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Working globally: “I travel a lot, but the job makes it all worthwhile”

4 July 2019

Living in Australia, working in China, Dutch roots and visiting customers all over the world; international product developer and engineer manager Fred Wiekens is living proof of Rompa Group’s global footprint. Allow him to explain how he handles his international lifestyle and what this means for customers.

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Blue mountains Australia

Product developer in Australia

Five years ago, Fred moved from the Netherlands to Australia with his Australian wife. Although he feels right at home here – he lives near Sydney, just a stone’s throw away from the Blue Mountains – there is one professional challenge that Australia cannot offer: a career in the manufacturing industry. “My heart lies with product development. I love creating things together and getting products off the ground. However, Australia does not have many development agencies,” Fred explains. He made a name for himself at major international organisations, including Philips, before being approach by Rompa Group. They offered him a job in China as a product developer and engineer manager. He accepted, but did not give up his home near the Blue Mountains.

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Rompa Shunxing

Thinking along from start to finish

At least twice a month, Fred commutes between Australia and Rompa Shunxing. In China, Fred focuses on the future of Rompa Group. “Traditionally, Rompa is a production company. The customer asks and we create. That time is coming to an end, though. More and more customers ask us to also think along with them during the preliminary stages of development. If a customer wants a plastic product but all they have so far is an idea, that is no problem for us. We think along from start to finish: from the drawing board to the moment of shipping. With our experience and expertise, we can oversee the production process from beginning to end.”

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Full service in six steps

The process begins with our design and production development department, where the customer’s wishes and ideas are mapped out. Next, a design brief is drawn up, which outlines the requirements with regard to e.g. design, electronics and applications, as well as legal and environmental aspects. During step three, we create a prototype. To do this, we make use of e.g. mould flow and FEM simulations. Fred: “Seeing the prototypes for the very first time is always a special moment, especially for engineers. Your idea suddenly becomes tangible.” If the prototype is approved, the actual production process can begin. During this step, we add any electronic components and take care of the decoration. After production, we can assemble all plastic parts and components into semi-finished or finished products. That means we can take over our customers’ entire supply chain. We can do so in Europe, China or anywhere else, since we have production and assembly facilities on almost every continent. Lastly, we also think along about logistical solutions for the product’s distribution.

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Customer contact in different time zones

Working globally takes some effort, especially when it comes to communicating with customers half a world away. “That is why Rompa Group is very flexible in its customer contact. We do our best to think along and offer custom solutions. We use Skype, WhatsApp and the trusty telephone, but sometimes the best way to get things done is by sitting in a room together for two days, so we will visit our customers in person if the situation calls for it,” Fred explains. Even if that means traveling from Australia or China all the way to the US. “The time difference can make communication difficult, especially when you are dealing with differences of up to fourteen hours. I regularly have to be available late at night or early in the morning. On the other hand, that is part of the appeal of an international organisation.” It did not take Fred long to get used to working globally. “Not the flying, though. I always fly at night because that is more efficient, but I never sleep a wink on the plane. I did get used to the travel times. I travel a lot, but the job makes it all worthwhile,” Fred laughs.

Limitless possibilities

Would you like to know more about how Rompa Group can help you with the development of a plastic product? The possibilities are limitless! Feel free to contact us for more information.