Klaus Henke – Indian for beginners
With 1.2 billion inhabitants, India is the second most highly populated country on earth and the most highly populated democratic state. And it is a land of contrasts. In the area of infrastructure in particular, India has enormous catch-up requirements – even today, for example, it is very difficult to transport very large components on India's roads. And it was here that a new location was to be built for Rothe Erde, the world's largest manufacturer of slewing bearings – with everything that involves, including the sophisticated technology needed to guarantee the high quality of the products. Klaus Henke was responsible for the installation of equipment at the plant.
At the end of 2005 Henke flew to Nashik for the first time to familiarize himself with the local conditions – it was to be the first of many visits. At this time planning work was already at an advanced stage. The machinery had been purchased from various parts of the world, the team for the production plant had been selected and construction managers recruited. The easiest part of the process, says Henke, was finding employees: "There's no shortage of good employees, the engineers are really well qualified. But you do have to try to understand their mentality. For instance, if you don't say exactly what you want from someone, you are likely to be disappointed." The key to success was the collaboration with Uhde India and ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel on site: Uhde India prepared the construction drawings and supervised the building work. Henke coordinated the plant construction and installation work. As a result, the plant was completed on schedule – giving Rothe Erde an optimum starting position in India. As Henke says: "Indians like to buy from Indians. Foreign deals are not easy for Indian companies and import duties have now been lifted". In addition, there is a lot happening in India at the moment – wind parks are springing up everywhere and Rothe Erde's slewing bearings are needed for these and also for the earthmoving equipment used in construction – to ensure enhanced mobility in the country in the future …
The future developer:
Klaus Henke, 44, is Head of Technical Coordination at Rothe Erde. After completing his apprenticeship as a lathe operator, he went on to study mechanical engineering as a mature student. He began his career in operations scheduling before joining the plant maintenance department and finally switching to the Technical Coordination department in 2004. What does he think you need to succeed when working abroad? "It's like this: If you think that everything should always be done the way it is in Europe, you'll fail – you will only demotivate the people you work with. So I always make sure that I respect and take into account the culture of the country I am in." The engineer is married and has two children. He and his family live in Altenmellrich, near Lippstadt. His work means he is often away from home – so apart from spending time with his family, his only hobby is playing cards at his "Skat" club – he has no time for anything else.