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Job portraits

Get to know us better

Which paths lead to the DURAG GROUP? What makes us special? What does the working day look like? We asked these and other questions to some employees from different positions and areas. In our job portraits you can learn more about the people behind the DURAG GROUP.

Jacqueline Tavares Guimarães

Service/After Sales, DURAG BRASIL

São Paulo, March 2024 - 32 year-old Jacqueline Tavares Guimarães from São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, works in after sales and service at DURAG BRASIL. The independent company is the regional sales office of the DURAG GROUP in Brazil. In this first interview of our new series “DURAG GROUP Around The World”, she talks about her beginnings at the company, which was then known as DURAG Siena and looks into the future with us.

Jacqueline Tavares Guimarães

Jacqueline, what is your job with us, how did you come to the DURAG GROUP and how long have you been with us? 

I started as a Sales Assistant in the commercial department at DURAG BRASIL in mid-July 2014, when it was still called DURAG Siena. I currently work in After Sales and Service, where I coordinate the local service activities. 

What highlights do you particularly remember from this time?

I particularly remember two training days that we held for our sales partners some years ago. Not only did we gain additional valuable insights into our overall product portfolio, but we also got to know our partners better - an excellent basis for further cooperation. In addition, I also have fond memories of the 2014 World Cup when I watched the Germany vs. Brazil game with my colleagues. It was fun to cheer and get mad when our team lost, we spent a lot of time together during this World Cup in our home country. And a third highlight: we now organize “Churrasco” or BBQ in a restaurant to celebrate reaching a sales target. Furthermore, the “DURAG Academy” learning platform is a great way to expand our knowledge, and the access to the head office with tools such as Teams or CRM makes our collaboration very effective.

Can you give us some information on the location and size of DURAG BRASIL? How has it developed and what were the challenges?

The branch is located in São Paulo, Diadema City. From here, the company operates throughout Brazil as DURAG BRASIL, supported by sales partners and as part of the international DURAG GROUP. Since the DURAG GROUP entered the Brazilian market, the company has developed steadily. To date, we have had to deal with several economic crises in Brazil, but especially in the last two years, we have been able to significantly increase the sales of DURAG GROUP products. Since 2022 the company operates under the new name DURAG BRASIL.

Are there any content or regional focuses and challenges?

Personally, it was a big challenge to start in an area where I had little prior knowledge. But I like to learn myself and I also enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience directly with my colleagues After all, an introduction to the company's processes is also important for new team members so that they know how to approach their tasks. In my new role in After Sales and Service, there are also many new challenges and things to learn. However, I particularly enjoy supporting my team and growing together with them.

How would you describe your corporate culture and what would you personally wish for the location?

In a constantly evolving working environment, respectful interaction and teamwork are fundamental aspects of our day-to-day business. Due to the size of our team of ten, we are able to gain experience in a wide variety of areas, but we also have to share our knowledge efficiently so that all processes run smoothly. I hope that this respectful and result-orientated cooperation - hand in hand - will continue in the future at DURAG BRASIL.

Matthias Schultz

Deputy Head of mechanics department DURAG GROUP, Hamburg

Hamburg, March 2024 - Matthias Schultz is the Deputy Head of mechanics department at DURAG GROUP. The 37-year-old started with us as a cutting machine operator in 2010 and has since experienced the change in production at first hand. Read more about the automation and digitalization process at DURAG GROUP here. 

Matthias Schultz

Automation and digitalization of metal cutting: From bar loader to high-tech machine 

In 2010, Matthias Schultz's first year at the DURAG GROUP, there was already an automation solution: a bar loader was used to load the relevant material into a CNC lathe. Since then, however, a lot has happened in his field of work. For the past three years, a robotic pick-and-place machine has also been used in production: sawing sections are automatically loaded and unloaded in its turning center. Matthias Schultz looks with us at the DURAG GROUP's path to more digitalization and efficiency.

