Once upon a time ...
Our stories about people who made it happen sound like fairy tales, but they are real. They are about real people who have climbed the career ladder at Schumacher Packaging with a lot of courage, hard work and motivation. On the occasion of our 75th company anniversary, we will introduce you to some of them in 2023. Immerse yourself in the success stories of our (Schu) makers!
After the crisis year, a new start with the packaging star
Logistics Manager at the Wrocław plant
The year was 2009, when the European Union found itself in a problematic economic and financial situation. At that time, Krzysztof Grzmil was working as a manager in the Polish branch of a German transport company. However the closure of the company was unavoidable due to the euro crisis. "Although I was offered a job at the company's German headquarters in Schwaig near Nuremberg, I was not prepared to move to Germany for the job at that time," Krzysztof recounts. One day he drove past the Schumacher Packaging plant in Wrocław in Krępice. Since 2011, he has been heading there directly - five days a week, as a permanent part of the team.
With "out of the box" thinking
into the packaging company
"The location was huge, the company made a big impression on me," recalls the then 26-year-old. Back home, Krzysztof immediately began his research on the Internet. He informed himself extensively about the packaging manufacturer and found out, for example, that Schumacher Packaging has many locations in Europe. "My university degree in German studies, economics and logistics was a perfect fit for the company's general profile." His application was promptly followed by an invitation to an interview. He was interviewed for the position of production planner and then offered a trial working day. "I was very happy when the call came shortly afterwards with the job confirmation," he says with a grin.
Krzysztof quickly became part of the Schumacher family. Through frequent trips to the German plants, he got to know important processes, structures and responsible people. "I absorbed a lot and transferred some best practices to the Polish Schumacher branch," he reports proudly. Over time, "the new guy" became more and more independent and courageous. In his work, he always tried to think outside the box. He tackled every challenge courageously - much to the satisfaction of his superiors Małgorzata Okrzesik and Anna Sokół. After two years as a production planner, he was offered the senior position in this area. "It was a great honour and motivation for me," says Krzysztof gratefully.
Up the logistics ladder
Since joining the company, the doer has also supported many other departments and enriched them with his ideas and advice. For example, he has improved cooperation between planning and purchasing and developed tools to better calculate and forecast demand for certain papers. The fact that personal initiative often pays off is proven by the subsequent career step: in 2016, Krzysztof took over the purchasing department, which was in the process of being rebuilt at the time. "The paper market presented us with some challenges," he recalls. "In order to remain competitive, changes were necessary".
Managing director Anna Sokół brought about one change herself when she made Krzysztof head of logistics, the company's second-largest department, at the beginning of 2019. From on-time deliveries to managing warehouses and infrastructure to controlling logistics costs: Krzysztof has been responsible for smooth operations here as well as for 83 employees for four and a half years. He loves his job because it is dynamic and full of interesting situations. He is also proud of his excellent team, with whom he can solve any problem.
For logistics manager Krzysztof, the fact that Schumacher Packaging is a unique company is already reflected in the motto "From person to person" - which is not just a slogan but a lived reality: "The family atmosphere, the excellent management, the trust in the employees and the great freedom to make decisions make Schumacher Packaging a place where I feel very comfortable."
A place of unlimited possibilities: As the company is constantly developing and growing, Krzysztof says there are always new opportunities to deepen his knowledge and gain experience. "I am sure that I will be able to do a lot more good for Schumacher Packaging in the future." And not only him: "Our career stories show that you can achieve a lot at Schumacher Packaging with motivation, openness and commitment."
From not supposed to go and
no longer wanting to go
Plant manager at the Bielefeld plant
In 2000, 17-year-old Metin Sahin finished school. He did not have a job in sight. Through neighbours, the young man heard that the nearby F. Luce packaging plant in Bielefeld was booming after it had been taken over by the Schumacher family a year earlier.
"Before I knew it, I was standing at the gluing machines for several weeks," he laughs. When the summer was over and Metin actually wanted to catch up on his A-levels, they didn't let him go so easily.
"If you love your job, you don't
have to work your whole life."
Metin liked the idea of staying, but he wanted to start his career "properly": And so he started a three-year apprenticeship on site to become a packaging technologist (formerly: packaging mechanic). He finished as one of the best three in his year - which attracted the attention of company boss Wulf Schumacher: After all, he had bought the Bielefeld plant to start his expansion plans, for which new capable employees were also needed.
