"Jenoptik offers you the opportunity to do something you can be proud of."
Dr. Tim Baldsiefen goes to Asia for Jenoptik. As head of development there he will establish a research and development department for fastidious optical systems.
Division: Light & Optics
Position: Developer, Head of the Optics Design Competence Group
Employed at Jenoptik since: 2012
What were you doing before you joined Jenoptik?
I was employed at the Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics in Halle. I completed my doctorate in theoretical quantum physics and worked as a scientific assistant.
How did you come to Jenoptik?
Over time, the academic field of work has become a bit too one-sided for me. I wanted to be more versatile, work with people from different fields and also be able to produce real results and products. I applied to Jenoptik as an optical designer and was immediately invited for an interview. I was impressed by the high level of competence and the natural, down-to-earth nature of the colleagues. As it turned out later, Jenoptik has a high degree of ambition, collegiality and identification among the developers.
What do you like about your work?
The tasks of an optical designer have a high analytical standard and a certain clarity. By this I mean that no optical design can be beautifully spoken. That's physics and it is working or it is not working. We are a group with high quality standards, excellent teamwork and clear goals. I particularly enjoy working with colleagues from other areas. And I like the fact that you can also make a difference and create new skills for the whole company. That is my motivation.
You will soon be going to Asia, where exactly?
I'm going to Shanghai.
Why are you going to Shanghai for Jenoptik?
In China we want to set up a research and development department for fastidious optical systems and my job will be that of head of development.
What exactly does this task mean?
Jenoptik has proclaimed a new strategy through CEO Stefan Traeger: "More Innovation", "More International", "More Focus". In this sense it is our goal that the department in Shanghai will be an independent company in a few years' time, such as the Jenoptik locations in Florida and Alabama. We have to build up local expertise and, above all, ensure that it can be maintained there. The best way to achieve this is through continuous growth, both in sales and in competence and demand. So we will hire and train personnel, build infrastructure, develop partnerships, create a supplier network and, of course, make processes as efficient as possible. In addition, we will also enter product development quite soon. But since we are starting almost from scratch, this will only be possible in cooperation with other Jenoptik divisions.
How did the idea for the project come about?
As a systems engineer in the laser materials processing sector and technical product manager I have already been to Asia several times. And when I sat with a Chinese sales colleague in Shanghai over a rice wine in the spring of 2018, the idea was born. We both had the feeling that we could do much more in China. The market in China is developing in favor of Jenoptik. On the one hand, the technological requirements for optical systems are increasing, but customers are also increasingly willing to pay for this quality. However, strong and effective market access requires local research and development expertise. This task seemed attractive to me. Back in Germany, I conceived and calculated it exactly. Mr. Kuschnereit, head of the Light & Optics division, supported the idea and joined the Jenoptik restructuring process. From the original proposal to build a special competence on a limited product area, the decision finally grew to set up a complete research and development department for the "Semiconductor & Advanced Manufacturing" division in Shanghai.
How long will you be in Asia?
The contract is initially valid for two years. But I would like to stay longer. I don't think that the tasks will be completed within two years. Research and development is the core of optical technology. If you want to be good in the long term, you need at least five years.
Who will you be working with?
Around 100 colleagues from various divisions and areas work at Jenoptik's Shanghai location. I think holistically, after all we all work at Jenoptik and should use the opportunity for a sovereign, effective and efficient cooperation. And we will also be hiring further employees, who I will train for the special requirements in optical system development.
What will be the first thing you do when you arrive in Asia?
First of all, I will supervise a new colleague in his training. Then I will visit key customers and partners together with the team to define a new product.
How do you prepare personally for the stay abroad?
I get 13 vaccinations and learn Chinese. Besides, it's not the first time I've been to Asia. On my last visit, I took the subway to my possible way to work, did some shopping in supermarkets and used taxis. That will work. After all, 25 million people live there and they get along.
What advice do you have for future Jenoptik employees?
We are a hightech company and if we did exactly what everyone else does here, we wouldn't be any better than them. By this I mean that, in addition to the highest level of professional competence, individualism, heterogeneity and, in a certain sense, excitement make very good quality possible. You work together with many competent people from different fields. There are often different opinions that need to be taken into account. It is important that the knowledge is combined and that the work is enjoyable. Jenoptik offers you the opportunity to do something you can be proud of.