Schultz started in 2010 as a cutting machine operator in the DURAG GROUP's production department at the Hamburg site as part of a temporary employment agency; after a year, he was hired permanently. In 2023, he took over the position of trainer and, since the same year, he has been deputy head of the mechanics department, where he works with a team of 21 colleagues.

Technical progress has changed his everyday work: "I used to literally stand at the machine all day to load and unload workpieces." In his early days at the DURAG GROUP, components were usually produced on several machines. After drilling, it was off to the milling machine to insert holes or threads, for example.

Highly modern machines for greater efficiency

In the recent past, the company has invested in high-tech equipment that can do both: turning and milling. "Today, a single machine is set up and the robot's workpiece storage is loaded, followed by the complete machining of the components," says Matthias Schultz. Immediately after setup, the person responsible has enough time to devote to other important activities in the production process. "In this way, we save at least one work step and have been able to reduce the time per production order," says the Hamburg native. "From 2020, the year before automation, to 2022, we were able to increase the system's productive time by 57%."

Currently, two of the nine CNC lathes and milling machines in the cutting department enable six-sided complete machining. They work independently and without manpower for a second shift. "A raw part is inserted and a finished workpiece comes out at the end," explains Schultz. The automatic loading of the workpieces also guarantees significantly higher repetition accuracy and precision during the clamping process.

The existing NC program of the processing machine works very simply. It is controlled by numerical instructions and carries out very precise movements and work steps. "Eight parameters have to be entered on the robot in advance. The jaws are then changed and the robot is ready for use. It feels more difficult to use a smartphone," says Matthias Schultz with a twinkle in his eye. Before the robot was introduced, only a two-day training course was required.

Automation, digitalization – and soon AI as well

Particularly with regard to certain parts, automation at the DURAG GROUP is a success story in his eyes. "The components used to be delivered fully machined by the foundry," recalls Schultz. "However, due to bottlenecks during the COVID-19 pandemic, our supplier was only able to deliver the raw parts. So we machined the parts directly on our premises." Thanks to the automated system, production was able to run for almost 24 hours.

"Automation and digitalization are becoming increasingly important in order to remain competitive," says Schultz. "AI is also not that far away in the manufacturing sector." Highly qualified employees who stand at the machine all day, however, will no longer exist. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, there is no way around more automation and digitalization. On the one hand, employees need to be relieved of simple tasks so that they can focus exclusively on complex activities that match their qualifications. On the other hand, higher utilization of the processing machines means greater efficiency.

The 37-year-old is confident about the future of his area of work: "Here at the DURAG GROUP, we have successfully taken the first steps in the right direction. I firmly believe that we will continue on this course. I am convinced that the acquisition of new CNC processing machines will not be possible without automation solutions. And with regard to the digitalization of production, I still see potential for us.". 

Verena Buchem

PEM Product Portfolio Manager DURAG GROUP, Hamburg location

On the occasion of the International Women's Day on March 8, we talked to Verena Buchem. She has been with the company since 2018 and is experiencing how more and more women are taking on team leadership and department management positions. She herself is currently Product Portfolio Manager for the PEM business area. The 37-year-old mother of a son talks about her own career at the DURAG GROUP and talks to us about a business world in transition, towards more equal rights for women.

Verena Buchem

Verena, International Women's Day has been celebrated on March 8 for around 100 years and is not least about equality in the workplace. How do you personally experience the changing role of women in the business world?

After completing my degree in biotechnology & process engineering, I worked in a mechanical engineering company. Unfortunately, it was still taken for granted that I, as a woman, wrote the notes in meetings. And verbal discrimination had to be accepted "because that's just the way it is". Today, I'm noticing a big change: more and more people recognize sexism when they see or hear it. And they dare to address it openly in the respective situation, which is a great development. Nevertheless, it is women rather than men who notice such things. I am convinced that we need more male advocates who develop a sensitivity for feminist issues. We must not forget that corporate cultures around the world are male-dominated. Women have only been allowed to vote in Germany for around 100 years. We women have only had equal rights before the law for just under 65 years. And we have only been allowed to decide for ourselves whether and what we work for 47 years. Against this background, the status quo is not surprising. It is now up to us and our male colleagues to create a new culture.

