(Almost) unique among the Japanese

Times change: Why the demand has shifted from all-rounders to specialists


“When I started working at Nabtesco (then Teijin Seiki) 25 years ago, there were exactly six employees – two Germans and four Japanese. Although I am familiar with several Asian mentalities and consider myself a flexible human being, it took a while for me to fit into the Japanese organisation and mindset. The atmosphere in an office dominated by Japanese is very different, after all.

As a German-speaking employee I was a “maid-of-all-work”, so I learned a lot and was able to develop. Soon I assumed responsibility for diverse administrative and organisational tasks, human resources, accounting, and technical and IT issues, and supported the Japanese management. 

When one considers that for many years I was “the department” on my own, much has changed. Within five years of the relocation in 2014, the number of employees more than doubled. That brought many changes and made it necessary to create new structures. Nabtesco has become an enterprise with defined departments and more distinct areas of responsibility. While we sought flexible all-rounders in the past (which were few and far between), today Nabtesco needs specialists. 

In more than 25 years, of course, one has many peculiar experiences. One example was the attempt to lift a 120 kg gearbox onto a pallet without auxiliary equipment. We were successful, but the pallet was not strong enough, and after all our efforts it simply collapsed. Or the inept trainee who was unable to line up the holes punched in a stack of papers for filing, etc. etc.

My wish for Nabtesco is that the company can maintain and develop its market position with new developments, ideas and innovations. I also wish Nabtesco a team of employees who are always motivated and willing to help each other.”

Angelika Kwee, Head of Administration
At Nabtesco since October 1996