Johannes Müller-Guttenbrunn has been part of the MGG Polymers team since the first test runs in 2006. He knows the factory like the back of his hand. Today, he is a shift supervisor and proud to work in such a great team. In an interview, the 40-year-old reveals what his working day is like and what he particularly appreciates about his job.
Mr. Müller-Guttenbrunn, you have been working here at MGG Polymers for almost 20 years. What have you experienced during this time?
Johannes Müller-Guttenbrunn: At the very beginning, I had the opportunity to see Mike Biddle, the founder of MBA Polymers, in full action. He came to the factory early in the morning, day after day, put on his overalls in the locker room and worked with us to set up the machines. A very hands-on person, you could feel that he wanted to put his ideas into practice, and he did it successfully. A lot of innovation was required, especially in the first five years, because the plants first had to be adapted to our conditions and optimized. Looking back, a lot has happened since 2006.
That means progress is the be-all and end-all here?
Müller-Guttenbrunn: As I said, a lot has happened since the systems were commissioned. You can tell just by looking at the fact that one line is operated by one or two team members and no longer by four or five people. To achieve this level, the machines have been optimized and further developed over the years. This also improved the working conditions for the employees. For example, a few years ago we installed a bridge between two machines so that we don’t have to permanently climb down from one machine and up to the other. Any employee can make such suggestions for improvement. If anyone in the company has an idea for optimization, they can submit it to the Employee Suggestions Department. Because: We can only develop further together.
What has this further development meant for you personally?
Müller-Guttenbrunn: I have grown with my tasks. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know all the machines better and better. Today, I would even go so far as to say that I have seen every error message at least once. No malfunction can surprise me anymore. But above all, fixing these errors has made the teamwork with my colleagues even closer. When you solve problems together, you learn to know each other better as well.
Which tasks do you expect as a shift supervisor on a working day?
Müller-Guttenbrunn: Every day is different, and it is exactly this variety and the challenges that I really enjoy. As a shift supervisor, I’m more or less the pivotal point in production, where everything comes together. Another important point is the handovers between the shifts. Since 2021, we have been working in five shifts, which means that the transfer of information in particular has to work perfectly. There are organizational and technical activities, which makes my work area very broad! On top of that, there are also personal challenges within the team. And in this context, my secret weapon is patience – basically, there’s a solution for everything, as long as you communicate in a reasonable way.
So you definitely keep an overview of the big picture. What else do you appreciate about your work?
Müller-Guttenbrunn: Everything at MGG Polymers is in general very cooperative. I appreciate my team because despite the interpersonal challenges that come with being a team, we stick together. No matter what we are facing, we find a solution together. A very special moment was my birthday this year. My team surprised me with a 40th birthday banner in front of the office. That was something that had never happened before! It’s really great to know that you’re appreciated as a shift supervisor. There’s a wonderful sense of community throughout the company; it’s like being part of a big family.
Why do you enjoy working for the Müller-Guttenbrunn Group?
Müller-Guttenbrunn: For the young generation, the topics of sustainability and climate are very important. We at MGG think and act green, the environmental awareness is our biggest concern. That’s why we draw attention to the important issue of proper recycling in many ways. After all, at Polymers we do not produce any new plastic, but save huge amounts of CO2 by recycling so-called post-consumer plastics. This is an extremely effective and efficient approach to climate protection. This is also one of the reasons why working for us is so varied and exciting.
So, it’s important for you to work for a sustainable company. How do you deal with the topic of recycling at home?
Müller-Guttenbrunn: I’ve been separating waste quite consistently since I was a child. In our two households, for example, only half-full ton of residual waste is produced in two weeks. We really do separate everything that can be separated. In my private and professional life, recycling is a decisive factor. I am convinced that every individual can contribute to climate protection. And I also have many general ideas for improvement. Furthermore, I think that the local collection centers need to be made more accessible. If we look around the Amstetten area, not only is the number of collection centers too low, but the opening hours could also be expanded. Many people get annoyed because the waste disposal is not compatible with their daily work routine. It should be made as easy as possible for the population to recycle in a meaningful way.
Do you think more people would then pay attention to waste separation?
Müller-Guttenbrunn: I am absolutely convinced of that. Although we in Austria are among the global leaders in terms of recycling, there is still a lot of room for improvement. For example, a common set of rules for the collection centers would be a good first step. We could recycle a lot more if there was even better separation of waste.
Is there anything else you can and want to tell us about Johannes Müller-Guttenbrunn as a private person?
Müller-Guttenbrunn: In summer I like to play golf to relax from work, and in winter I head off to the ski slopes, provided the snow conditions allow it. My children also have great fun on the slopes! Besides that, there’s always something to do around the house and in the garden, and I do as much as I can by myself. If there is still time left over – which happens rather rarely – I also enjoy sitting around and relaxing.
We can see that you take a lot of joy in your work – we wish you all the best for the future!