Susanne Kohlgruber has been team leader of cleanroom cleaning at a site in Austria in the Dr. Sasse Group for two and a half years. In this interview she explains the special challenges of her job.
What is particularly important in cleanroom service at the moment?
The work is demanding, the tasks are becoming more and more complex. That’s why you have to be very attentive to all the information that comes your way. Communication skills are at least as important, so that you can ask specific questions and get explanations. And then, of course, the ability to work in a team: no one is alone in the cleanroom. It’s a world of its own, where nothing works without teamwork. You can’t compare that with the outside world, for example an office, whether it’s cleaning or other work.
What makes teamwork so important?
It’s about working with the utmost attention. Expensive products are created in the cleanroom. That’s why we have to communicate changes immediately to everyone else so that they are optimally prepared for their work. Of course, the digital channels help us immensely. Communication also includes absolute openness: anyone who is not completely healthy is not allowed to work in the cleanroom. There is no “It’s just a little cold…”. We can all deal with that.
What rules do you have to follow?
The standard here is ISO 14644, an international norm that is binding for everyone. In addition, there are the individual regulations that each company makes for itself, sometimes even each location. Every letter and every comma is valid, there is no room for free interpretation. If there are new processes or products, or if new areas and rooms are added, the rules are adapted accordingly – and we implement them from the very first second. Take microelectronics: our work changes non-stop.
So the team grows not only by heads, but also by experience?
That’s how it is – in every area.
Which industries are most strongly represented among the customers?
In the past, the semiconductor industry dominated demand. But with the increasing demands for safety and quality, a few more industries have joined in the meantime. I am thinking in particular of food production and pharmaceuticals.
What special qualifications do the employees need?
It is definitely an advantage if someone has previous experience in cleaning and technical understanding. That’s why we have a strong proportion of highly qualified people and career changers in our teams. But because each task is individual, the respective employees are always instructed and trained in detail on site. So it can happen that someone who has been cleaning for ten or fifteen years and has seen a lot says to himself: What have I actually done in that time? As I said, we work in a world of our own.
What makes the job exciting, where are the challenges?
There is really something new every day that we adjust to. Our service catalogue is “alive”.
If you are curious, to learn more about clean room services, register now for the Sales Sprint with Josefine Peper.