Schumacher's son Hendrik also saw great potential in him and therefore offered to pay for Metin's further training to become an industrial foreman. "In my early 20s, I wanted to gain experience and earn money first and not go back to school straight away," Metin recalls. "So I continued to work on the stamping presses for a while and then did the further training from 2008 to 2011." Since a suitable position was not immediately available for him afterwards, Metin indulged his passion for punching for another two years before he took over sole responsibility for the work preparation/purchasing area.
Since the beginning of 2020, he has acted as operations manager at the Bielefeld plant. When Hendrik Schumacher offered him the job, his first thought was: "What does a plant manager actually do?". Metin was unsure whether he was the right person for the position and sought feedback from colleagues. The positive feedback from the crew and the knowledge that the bosses were there to support him with any questions encouraged him to take the chance.
From personnel planning for production to dispatch, work preparation, purchasing of operating materials, quality assurance, energy management, operating technology and investment planning in coordination with the management: there is a lot to do as an operations manager. "I'm well challenged, but I still have room for development," he says - and adds: "If you love your job, you don't have to work your whole life."
In the meantime, Metin has also built a young management team around him, in which everyone pulls together. "We master the daily tasks together," he reports proudly. And proud he can be: from 2019 to 2022, the Bielefeld site has doubled its square metres produced!
Metin about Schumacher Packaging
Schumacher Packaging is continuously developing. Metin's personal growth and that of the company go hand in hand. "I could and can find my own demands in our work and identify with every innovation."
What he particularly appreciates about his employer is that, despite the size of the company today, the family DNA is still clearly noticeable. "When I became a father in autumn 2022, the directors were honestly and sincerely happy with me. In my more than 20 years I have always had the feeling of being part of both the company and the Schumacher family."
For the future, he says it is important for him to keep an eye on the world, to help drive developments and to make the Bielefeld location even more attractive for the market. "We want to keep up with the big players here in the region. New applicants should get to know our company the way I once did: If you bet on Schumacher, Schumacher bets on you."
Who learns with the apprentices
Training manager at the Ebersdorf plant
As training manager at the Ebersdorf plant, Christina Eckstein knows exactly what matters. Who better to put herself in the shoes of Schumacher trainees than a former Schumacher trainee? "I started my training as an industrial clerk at Schumacher Packaging in 2004," she recalls. 18 years ago. After successfully completing it, she was taken on as an office sales representative. After three years in an office job, the stork came knocking and Christina took parental leave.
Back at the company, the new mother was offered a job in the human resources department after a short time. With her business administration diploma in her pocket and her trainer's certificate in the pipeline, Christina was to take care of Schumacher's young talent from then on. "Until then, there was no one who was only responsible for the apprentices," she says. Now there was.
Organising, planning, conducting training, holding talks - simply doing it! The new apprentice manager for the main plant in Ebersdorf is fully committed to her job. In the meantime, she also acts as a trainer for the industrial clerks. In addition, she coordinates training marketing and the cross-plant application process and checks which processes can be standardised and simplified.
Christina about Schumacher Packaging
What does she particularly appreciate about Schumacher Packaging? "That you're not just a number here, but that our bosses know most of their employees personally," she says. "I can also flexibly adjust my working hours to my family life."
For the future, she hopes to be able to attract and retain many new apprentices for the company: "I would not only like to bring our apprentices successfully through their training, but also offer them the chance of many years of employment in our family business when they are taken on.
Out of the career low with a new upward wind
Production shift manager at the Birmingham plant
With redundancy looming, Adrian Madge decided in 2006 to hand-distribute his CV to warehouses and manufacturing companies in the Elmdon area, near Bimingham. In the process, he also came across packaging manufacturer Jaffabox Ltd, whose then managing director Frank Amyes offered him a job in his logistics department on the same day. Since 2019, Jaffabox has been part of the Schumacher Packaging Group - and Adrian has meanwhile risen to the position of production shift manager.
After taking over the company, the next
step on the career ladder
When Adrian joined Jaffabox, he was immediately taken with the friendly, family-run business and its expansion plans. He himself developed rapidly from the very beginning: Starting out as a warehouse worker or forklift driver, he was quickly appointed deputy warehouse manager and shortly afterwards was on duty as the driver of a 7.5-tonne truck supporting the distribution of local deliveries. With the installation of the corrugator in 2014, Adrian then moved on to become a clamp stacker driver and then a "corrugator supervisor" - the latter already working closely with the management.
When Frank Amyes sold his business to Schumacher Packaging in 2019 and retired, Adrian took on the role of dispatcher. "When Schumacher became my employer, opportunities arose for the company to expand and, in turn, for me to develop personally," he says. "At that time, I applied for the position of production shift supervisor, which fortunately I got."
