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Interview

Zvetanka Nestorova, Chemical Engineer

Miss Nestorova, you have been working with asma Polyurethane, Weitra, for more than a quarter of a century now. In your opinion, what is the secret to success in terms of corporate culture in general and in the field of research and development in particular?

Research and development is always a colloborative process. It is always our top priority to work professionally in all areas and at all levels. We strive to comply with the customer’s requirements and to implement innovative solutions to respond to market trends. To that end, we adhere to a number of key principles to guarantee the successful implementation of new solutions.

What are these key principles?

Research and development is always customer-oriented. In addition to this focus, it is essential to set achievable goals and to strive for efficiency throughout the complete process.

Research and development is inextricably linked with problem solving. In your opinion, what defines an optimal solution?

It is crucial to keep cool and to focus on the goal. And you have to ask yourself: do we have sufficient resources to achieve the goal, and how can we meet the challenge within the company’s capabilities? It is not just machines and equipment, but human beings as well as different opinions and approaches.

You said that research and development is always a collective process. How would you describe the collaborative working style at asma?

Each team member has a particular task but it is the way we work together and trust each other that leads to success. We also seek to break down the culture of internal competition or even rivalry and promote the development of mutual trust within the team, among all colleagues in the company and also with our customers and suppliers. Each process is based on mutual esteem and confidence. We not only benefit from the knowledge of others but also vice versa.

Can you describe the processes, standards and systems? Is there a specific scheme?

Here too we broke new ground and, in doing so, have earned a good reputation within the market. We took the industry standards and transformed them into our own systems by refining them with our special know-how. Everything happens for a reason. In general, the process is as follows:

Contact with the customer – project specification – definition of materials – objective and scientific discussion about solutions – development of the optimal formulation – production of a sample – evaluation by the customer. Some of the projects and products are really long-term. One example is the Hyperloop-Project at the Technical University of Munich for Elon Musk’s competition, which has been running for quite a long time. Over the years we have delivered vast quantities of wheels to the university’s research centre.

What is your personal summary?

It is very important that we use a disciplined approach throughout the development process to achieve our goals. Eevery single link in the production chain is part of our success from the development of a concept to the final touch. Everything we do and have done in the past is a perfect basis for the future.

My job is versatile and very interesting – I love it!

The workers say: “Zvetti, you are the best caster!”