Insights overview

The neat thing is that a project is never pre-defined

- January 23, 2023

Erik has held several positions during his eight years at NTS. For the past three years, he has been working as a Mechanical Architect: he comes up with concepts, discusses feedback with customers and defines projects. Erik tells us about his job.

It all starts with a question

"At NTS, new questions present themselves constantly. It often starts with a customer's idea and then we get to come up with a machine for that. That's one of the things I love about my job: you start with a customer's question and get to think about the solution and turn it into something tangible. I wouldn’t want to spend my time just looking at a screen or have purely theoretical tasks and assignments. I want to be able to finally hold the physical products in my own hands."

Customer contact

A project often starts with a brainstorm session: "We usually first visit the customer with a group of colleagues from different areas of expertise and have a brainstorm about what the customer wants, what the customer already has, what works, what does not work, and so on. Then we get to go back to the office with our homework and draw up a plan. We turn that plan into a nice bundle and reconvene with the customer.”

"You are a team with both your colleagues and your customer, you collaborate."

Erik Hijkoop

Erik explains that cooperating with the customer during a project is indispensable: "First of all, it is super important to set the right expectations. For that reason alone, we like to be in frequent contact with our customers. In addition, you see that a project is never defined in advance. This is because you on the job: the customer learns, we learn, and revisions are constantly being made. Because of this process, you sort of become a collaborative team with both your colleagues and your customer. This allows us to constantly improve."

The common denominator

"Because I work on different projects all the time, I always come across something new: every customer and every project is different. One moment you are working on something optical, the next moment you are trying to make something float. You are challenged all the times. I think that's why people join NTS, this large variety of topics. We have a penchant for something new. We seek challenge and stay up to date. It's a very dynamic environment."

"It's okay to mess up sometimes, as long as it doesn't go horribly wrong."

Erik Hijkoop

"I think what NTS colleagues have in common as well is the fact that we are not risk-averse. On the contrary – we like to dive into something new and take that risk." Erik jokes, "It's okay to mess up sometimes, as long as it doesn’t go horribly wrong. That would cost too much time and money."

Pragmatic DNA

So what distinguishes NTS from other companies in this industry? Erik: "I think our production is set up in a unique way compared to other companies. At NTS, you can walk straight into the factory and immediately consult with your operational colleagues. We help each other and like to think about what can be done better or differently. We share that pragmatic DNA."

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