Quality Assurance & Regulatory Affairs
Nathalie lives in Meerssen with her partner and his children. She loves to spend time with her family and friends, and also traveling is a passion of hers. In October, Nathalie will be working for Medtronic for twelve years already, and every day is still dynamic and challenging, which makes it fun and diverse. Nathalie is the Sr. Quality Systems Manager for the Quality Logistics & Transport team for the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region.
In my role, I lead a team of twelve direct reports. Within the quality function, we safeguard the operational processes within Medtronic, which we also do for our suppliers and outsourced processes.
There are two parts within quality that are crucial to be successful: full compliance – to enable first-time-right quality products for our patients – and business partnering. On a daily basis, we work together with the Logistics & Transport department. Together with this department, we work on shared initiatives and projects related to logistics processes and quality aspects. Our team is successful because – despite challenging timelines and often a lot of work – there is a lot of dedication and collaboration between the teams, which makes me proud as a manager.
On 1 October 2007, I started as a Senior Customer Service Representative. A year later, in September 2008, I was promoted to Senior Customer Care Supervisor and fulfilled that role for approximately seven years. During those years, I have worked for all business groups and regions. In June 2015, I was promoted to Customer Care Manager and was asked to set up and lead a centralized customer care team in Heerlen for the spinal business. As I love to take on a challenge, I immediately took this great opportunity. Within 2,5 years, we managed to build a team from scratch to fifty people, supporting more than ten different countries for the full order-to-cash process for the spine business.
During this period, the focus was on customer satisfaction and people management, including development, performance & lean management. With some stakeholders initially being hesitant about the centralized setup, we have proven that this approach is very successful with good results. After this success and ten years within the customer care department, I felt that it was time to move on, to expand my knowledge and experience outside of customer care. Thus, I joined the EMEA Quality Team per 1 August, 2017 as a Senior Quality Systems Manager.
In my current role, I am not the content expert (anymore), which forces me to empower my employees more. This is an ongoing journey, but my biggest learning curve is that micro management is not the solution to being a successful leader. Now, after two years in my role, I can honestly say that I don’t need to know all the details to be a successful leader.
By stepping out of my comfort zone and being stretched, I have learned so much over the past two years. What I never realized, but what I became very aware of since I am part of the quality organization, is that quality plays a key role within our company. By safeguarding the processes, enabling compliance and contributing to successful audits, we secure our ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certificates. Without these ISO certificates, we would not be able to do business, and this also immediately means that we would not be able to serve our patients. Another important and interesting aspect in my role is creating a strategy and a clear structure which serve as a strong foundation for the team. Next to this, partnering with other teams, people management and the focus on LEAN management makes my role very diverse.
I like the dynamic atmosphere and fast changing environment, but most of all the opportunities within Medtronic to further develop yourself. The size of the company is huge, which enables you to have different roles within the same company.
We need to make sure we keep on working TOGETHER as a TEAM! That will be and remains the biggest challenge for Medtronic with the constant growth that we are facing. Looking at last year’s success, we are taking the right steps. However, this also means that we need to keep our focus, especially when facing this constant growth. I think that this can be done by avoiding silo-thinking, speaking straight, working together and supporting each other, wherever needed.
Next to this, it is important to keep in mind that there is a patient behind everything we do. As a manager, I constantly stimulate this mindset by coaching my team members on this. Even if you are just a little piece of the puzzle, you always contribute to the well-being of our patients. And the only way to do this, and to be successful, is by doing it as one team.
What made a big impression on me, was an urgent product order which was needed for a surgery on a baby. The delivery to the hospital had to take place the next day. Together with several departments, we worked until late to enable timely shipment. Afterwards, we received the confirmation that the surgery had been successful, and the baby was doing great!