Story // 19.06.2019

“Two heads are better than one”. Insights into the daily working life of Elena Llorens Domenjó

Elena Llorens Domenjó has been working for SEKISUI for more than five years by now. After a first working experience as student in 2010, she joined SEKISUI SPECIALTY CHEMICALS EUROPE (SSCE) as Laboratory Chemist in January 2014 – not only enjoying her daily job but also the different opportunities like KAIZEN activities until today. We talked to Elena and gathered some insights into her day-to-day work, her engagement in KAIZEN and her personal life.

You are working as Laboratory Chemist. What are your main responsibilities?

Being a Laboratory Chemist involves a lot of detailed analysing and giving results. But the job is more than just reading and reporting numbers. It is important to analyse exactly and find the root cause for any occurring problem. Our main objective is to guarantee the reliability of the information that allows to optimise the quality of the products.

Besides the preparation for the analyses as well as the maintenance of all equipment I am also involved in developing new methods and products. On top, I help managing the laboratory, coordinate special projects and support the technical assistance for our clients.

What does a typical working day look like for you?  

For me, having a certain routine is essential to cope with a long working day. Usually, I get up around 6:30 am, have breakfast and get prepared to leave for work, which is a 10-15 minutes car drive from home.

When I arrive at the Tarragona site, I revise my mails and write a list of pending tasks. After that, I meet with my boss – Iñaki Iragorri or Margarita Negrete – to discuss the current projects and decide on priorities. After that meeting I start to work on the tasks assigned.

Three days a week, I spend lunch time with colleagues from different departments. The best and funniest part of the work! On two days, I usually go swimming during lunch time.

When the work is done, I spend time doing English courses, working out, meeting friends or just relaxing doing crafts or reading. I really like reading and am exploring all kinds of genres, from crime and mystery to economic or psychology. Before going to sleep I always spend half an hour or more reading.

Elena enjoys her work as Laboratory Chemist.

How would you describe your colleagues and the way you work with each other?

I am sure that almost anyone has heard of the old saying “Two heads are better than one.” It is true! And if there are three, four or five heads instead of only two, it is even better. Having different point of views and opinions is the best way to start a new project and having different strengths amongst the team makes it easier to distribute different tasks and responsibilities. I think working in a team is wonderful and important.

What do you like about working for SEKISUI?

Working for SEKISUI means being part of a large company that covers many different areas of business. Even though SEKISUI SPECIALTY CHEMICALS EUROPE is a very small site, the fact of contributing to the whole SEKISUI company is great.

When starting at SEKISUI it is quite normal to feel anxious about entering a new environment. In my opinion you need a good environment and opportunities to charge your batteries to work for the company with motivation and enthusiasm – but hard work will be rewarded.

Some impressions from Elena’s honeymoon in Australia.

How do you recharge your batteries?

Personally, I think that finding a balance between business and private life is another important aspect when facing day-to-day work. As my husband works abroad several days a week, we try to make the most of the time we spent together. We enjoy meeting friends and family. Several of our friends are living abroad – so we like planning short trips to visit them (e.g.  Norway, Sweden, Poland, Holland, Switzerland). Besides the short trips, we also like to discover other countries and cultures on longer journeys. For our honeymoon. we went to Australia for four weeks and fell in love with swimming and snorkeling. When it is colder, we also like watching tv and series and recharge our batteries together.

SEKISUI emphasizes continuous improvement trough KAIZEN. How far and since when are you involved in KAIZEN activities at SSCE?

I was part of three different KAIZEN projects in the last five years. One of them was led by me and I will also lead one new project this year. I really like KAIZEN as you make a great effort to finally get the same or better results than the last ones. I have also been involved in several 5S projects.

Elena and her team won the silver award of the KAIZEN Convention 2018. 

Why do you think KAIZEN activities are so important?

I think that KAIZEN encourages employees’ engagement. They feel as important part of the system and decision-making process as they participate in different KAIZEN activities. If they are not involved in KAIZEN and the continuous improvement, they can be demotivated.

KAIZEN gives employees the opportunity to think about process improvements and provides a platform to put forward the ideas to the management. The reward or/and recognition attached with KAIZEN improves the engagement among employees which results in a higher job satisfaction.

Are there any personal goals you are working on?

My primary goal is to be happy with my husband, family and friends. I would love to create a big family. On a business level, I would like to grow as a professional and keep engaging in KAIZEN.