a wide variety of logistics issues at the MGG Polymers plant for many years. For the traditional MGG relay interview, in which an employee of the Müller-Guttenbrunn Group is introduced, she exceptionally leaves work for a few minutes and talks about her everyday working life.
Ms. Heiden, you have now been with MGG Polymers for ten years. How did you join the company?
BRIGITTE HEIDEN: It was pure chance that I ended up here. A friend of mine applied for the job here at the time. However, she only wanted a part-time job, which was not possible here. She called me and said this would be just right for me. I was just at Sonntagberg in the basilica. Normally I always have my cell phone turned off when I’m there – but there I had forgotten it. I drove here the same day, introduced myself and two days later I started working here.
What did you do for a living before that?
HEIDEN: I started working at Böhler right after finishing business school. I worked there for 20 years in the drawing office or in distribution. After that, I looked around for a full-time job, which I then found in the sawmill at Mayr-Melnhof. The work there was very varied and I always enjoyed it – and finally I ended up here at MGG Polymers. So three different materials – metal, wood and plastic – have accompanied me through my professional life.
Here at MGG Polymers you are responsible for logistics. What tasks do you expect here every day?
HEIDEN: I take care of incoming goods – in our case, WEEE material, i.e. material from waste electrical and electronic equipment. This involves handling the trucks and taking care of the paperwork and official processing. Proper handling is particularly important when it comes to the professional disposal of residual materials. Absolutely no mistakes should happen! However, this is not always easy, as we are dependent on the disposal companies here. From an operational point of view, it is of course important that there is no major backlog – whether of trucks, delivery materials, finished products or the residual materials to be disposed of.
HEIDEN: Every day in the morning, deliveries and waste disposal are coordinated with the production manager and the shift supervisor. In addition, the employees always like to come in to see us. Additional to my boss, three other colleagues sit in the office with me – there’s always a lot of fun. There are also some external people – not just the truck drivers, but also the mail and parcel delivery staff. All external companies that carry out work for us, as well as various representatives or other visitors, have to register with me in logistics when they enter the company for fire safety reasons. In some moments, you really have to be stress-resistant when everyone wants something at once and the phone is ringing too. In addition, many of the drivers don’t speak German – so they have to communicate with their hands, feet and the Google translator. So if you want a quiet job, you are definitely wrong here! However, I really enjoy my work and therefore I am not easily upset by anything. You develop a certain talent for multitasking!
HEIDEN: I’m always in the office by 6:15 a.m. and try to have a coffee in peace, which doesn’t always work out because the first trucks are often already there. My official start of work is at half past six, by then at the latest it starts lively. I send the first trucks to unload, prepare the freight documents, and send documents to the authorities. In the course of the day, I also make a round once in a while to make sure myself how things are going with the material stock. Sometimes I also get an inspection visit from the customs authorities when a delivery is being checked – I certainly don’t get bored.
What are the biggest challenges you face during a typical working day?
HEIDEN: The challenge is to do everything precisely and correctly, despite the lack of rest. Invoices have to be checked, at the same time the delivery papers for disposal and raw material receipt have to be prepared, and you also have to keep an eye on the truck scales. If a truck stands on the scales for a minute, it is guaranteed to be honked – but you shouldn’t let yourself be disturbed. Not even if someone is grumpy and thinks they have to take out their anger on me. You can’t put up with everything, but you can’t just switch to stubbornness right away either, because in the end, cooperation is very important.
There’s always something going on. What makes your job so interesting for you personally?
HEIDEN: It is and always will be exciting because you meet so many different people. No day is like the other, improvisational skills are always in demand. I’ve always found it great here that I can do my work independently. It hardly ever happens that someone interferes. I also think it’s great that we are a very funny office. Our team has been working together for some time and we have a lot of fun. It’s a very young team, which also keeps me young – I will definitely miss my colleagues in retirement.
What exciting experiences will you remember when you retire at the end of the year?
HEIDEN: The interplay in the delivery hall was and is definitely exciting: Either it becomes so empty that you have to worry that there will soon be no more material for production. At other times, mountains of material pile up there again because one truck after the other arrives, and we don’t know where to put all the material. What I will definitely remember is a very special episode that was caused by a truck driver at our plant a few years ago: At that time, a truck was parked in front of the driveway the entire morning. When it was still there at noon, we knocked on the door and looked for the driver. Then we called the company, which also did not reach the driver. We were all worried and called the police. When the police arrived, the driver suddenly crawled out of his bunk and was completely asleep, wondering what was going on. Fortunately, he was only fast asleep.
Not only have you experienced episodes like this in the last decade, but you’ve also had three managing directors. What has changed in the process over time?
HEIDEN: What is immediately noticeable is the fact that space is becoming less and less and it is getting tighter and tighter. There is constant investment and modernization. One noticeable change was definitely that the Müller-Guttenbrunn Group took over the plant completely in 2017. The American style before that took a little getting used to for a Mostviertel woman like me. At Müller-Guttenbrunn, you notice that people count much more than in a huge corporation. That gives you a lot of security!
You briefly mentioned your retirement earlier – it will be in December. What will you miss most then?
HEIDEN: There may be people who are longing for retirement. I’m definitely not one of them; I’ve always enjoyed going to work. However, I will miss the regular daily routine and, above all, my work colleagues. I can hardly believe it’s really that far already – all those years of work have passed so incredibly quickly.
But there are certainly a lot of things you’ll be looking forward to…
HEIDEN: Yes, of course – above all I’m looking forward to having more time for my two grandchildren. I also enjoy hiking in the mountains, love music and dancing, and five years ago I took up archery. Hopefully there will be more time for that as well as for rock concerts, lectures or interesting courses. Maybe I’ll even take a balloon flight again, because I fulfilled that wish last year – and, as in life in general, it’s exciting to see where the wind takes you. So I’m guaranteed not to suffer a pension shock, that’s for sure!
Thank you very much for the interview. We wish you many more enjoyable months at work here at MGG Polymers and then all the best for your (un)retirement!