A tale of two continents
A little over five years ago, a national survey was conducted in Brazil to find the best companies in the country to work in. Wärtsilä was one of the top companies that employees preferred, and this survey was the first time Ana Fionda heard about Wärtsilä. Since then, there has been no looking back.
“After hearing the survey results, I ended up applying for a vacancy in the company and got the job,” she says, recalling her first few days with Wärtsilä. “I was 23 years old and it was only the second job I had ever taken up. My first position was as a Foreign and Trade analyst and what made it interesting was that I could apply the lessons learnt from my undergraduate studies daily.”
After almost three years in this role, Ana joined the Parts Coordination Management (PCM) team in Rio de Janeiro where she experienced one of Wärtsilä’s improvement projects ‘parts end-to-end’ going live.
Meet the trouble-shooter
In a happy coincidence, Ana’s husband also worked at Wärtsilä in Brazil and as it turned out, his career development had an influence on Ana’s Wärtsilä journey. When her husband got a transfer to Canada, Ana had to quit her position in Brazil. Luckily for her, Wärtsilä’s Parts Coordination Area Manager invited her to join the team in Halifax, Canada and Ana was once again back in the Wärtsilä fold and in the PCM team. As far as the company was concerned, losing Ana was simply not an option.
“I am lucky to be associated with the company in so many different ways and even more lucky to be able to have found a position in two different countries. Wärtsilä these days feels like part of the family,” says Ana and laughs.
Ana’s current role is that of a PCM Coordinator where she is responsible for handling and coordinating quotations and orders of spare parts for Wärtsilä internally and for its customers. This requires her to oversee quality and response time for orders and inquiries, follow up on spare part deliveries according to agreed processes while solving any bottle-necks that may occur, and finally, ensuring that all documentation and invoices needed for delivery are in place.
Needless to say, this is not a job that just anyone can do. It requires strong communication skills, teamwork, a thorough understanding of local cultures, and a razor-sharp focus on both the business and customers. Ana recalls one incident where her abilities were put to the test in Brazil, where a shipment had arrived late and was stuck at the airport, awaiting customs clearance.
“This happened the day before the world-famous Rio de Janeiro carnival. You cannot imagine how important the carnival days are for Brazilians. Almost all work stops, and people are out celebrating – also in our case, all customs inspectors were already at their homes,” explains Ana. “The shipment contained spare parts for a power plant that provided energy for an entire city and we could not let it remain stuck at the airport. Fortunately, we managed to contact the federal authorities in time to ensure that the parts were released, thus ensuring from our side that the city had power for the carnival.”
Setting high standards
Ana’s coordination skills are legendary and some of the processes she set in place are still in use by colleagues in the PCM department in Brazil.
“I am not sure if I would call it legendary,” she says laughing. “But yes, I have helped build some useful tools that are still in use. Two excel files that I created are still frequently used. The first one was for an import cost calculation for a shipment sent to Brazil. The second was a net price calculator for spare parts sold in Brazil according to the region, as the taxes differ”.
These skills and tools are what makes Ana a true hero – who ensures that day to day activities carry on smoothly, no matter the circumstances. Flexibility and adaptability are key, she says and talks about how she has managed to apply the lessons learned from her time in Brazil to solve problems in Canada.
“I normally try to apply my experiences in Brazil to solve some issues here. A recent example was regarding the local material master data where I noticed that some items were incorrectly extended to the local plants,” explains Ana. “I had faced such situations before in Brazil, and after some investigation, I was able to contact the master data team and update the system.”
Ana certainly is skilled, but when asked about what motivates her in her work, she remains modest, giving all credit to her team members whose support has helped her reach the position she is in today. Her colleagues in the Americas’ key user team in particular help lighten her days, she says, as they are both helpful and funny at the same time.
Over the next few years, Ana sees Wärtsilä as a company constantly innovating and evolving in order to achieve further successes. The company’s focus on sustainable development, in particular, she says, will help it gain more and more strength.
Ana is keen to be part of this growth process and is investing time and effort in different product lines while promoting various safety plans. She is someone to watch out for and draw inspiration from over the next few years