Behind the scenes: Kashif Bhatti gives insights into his double role at Siegwerk Backnang
Q: How did you find your way to Siegwerk?
A: By education, I’m a chemist with a master’s degree in polymer technology. I also completed an MBA to further enhance my strategic and leadership skills. My first job took me to BASF, where I started my career in the R&D department. Eager to expand my horizons, my next stop was a more commercial role at AkzoNobel. At RheinPerChemie GmbH, a subsidiary of the renowned company Evonik, I later became Managing Director & Commercial Manager EMEA before joining the Siegwerk family in November 2022. Thanks to a long friend of mine who did an internship at Siegwerk during his chemistry studies at the University of Bonn, I was already aware of the company and its field of activities for a long time before I finally came here. I am really proud of being part of the esteemed team here at Siegwerk.
Q: What’s your role about?
A: My role is actually quite diverse and unique within Siegwerk. I serve as the Managing Director for Siegwerk Backnang with its two operating sites in Backnang and Essen. Simultaneously, I am the site manager for the Backnang location and carry the responsibility of being the Regional Sales Director North for the business unit sheetfed. This dual function entails numerous tasks and responsibilities, but also a lot of variety, which appeals to both the chemist and the strategic leader in me. I am for example fully accountable for the P&L of Siegwerk Backnang and the management of budgets, resources and the whole financial performance. As leader of the subsidiary’s executive team, I am responsible for developing and implementing the right strategies and for overseeing the day-to-day operations – from ink blending, color matching and analysis lab to quality control, production planning and scheduling (QC/PPS). Besides, I manage the entire supply chain, which includes demand planning, purchasing, warehousing, distribution, and customer service. Moreover, I am also responsible for managing sales and technical service activities and for ensuring that all our business activities are compliant with relevant regulations.
Q: What are your goals in this position?
A: My primary concern is to improve the communication between the different functions and departments as a good exchange pays off in better efficiency and valuable synergies helping to reduce the gap between customer expectation and operation. Therefore, I am putting strong focus on operational excellence with a strategic approach to make the organization consistently the best amongst the competition, rather than focusing solely on continuous improvement.
Q: Looking back on your first half year at Siegwerk, what have you experienced so far?
A: In my role I am leading a team of 35 employees, so the first thing for me to do was to gain their trust as new supervisor. Therefore, I took the time at the beginning to get to know my new team members to better understand their expectations, their view on potential improvement and need for change as well as their individual development goals. So, it was all about to listen carefully to be able to develop a common basis for the future. One striking aspect I noticed is that the majority of employees have been with Siegwerk for 20-30 years, which speaks volumes about their satisfaction with the company and their roles. Witnessing such a strong team spirit and collective mindset has been immensely helpful as the new one in the team. As said, I come from the chemical industry, but the realm of ink and coatings was a new experience for me. The vast product diversity and complexity posed a definite challenge in the beginning. Thanks to the SAP retrofit project, I am currently working on, I was not only able to gain a deeper understanding of all the processes but also enabled the implementation of first improvements. The primary focus is on reducing complexity, particularly in our production recipes, while aligning them with our current production processes.
Q: What do you like most about working at Siegwerk?
A: As a family company, Siegwerk is highly focused on long-term strategies. I am having a great time working here and am entrusted with overseeing all aspects of the business, including purchasing, finance, production, supply chain, and sales. This holistic view provides me with valuable insights into the operations of Siegwerk and I am excited to see what the future holds. Especially the opportunity to play my part in making Siegwerk a circular economy solutions company keeps me motivated every day!
Interested to learn more about career opportunities with Siegwerk? Then have a look at the variety of roles and options available here