Jan Erik Ploog, Continuous Improvement (CI) Engineer
From theory to practice. And back to theory again. Sometimes you don't realise where your passion lies until after your training and in your job. Like dairy technologist Jan-Erik Ploog.

Hello. What is your name, how old are you and what is your function at DMK?

I am Jan-Erik Ploog, 27 years old and have been working as a Continuous Improvement (CI) Engineer at the Hohenwestedt plant since November 2021.

How did you end up at DMK?

In 2013, I left the Gymnasium after the 10th grade with a Realschule certificate and started my training as a dairy technologist at DMK. For me, the only thing that was clear at the time was that I wanted to work in practice. I already had a lot of contact with the DMK Group through my family and so I simply applied at that time.

You changed your mind after your successful vocational training, though, didn't you?

Yes, because after completing my training and spending some time in drying, I wanted to go in a different direction. When I decided to leave school, I actually wanted to leave theory behind. But through the training and after my first years of work, I found my passion here and also wanted to take on long-term responsibility in this area.

What happened next?

I then completed a part-time master craftsman course in Oldenburg. And I received a lot of support, especially from my colleagues. This ranged from the plant management to the works council, the department management and the plant colleagues. For example, they took on the extra work that arose due to my absence during the course and in some cases even postponed their annual leave. I am incredibly grateful for that.

Your efforts have paid off: you were already a team leader in your younger years and are now a Continuous Improvement (CI) Engineer. How did that come about?

I simply wanted to take on more responsibility. When I saw the job advertisement for the position of Team Leader Operations Room & Butter Room, I applied and got the job. I was 23 years old at the time. Two years later, the position of Continuous Improvement (CI) Engineer was advertised in our factory. Continuous Improvement means continuous improvement. The CI culture implies that improvements or problem solutions are no longer handled by a small circle of people. Instead, this is done more transparently and with the help of the competences of all employees concerned. This approach fascinated me. I found the idea of involving the know-how of the employees more in the day-to-day business very exciting and therefore applied for the job. I see CI as an opportunity for personal development. And I enjoy showing people something and when they get added value from it, I'm very happy. 

My professional goal is to become a plant manager one day. But there will be a few more stations in between, so that I can expand my wealth of experience and think outside the box. I want to collect good stops along the way so that I am really ready for such a challenge.

Would you advise young people to do an apprenticeship at DMK?

Yes, definitely! I was always accompanied on my way and treated fairly. If you need help and support in your career, e.g. with further training, you also get it and are supported.