As shift manager of production at Schumacher Packaging Ltd, Birmingham plant - as the site has been called since the change of name - Adrian is responsible for more than 20 employees. Among other things, he oversees the daily operation of the factory and corrugator, reports mechanical and electrical faults, ensures optimum productivity and that order deadlines and BRC standards are met. Thanks to his extensive knowledge, Adrian also supports his colleagues in the office, e.g. when there are problems with paper grades and traceability.
Being part of an ambitious and forward-looking family business where everyone shares the same values of sustainability, growth and diligence - that's what Schumacher Packaging is all about for Adrian. "I am now over 50 years old and hope to spend the rest of my career with the company and be part of its further development," he says. "I always strive to give 100 per cent in everything I do and to go above and beyond." A real doer.
The cleaner with the big dreams
Plant manager at the Forchheim plant
From rags to riches? Not quite. Nevertheless, Orcun Sönmezgök's career path leads steeply upwards. When Schumacher Packaging took over Kartonax GmbH & Co. KG in Nuremberg, the Turkish-born Orcun Sönmezgök had just completed his training as a packaging technologist. Two years earlier he was still working as a cleaner in the same company - committed and with big goals.
From production worker to plant manager
Brooms, rags and buckets were passé, his training successfully completed. Orcun then continued working as a production employee in Nuremberg for seven years. From 2009 to 2011, he temporarily said "goodbye" to Schumacher Packaging in order to reorientate himself professionally. Hendrik Schumacher left the door open for him during this time. Orcun returned in 2013 as a media technologist - to the newly built Schumacher plant in Forchheim, which had replaced the Nuremberg site in the meantime.
From then on, things went steeply uphill for him: "With the necessary ambition and passion for my job, together with my superiors and a great team, I managed to achieve the goals I had set and gain a lot of experience," Orcun enthuses.
First work preparation, then process optimisation, since 2017 operations management at the Forchheim plant with 170 employees. Orcun's core competence is in the commercial sector and includes design, work preparation, pre-press, planning, production and logistics.
Orcun about Schumacher Packaging
The opportunities in our dynamic company left hardly anything to be desired for him, says Orcun. Hardly. There is still one or two dreams he is working towards: to take on more areas of responsibility and to expand his involvement in supply chain management. To this end, the doer is even improving his English in lessons in order to be able to communicate with colleagues and business partners throughout Europe.
"Loyalty, determination and productivity are the keywords that characterise me as an employee, motivate me and make me hungry for further success."
From apprentice to plant manager:
A steep career at Schumacher Packaging
Operations manager at the Sonneberg plant
Oliver Michel is a real hands-on person - and one who shows what's possible: even as a schoolboy, he worked for us during the holidays. Since then, Schumacher Packaging has been a thread running through his CV. In 2009, he began an apprenticeship as an industrial clerk. Today he works as a plant manager at the Sonneberg factory and is responsible for 200 people.
With his A-levels in his pocket, Oliver enrolled in an automotive degree programme at university. But student life was not for him: "I wanted to get started directly on the job and prefer to learn first-hand," he says. So he started a commercial apprenticeship as an industrial clerk - and with us. Thanks to his commitment and good performance, he completed the intermediate examination with a grade of 1.0, which enabled him to shorten his training period to two years.
A promise for the future
After three years in process optimisation at the Ebersdorf plant, Oliver wanted more and therefore sought a conversation with Managing Director Björn Schumacher. He then added a degree in business administration to his training - and continued to work at the company in the meantime. The Schumacher family promised him an interesting job after his successful graduation. And that's what he got: Hendrik Schumacher, also managing director, offered the freshly graduated bachelor the position of plant manager at the Sonneberg plant. "I could always rely on the company. I really appreciate this trust," he says.
Since September 2016, Oliver has now been working successfully as operations manager. He is responsible for production, quality assurance, shipping and personnel, among other things. A dream job for him: "I have a diverse range of tasks for which I need motivation, courage, patience, perseverance, negotiating skills and assertiveness - and that every day anew. That's what I love about my job.
Oliver about Schumacher Packaging
A European player that has retained the DNA of a medium-sized company and its family structure despite rapid growth - that is what Oliver values most about his employer. He firmly plans to be part of the company until retirement. "I am currently in the position I always wanted to be in," he says. "I want to continue to grow together with Schumacher Packaging, also on a personal level."
Write your own maker story
Our doer stories inspire you to take your next career step at Schumacher Packaging? Do you like to get things done, are you committed and want to make a difference? Then do it! Browse our career portal and apply for your desired position. We look forward to receiving your application!