He started out as a welder, later moved to engineering and finally ended up at the work planning department. Patrick de Hoop (25) has now worked at Gpi for almost nine years and has no plans to leave anytime soon. Patrick: ‘Gpi offers a pleasant and friendly working environment with many opportunities and great future prospects.’
Patrick explains how he ended up at Gpi: ‘When I was training to be a welder nine years ago, I was looking for a work placement. My father knew Gpi and suggested I contact them. I took his advice and soon joined Gpi. I’ve been here ever since.’
Working and learning
Through Gpi, he completed a BBL on-the-job training programme and qualified as a Sheet Metal Worker at level 2, and later at level 3. He spent two days a week studying and three days working at Gpi in the first two years. That later changed to one day a week studying and four at Gpi. Patrick tells about the course: ‘A BBL course gives you the opportunity to study while gaining work experience. This means you can earn a good salary even while you’re studying. A teacher closely supervises you at first, but as you get the hang of it, you can do more and more yourself.’ In his first year, Patrick worked on the production of large tanks in the L building in Lopik and later spent three years in Groot-Ammers, where even larger tanks are made.
Switch to engineering
After more than four and a half years of welding, he was ready for something new and began looking for other opportunities at Gpi. ‘You only see the final phase of projects in the production department. I was keen to see what happens before production, for example the design phase. I was invited to join the engineering department. I followed a course in Solid Edge, but most of all I was supported and guided well by colleagues with plenty of knowledge and experience. All the same, I missed the contact and communication with production in that role, so when the new work planning department at Gpi was founded, I saw that this job was made for me.’
Patrick has now worked as a work planner for almost three years. The work planning department was founded to make the production process more efficient through better planning. Patrick explains: ‘We transform engineering drawings into production drawings, which only contain information that is relevant for the production department. We also divide the work orders, so the purchasing department can place split orders. This allows the materials that arrive to be used more easily and efficiently. For example, instead of ten pallets with materials for an entire tank, three pallets arrive with materials for the top of the tank and the rest arrive separately. This saves time, because our colleagues in production don’t waste time looking for the materials they need.’
A satisfying job
Patrick tells about his work: ‘I have a good day every day at work. I enjoy my job. We have a young team with a great atmosphere and a manager who supports us well. I usually start work just before 7.30 a.m. and sometimes earlier. I start slowly and check the schedule for orders that need to be processed. We get questions from production throughout the day, for example if materials haven’t arrived or a dimension is missing on a drawing. We do our best to answer these questions. Thanks to my experience working in production, I understand the problems they face and can help them find practical solutions.’
It’s soon clear that Patrick doesn’t sit still for long: ‘I spend Fridays with my two sons. One is two and the other is still a baby. I spend the other four days at Gpi, and I often work extra hours on welding projects in the evening and weekend to keep up my welding skills.’ He is also studying towards the Work Planning for Manufacturing qualification at level 4. ‘Although the course is focused on construction, there are interesting things that I can use in my work,’ explains Patrick. He enjoys spending his free time with his girlfriend and children and on autocross racing, a hobby he shares with his father.
Patrick tells about his expectations for the coming years: ‘I look forward to finishing my studies later this year, because combining everything is quite tough.’ There are still plenty of challenges in his current job as a work planner: ‘By planning projects carefully, we can save materials and time. That’s challenging, especially for larger projects, so I want to keep improving my skills. Looking to the future, I would certainly be interested in working towards the role of production manager or something similar. Gpi is a fantastic company with great prospects, so I’ll certainly stay here for the time being!’