With heart and soul

Gerd Lösing has been the global head of quality control at Symrise since 2016. He spoke to us about the importance of quality as­surance and how it is a collective effort that can only be achieved with a top team.

Do you look at the ingredient lists while shopping for gro­ceries? Yes, because this is where the real information is. I also strong­ly en­courage my friends and family to have a quick look at the ingre­dient lists before they buy into the advertising claims. Per­sonally, it’s es­pecially important to me to check the ingredients when buying ice cream, because I value dairy products like cream and don’t want a substitute like palm fat in my ice cream. What makes someone a good quality controller? A good quality manager is, above all, someone with conviction, for whom the greatest good is the quality of the product. That person is also a specialist when it comes to technical knowledge, but a gener­alist when thinking about the many areas of a com­pany where quality plays a role. What about your job fascinates you? I love flavors and fragrances, and I am fascinated by the fact that, in the attempt to describe and specify the human senses, one always reaches a limit and can only bow to nature and its di­versity. What are you working on at the moment? We are working on adapting the organization of the department to the new challenges in the field of food safety. This means changes for my employees and comes with a little bit of uncer­tainty. A manager is especially challenged in these phases, and I am happy that I have been sup­ported by my employees so well. I can fully rely on them. Even though a large part of the process is behind us, the organization needs time to adjust to the pro­cesses and the teams need time to come together again.

What is especially important to you? This year especially has shown us that the working world is a social place, and it means much more than just being a workplace to fulfill specific tasks. Many of us miss having the teamwork and inter­actions with people in all sorts of ways – whether it’s with col­leagues, cus­tomers or suppliers. We all have to over­come the current crisis to­gether to be able to see each other face-to-face and in a larger group again. What goals do you have for the further development of quality assurance? There are three specific things to name here: First is the reor­gani­zation, so that we are equipped for future requirements. I’ll also be spending a lot of time dealing with the shortage of skilled work­ers and preventing a loss of knowledge, since the experts are going into retirement. And we’ll also focus on digitalization. I want to imple­ment modern tech­nologies like artificial intelli­gence in quality assur­ance, and we are already actively working on a very exciting project in that vein. How are you taking your employees with you on this path? I am very open about goals and projects in the department. There are no secrets or compart­mentalization, and our SymPortal page provides a lot of information that all employees, especially new ones, can access. You also recently joined the Symrise Supervisory Board. I’m the new old guy, so to speak, because I was on the Supervisory Board from 2011 to 2016, and I’ve been fully involved again since April 2020.

You can find the complete interview in the SymPortal in January.

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