Karen

Karen

Lean Sigma Master Black Belt (MBB)

Information Technology

"Creating a shift in mindset towards customer-centric thinking and living."

Karen is enjoying life in Geleen with her partner Chris, their son Siem and their daughter Tess. She likes to go out with her family and friends or bake delicious things. However, one specific time of the year is special to her: Karen loves the local Carnival celebration. In the second weekend of November (11-11), the Carnival season starts, and by then, she will already have met with her group of friends a few times over dinner and drinks to brainstorm about the theme for their handmade costumes.

Karen about her position at Medtronic

I am working as a Lean Sigma Master Black Belt (MBB) in the IT Shared Services EMEA organization (Europe, Middle East & Africa). In my role as an MBB, I support the organization in creating as much value as possible for our customers and patients. What I mean with that, is that it’s my mission to coach as many people as possible in continuously improving our processes. This can be:

  • helping teams in creating a strategy;
  • providing Lean Sigma training;
  • coaching teams in improving processes by tackling problems at the root cause;
  • challenging the status quo: why do or don’t we do certain things?

Karen’s education and career path

I joined Medtronic almost 12 years ago as an intern at the Packaging & Customizing department within the EOC distribution center (European Operations Center), working on my thesis “Fix the process, not the people”. Only half way my internship, I got the opportunity to become part of the Medtronic family, while finishing my Master’s degree at the University of Tilburg.

The first ten years of my career, I have been working in several areas of the EOC distribution center, in various jobs, such as Logistics analyst, Process Engineer and leading the operational management team of the Value-Added Services department (Packaging, Spinal Loaner and Repack). At the same time, I worked my way up on the Lean Sigma ladder, starting as a problem solver, moving on to Green Belt and finally to a certified Black Belt.

Two years ago, I switched to a position in the IT Shared Services EMEA organization. Here,
I continued my Lean Sigma ambition, working as a Lean Sigma Master Black Belt (MBB).

Most challenging in my current role

The challenge in general, is to help people better understand the process, help them to see the interdependencies and what this means to their and other functions. Because by having a better understanding of the process and seeing the interdependencies, we, as an organization, can find the real root causes and solve them, instead of firefighting or implementing a workaround. Therefore, change management is a major part of my work.

What I like most in my current job

The beauty of IT is that we support the entire Offer to Cash flow, which means, I have the privilege to work with all functions. It is my passion to help teams improve their processes and connect these processes, in order to improve the value we provide to our patients.

What I like about working for Medtronic

‘There is a patient behind everything we do’ is part of my DNA. Do I need to say more?

What ‘Further, Together’ means to me

Creating a shift in mindset towards customer-centric thinking and living. We cannot (yet) imagine what we can accomplish as an organization once transforming to an end-to-end customer-centric culture.

My most memorable experiences at Medtronic

I’m very proud to have been part of the Back To Normal (BTN) program, in which we, as an organization, created a shift in mindset. The BTN program originated after the integration of Covidien. By merging two massive companies, we found out that the existing problems and challenges were multiplied in terms of impact. It is really amazing what we can achieve with only five ingredients: focus, a structured approach, KPIs, discipline and keeping our focus on customers. Being part of the core team of this organization-wide program, I had the opportunity to experience the passion of the end-to-end teams and I it was inspiring to see how well our leadership dealt with this.