Putting belief into action at the largest branded footwear manufacturer in the world!
I believe real-world experience is a vital part of any education. I’m Zin Htar Oo, a Myanmar Pou Chen-Hinrich Global Trade Leader scholar taking my Master of Global Production Engineering and Management (GPEM) at Vietnamese-German University.
All students are required to take an internship as an integral component of their studies. One of the benefits of my scholarships is that it includes a practical internship with my co-sponsor. Pou Chen Group is known as the largest branded athletic and casual footwear manufacturer in the world, producing for major global brands such as adidas, Nike, Asics, New Balance, Timberland and Salomon. I knew I made the right choice when I began my internship in August 2019 and learned my supervisor, Nyi Nyi Han, also graduated from GPEM VGU.
Meaningful work, overcoming real challenges
On the first day of my internship, I was given a project working with the Manufacturing Excellence (ME) department. The aim of the project is to make continuous cutting of ATOM Auto Cutting machines in the Auto Cutting department.
“Pou Chen factory in Myanmar (source: globalnewlightofmyanmar.com). Pou Chen Group can produce over 300 million pairs of shoes per annum and accounts for approximately 20% of the combined wholesale value of the global branded athletic and casual footwear market.
In the beginning, while still learning about Auto Cutting, an ME staff explained that as Auto Cutting is technically in another department, I need to communicate with staff from that department to learn more. My supervisor gave valuable advice: “communication is quite important, especially in Continuous Improvement Company (CIC) department.”
After two weeks, I realized that his advice is completely right when I faced difficulties working with the Auto Cutting department. When I would ask the status of projects, they were not forthcoming with the data. But I figured out the way to work well with them. After explaining why I needed the information and what kind of benefits they would receive from the project, they readily agreed.
Another challenge I faced was not knowing the exact working processes and procedures when I began: This caused delays in finishing some projects. Luckily, my supervisor took note and taught me some work tips and the ways to make the project more efficient.
The next time I find myself in a new position, I will take the initiative and learn new working procedures specific to the team and company.
Building teams through building trust
While leading a project with the ME team, I learned that building team trust is a main pillar of a project’s success. My supervisor is a big contributor to team building, as he spends free time in his schedule teaching relevant subjects to CIC members and improving the team’s ability to work together.
Training for personal and professional growth
Trainings have been an important part of my growth in the past few months. During the internship, I joined the Health and Safety Environment (HSE) training. By joining this training, I realized the importance of HSE for not only employees but also the company.
I also joined the training about the maintenance of Auto Cutting machines, which has been very useful for our recent projects. This has also made me realize that learning must always continue – even after graduation!
In spite of the short duration of the internship, I have learned a lot from my supervisor and the project. Challenges I faced during this period made me improve personally and professionally. Moreover, the internship motivated me to study the upcoming lectures deeply to effectively utilize my education in the working environment. As the Hinrich Foundation notes, I am well on my path to aspire, learn, grow and lead!
I am totally sure that this internship has elevated my abilities, and I am now equipped to overcome challenges in the coming working years.
Thank you for ‘paying it forward’
I am so thankful to my supervisors and all CIC members for generously giving support and being welcoming to me during the internship. I am always grateful to Myanmar Pou Chen company and Hinrich Foundation for giving me the opportunity to gain a world-class education through the VGU GPEM program.
About the author – Zin Htar Oo (Myanmar, Vietnamese-German University, Global Production Engineering and Management, ’20)
Zin Htar Oo is currently studying GPEM (Global Production Engineering and Management) at Vietnamese-German University. She took the three months internship before joining the GPEM program. She was awarded the scholarship provided by Adidas Supplier Company (Myanmar Pou Chen company limited) and Hinrich Foundation in 2018. Before that, she worked as a technician for four years in a media company in Myanmar. She graduated in 2014, majoring Electronics Communication in Taunggyi Technological University located in Myanmar.