interview | Berghof Group

Six questions to Simone Bihler

September 14, 2018

Even if this path was anything but planned for the chemical engineer: Simone Bihler has been involved in quality management since she joined Berghof in 2004. As Quality Management Officer of the Berghof Group, she has been keeping all threads together since 2015 in the increasingly important topic of quality – not only with great meticulousness and strong commitment, but also with a great deal of passion.

1. They are exclusively concerned with structuring and optimising plants, processes and systems in the companies of the Berghof Group in the sense of the best possible quality assurance. Cross my heart: Isn't it always the same - and your working day therefore quite monotonous?

No, quite the opposite. Our group of companies is extremely diversified, and that's why these tasks always place new demands on me. We also have a very comprehensive understanding of quality management. It's not just about meeting standards. We’re working very hard to use our constantly expanding knowledge on the subject of quality management to continuously improve ourselves in this area as well – and to continually raise quality awareness at all levels. Honestly: I’ve never been bored with this task.    

2. Are we correct in assuming you don't have to search long at home when you’re looking for something?

Yes, absolutely. I’m a very structured person and like to have everything neat and tidy, even in my private sphere. Whether job or private everyday life as a mother: It’s simply in my blood to keep an overview even in stressful situations and never lose sight of the big picture. That’s why I feel that the permanent task of understanding complex tasks quickly and organising them effectively is by no means a burden, but an attractive challenge.    

3. What else helps you successfully complete your tasks?

Before I started as a quality management representative, I had already spent around ten years working for our subsidiary Berghof Membranes and was responsible for quality assurance in addition to production planning and the laboratory. So I know both sides of the coin, so to speak. Of course, this really helps me put theory into practice in a meaningful way.    

4. The topic of quality management is actually still quite young. Yet it’s indispensable for every industrial company today. Why do you think that is?

Our world, and thus also the technical systems and solutions for which Berghof stands as a group, is becoming increasingly complex. This simply requires clear rules and structures to ensure consistently high quality. Quality management systems have quickly proven to be the means of choice and are now an important standard. Certainly also because they tell companies exactly what they have to do – but deliberately leave the concrete implementation of this requirement open. Another important secret of success: The quality management systems, above all ISO certification, are constantly evolving so that we as Quality Management Officers can constantly adapt the concrete implementations in companies to the changing conditions. As I said before: Boredom? I don't know the word.    

5. It's quite a complex job. What do you do in your free time to relax after a challenging day at work?

Yes, the tasks are always complex. But I have the best prerequisites at Berghof: I really have a free hand in my area and enjoy the trust of all contacts for quality issues in the individual business areas. Nevertheless, a balance to my work is of course very important to me. Whenever I can, I'm out in nature. And I like to do a lot of sports. Running, cycling, riding – and increasingly yoga too for some time now. The calm, almost meditative state is simply perfect for me as a counterbalance to my work.    

6. Keyword: further development: This year, you recertified some Berghof divisions for the first time according to the latest ISO version “ISO 9001:2015”. Which changes to the standard did you notice as particularly positive?

There are numerous new aspects in the standard that I consider very important for the successful future of companies – for example the topics of risk and knowledge management. More importantly: This latest ISO revision redefines the responsibility for quality management. In future, it will no longer primarily be the Quality Management Officers who are responsible for the quality management system, but rather the Managing Directors. In my view, this will help us at Berghof to anchor the subject of quality management even more firmly in the minds of all our employees than it already is. After all, there’s nothing that can’t be improved.