How far does the DURAG GROUP ensure equal opportunities for female employees and how has the number of female employees developed over the years?

I have only been with the company since 2018, but I have noticed a change; there are more women in team management and department management positions than six years ago. Nevertheless, women are still more likely to be found in commercial, HR or marketing roles. However, this is not due to the DURAG GROUP, but to our fundamental social norms and conventions. Regardless of gender, the DURAG GROUP offers development opportunities to all employees. However, I think there is still potential for more educational work, programs and initiatives on the subject of diversity, an equal corporate culture and equality.

What exactly is your role at the DURAG GROUP?

I started in April 2018 as Product Manager for our total mercury analyzer. I was subsequently responsible for other products in the PEM portfolio. Then I became mother of a son and since returning from parental leave in April 2022, I have been working as a Product Portfolio Manager for the entire PEM area. Since February 2023, I have been supporting PEM Product Management and Technical Documentation in a restructuring process.

What highlights do you particularly remember?

My role gives me the privilege of working all over the world. International conferences, customer visits and meeting our long-standing sales teams and global partner network inspire me. The diversity of people, characters and cultures gives me new inspiration every time; every encounter, every experience contributes to my personal development. I am very grateful for the opportunity to experience this.

Do you have any impact on the younger generations of women at the DURAG GROUP and what do you wish for future female employees in the company?

We have great young women here. And one of the roles I have chosen for myself is to be a role model for future generations (laughs), but women or men are honestly of secondary importance. I hope that my way of dealing with people and my way of working will be motivating in a positive sense. If I've inspired just one woman to "stand her ground" in the last few years, then I've already achieved a lot. But one thing is certain, women need to support, encourage and challenge each other. We will perhaps always be in the minority in our industry. We therefore need to actively celebrate our skills, our values and, last but not least, our femininity in order to make the best decisions and thus improve cooperation in the long term. I would like future generations of women in the company to be aware that women who choose our industry have a special fighting spirit from the outset. We don't have to adapt to the masculine corporate culture; we are exactly as good as we are. This allows us to contribute huge added value to the company's success.

Stefan Kägi

Human Resources Administrator, DURAG Holding AG, Hamburg location

DURAG milestones:

  • 2005: Start of apprenticeship as industrial clerk 
  • 2008: Completion of apprenticeship, work in financial accounting department
  • 2009: Trainer for industrial clerks at the Hamburg location
  • 2020: Move from financial accounting to human resources management
  • Since 2021: Trainer for student trainees

Stefan’s career at DURAG GROUP started in 2005 with an apprenticeship as industrial clerk, which he completed successfully in 2008. After several years in financial accounting, he moved to the human resources department in 2020. He took most of his previous responsibilities with him, but was able to devote more attention to the next generation of professionals than before. You can read here why the topic of training is particularly close to his heart and what makes DURAG GROUP so appealing to him.

Stefan Kägi im Treppenhaus der DURAG GROUP in Hamburg

How did it come about that you applied to DURAG GROUP?

"I had already completed a first apprenticeship as an energy electronics technician at Beiersdorf, but found that it wasn’t the right fit for me there. While looking for a second apprenticeship, I came across a job ad for DURAG GROUP. The medium-sized company size and the short distances between departments immediately appealed to me, based on my impressions at Beiersdorf."

What are your main activities and which of them do you particularly enjoy?

"I look after our trainees, the interns, and the topics of time management and vehicle fleet. I’m also a trainer for our industrial clerks, including those who are also studying. I particularly enjoy the role of trainer. I get to work with mostly young people and give them the opportunity to learn their occupation of choice, to make the most of themselves later in their career and to continuously develop themselves on the basis of their training."

You have been training the next generation of DURAG GROUP employees since 2009. What exactly appeals to you about your job as a trainer?

