An apprentice at 16, Head of Administration at 23, Operations Manager at 27, the youngest Planzer branch coach of all time at 30 – Jorge Rodriguez’s professional career has followed a steep trajectory. But first, let’s go back to the beginning.

A good vintage: 1990. That was clear by the time Jorge Rodriguez started his apprenticeship as an E-profile commercial clerk at Planzer’s headquarters in Dietikon in 2006. The savvy Baden native with Galician roots had been looking over the shoulders of the Planzer professionals for a week when he applied for an apprenticeship position. He was certain: ‘Vocational training will open every door for me later on.’ And so it was.

Learning to learn

During the three-year apprenticeship, Jorge gained insight into a number of different departments: Accounting, Marketing, Dispatch, Warehouse Logistics, Human Resources. In the summer of 2009, shortly before the final apprenticeship examination, he got the chance to choose his favourite. Because he wanted to stay. And his supervisors also wanted him to stay.

Ready for the Baccalaureate

But Jorge was looking for more than a job. He wanted to do his Baccalaureate while working part-time. So he joined the Support Logistics team with a 60% workload. The rest of the time he spent with school and studies. He put leisure time off until later. His tasks in Dietikon included back-office activities to support the branch offices. The work was clearly structured, precise and dependable. Just like Jorge.

School, job and little more

In June 2011 Jorge successfully completed his Vocational Baccalaureate. Just a few months later, he asked his supervisor if he could add four more years of school so he could complete a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics. In September 2011, he started the course at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland Brugg while continuing with his part-time work in Support Logistics at Planzer. There, he helped open new sites and integrate clients into the warehouse logistics of Planzer’s own locations. Over the next four years, he expanded his professional portfolio with experience, specialist knowledge and valuable contacts.

Boss to begin with

In 2014, the group-wide head of Warehouse Logistics offered him the position of Head of Administration at Planzer in Villmergen. Jorge was just 23 years old at the time and in the midst of studying for a bachelor’s degree. He saw the offer as an opportunity – and accepted. In May 2014, he took on his new management responsibility in the back office. He managed five people and was responsible for order management for multinationals like Mars, Mondelez and Unilever. The work was both exciting and demanding. And Jorge still had his further education and the upcoming bachelor’s thesis. The dynamic all-rounder settled into the team, had many one-to-one conversations and combined his experience in logistics administration with his strong social skills and his winning character. The Villmergen Branch Director put his full trust in him, which for Jorge was an outstanding sign of recognition. As the freshly appointed Head of Administration, his goals were fittingly ambitious: satisfied customers, quick response times, professional solutions, lean and increasingly automated processes. And above all, a powerful team. He achieved all this in just two and a half years. ‘The more I valued the team and took feedback seriously, the more I achieved. You can do a lot with praise.’ That’s how Jorge describes his management style.

Hard-working, talented Operations Manager

The next change came in autumn 2016. The Operations Manager at Villmergen had resigned and the Branch Director wanted to fill the position internally. So one find Friday evening he stood in Jorge’s office and said: ‘Now or never. Time to go for Operations Manager.’ Another door opened. And in January 2017, Jorge took over the role of Operations Manager. He was responsible for smooth warehouse logistics operations for around 120 clients, leading a crew of 12 team leaders shoulder to shoulder with his counterpart. Fortunately, he knew most of the warehouse logistics employees from his previous job in Villmergen. As his role grew, so did Jorge’s respect for it. He was, after all, managing even more people now. Managing, organising, planning and costs became the focus of his activities. All this was fully measurable. As a big fan and authority on the Planzer Logistics System (PLS), Jorge also had a lot to offer: ability and will. In his new position, he once again had numerous personal discussions, expressed his expectations, conveyed his values and aimed for new targets. This job dealt with the physical integration of new clients, discussions with customers, all while describing and documenting processes. Jorge was right in the thick of it here, keeping track of customers, his team and the figures. He shared resources, used synergies, managed his team members, made the best possible use of strengths, took care of vacation planning and substitutes. And the working days were long. But Jorge stuck at it.

Knowledge is the best teacher

A good year later, Jorge decided to take the next step in his education. He signed up for the Master of Business Administration, with the full support of his supervisors. He switched back to Support Logistics in Dietikon as Project Manager for Logistics with a 100% workload. Here, he was the link between IT and operational functions. He supported logistics integrations and the lining of electronic interfaces. But there was a change – he was no longer managing people. Instead, he was back at school on Fridays and Saturdays, at the expense of his holidays, family and free time. ‘Of the last 10 years, I was at school for 8 years,’ says Jorge dryly. While neglecting to mention that he worked at Planzer in those years and gave his all.

Skipping baby break

There were more surprises in store for Jorge in 2019. He became the father of little Emilio in mid-July. His biggest challenge was reconciling work, school and a young family – with just 24 hours in each day. Classes ended in October 2020 and his master’s thesis had to be completed by April 2021. So it was time for reorientation, which came quicker than expected.

Big change

On 1 January 2021, the management of the Planzer Group promoted Jorge Rodriguez to the position of Logistics Coach for the regions of eastern Switzerland and Härkingen. More precisely: the youngest Logistics Coach in the company’s long history. His predecessor and boss took over the vacant management position as Head of Warehouse Logistics. It wasn’t so much a step in his career as a leap. ‘It’s not going to be easy, and I have lot of respect for this reorientation,’ says the all-rounder, modestly describing his new calling. Even though Jorge also sees a great opportunity in this move. Even though his portfolio is now bulging with knowledge, experience and contacts. And even though his bosses and team members are 200% behind him. Just as he is for himself.

‘I like to work because I can make a difference here.’

Jorge Rodriguez, Logistics Coach Eastern Switzerland/Härkingen

Three questions for Jorge Rodriguez

How do you see the future of warehouse logistics?
Outstanding, when you consider the current evolution of online retailing. Large corporations are increasingly concentrating on their core competencies and outsourcing warehouse logistics. That’s where Planzer comes in.

What would you write about Planzer on kununu.com [site for anonymous appraisal of companies]?
I appreciate the family atmosphere and the down-to-earth attitude that Planzer has maintained despite its rapid growth in recent years. It’s a respectful, sustainable family company. Planzer gives you good opportunities for getting ahead.

What would you say as a representative of one of the largest Swiss employers?
For me, promoting the next generation is fundamental. We have to position ourselves so we are at the forefront with young people, regardless of the division.

Fact sheet

Name
Year of birth
Nationality
Residence
Qualities
Favourite food
Favourite sounds
Hobbies

Jorge Rodriguez
1990
Spanish
Lenzburg
#obliging #structured #communicative
Züri-Gschnätzlets and paella
Latino music
Son Emilio and family

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