“Working with young trainees, providing assistance, discussing worries and needs in some cases and coming to a good result in the process – that’s the beauty of my job. I’m also involved in organizing inter-year and inter-training gatherings such as the induction week, team-building activities, project weeks and Girls & Boys Day. These are exciting and important events for our apprentice industrial clerks, electronics technicians and machining mechanics, but it’s also an important and intensive time for us trainers.” 

Were there any experiences or projects during your time at DURAG GROUP that particularly impressed you?

“Two examples come to mind. I think the early recognition of potential in trainees is tremendous. In my time as a trainer, there were many such cases. With one of our trainees, we already knew in her first year of training what position she could fill after her training. After consulting with her, the open position was taken care of internally for a year and a half and kept open for her. The apprentice naturally moved into this challenging position after her apprenticeship and also progressed from there step by step. 

Another example is how the employees deal with new developments. DURAG GROUP has evolved continuously. On the way to becoming a modern company, it was often necessary to introduce new software and ERP systems. These new systems were supported by the open and broad-minded nature of my colleagues and implemented quickly with a lot of work, diligence and commitment. This attitude – of being open to new things – has always surprised me in a positive way.” 

What distinguishes DURAG GROUP from other employers you have known?

“I find the pleasant size of the company positive, and also the nice sense of togetherness and the shared events. The chances of promotion – with the right qualifications – are significantly higher than at other companies. And of course the training is of a very high standard. We see ourselves as being on an equal footing with our trainees even during their training.”

Andreas Bauer

Head of the Electronic Series Production and Repairs department, DURAG GmbH, Hamburg location

DURAG milestones:

  • 1979: Start of training as an electronics technician for precision engineering
  • 1983: Taken on as technician after apprenticeship 
  • 1987: Head of Flame department (electronic single part production, combustion technology)
  • 2015: Head of Electronic Series Production department
  • 2019: 40th company anniversary
  • 2020: Head of Repairs department

Andreas started his apprenticeship as an electronics technician for precision engineering at the DURAG GROUP in 1979 and has now been with the company for over 40 years. After completing his apprenticeship, he was taken on as a technician and subsequently rose to the position of department manager for electronic series production and repairs. Read here about the milestones in his career and the challenges and highlights of his daily working life.

What were the most important milestones in your career?

“Back then, today’s apprenticeship as an electronics technician for devices and systems was offered in two steps, with your apprenticeship as a mechanic followed by training as an electronics technician.” And this is indeed the way Andreas chose to do it at the DURAG GROUP. After completing his training, he was taken on as a technician and just four years later, Andreas was made head of the Combustion Technology department. “As a young man of 25, that was a lot of responsibility to assume – but it was also formative for the future.”

2019, Andreas celebrated his 40th anniversary with the company: “If I hadn’t felt so comfortable here, well I wouldn’t have stayed on.”

What does your work consist of?

Andreas currently heads up both the Electronic Series Production department, which produces flame monitors and instrumentation for environmental metrology, and the Repairs department, where he is responsible for a team of 40: “When I see potential, I try to nurture it.”

His work includes ensuring that deadlines are met, administrative tasks and the monitoring of material stocks: “My job is to keep production running.” Andreas is also responsible for the continuous improvement and ongoing development of procedures and processes.

What developments have you seen during your time with the DURAG GROUP?

At the beginning, the DURAG GROUP was a medium-sized company with a focus on the German market. Thanks to technological progress, it is now possible to manufacture larger quantities and serve an international market. Compared to today’s possibilities, Andreas says the production of that time was like a “craft shop”.

“Even though change can create resistance, it’s good for a company as long as it becomes part of the culture.”

What are the challenges and highlights for you?

“Alongside training and taking on the running of the department, one of today’s highlights is that we can achieve unit quantities we didn’t even think were possible in the past.”

What makes the DURAG GROUP special for you?

“Every possible effort is made to respond to the needs of employees. I like the fact that the atmosphere has remained so friendly and informal despite the growth we have seen. The technology that goes into DURAG GROUP products is very interesting and innovative.

And last but not least, we build products for environmental protection – products you can stand behind!”