Up close with Falko Näther – nothing escapes the project coordinator at soft trim Up close with Falko Näther – nothing escapes the project coordinator at soft trim
Actually, Falko Näther wanted to do something social. After a few detours, the 36-year-old fortunately ended up at soft trim where he coordinates projects for the company’s in-house sewing department.
As a project coordinator, Falko Näther is mainly responsible for ensuring that customer orders are completed on time – and everything that goes with it. He liaisons between customers and employees, forwards information in a targeted manner and always keeps the big picture in mind.
“I like communicating with customers and our employees – being the go-between. And even when things get hectic, I like to lend a hand.”
And jumping in to help is always good. When things get ‘rough’ again and customer inquiries pile up, the hobby mechanic lends a hand himself, helps to build some seats or brings in his experience as a trained designer.
In addition to his social interest, he was always fascinated by craftsmanship and, not in the last place, automobile construction. With that in mind, he decided to study automotive engineering at HTW Dresden. A good decision in retrospect: the study emphasised practical skills.
After six years of study, Falko went to Ingolstadt for his dissertation. There, the company hired him – four years as a designer in the Bavarian city followed. “There I slipped a bit into the project coordination.”
Following the birth of his son, however, the Saxon returned to his homeland. He finally arrived at soft trim through a recommendation from a friend – and started directly as a project coordinator in September 2016. “I was very quickly, very well received here. It’s a tight-knit community,” says the father of two, summing up his start at the company. The colleagues are very communicative and always willing to help if you need support in a project.
Falko Näther (left) in conversation with trim engineer Tom Eschenbach.
In the last five years, no working day has been the same, reports Falko Näther. “You have to be organised.” If you coordinate seven to eight projects at the same time, it’s impossible to remember everything. That’s where the Dresden resident uses his Excel spreadsheets and notebook. “Without them I would be lost.”
After the corona pandemic, which led to production stops at the major car manufacturers, orders came in bulk again. You have to be able to keep an overview, prioritise and sometimes ‘power through’ stressful periods. Also, because customers often come up with ‘sporty’ inquiries in short time, one of the challenges of the job is to react quickly and meet tight deadlines. “With just over 50 employees at soft trim, it is much easier to be flexible than, for example, in a company with thousands of employees,” explains Falko Näther. That’s how you make a name for yourself in the industry. It is a particular pleasure to pass on positive feedback about swiftness and quality to colleagues. “It’s just nice when our work is appreciated,” says the 36-year-old happily.
As well as communicating with the customer and preparing calculations and offers, Falko Näther is always in touch with the soft trim team. “I send the information to the right place so that the order is fulfilled accordingly,” he says.
Everything is included, from very fast-moving orders that run for a few weeks to large orders that last up to two years. “The big jobs that last a long time are particularly exciting – you really get to know the customer and they usually involve business trips, which are a nice change of scenery,” says the hobby camper, who also likes to travel in his free time.
Trips to Morocco and Barcelona are already on his schedule to inspect covers from a sewing factory on site or to present a product to a customer. The experience abroad and getting to know completely different corporate cultures is particularly exciting and has been one of his highlights at soft trim so far.
It is precisely this combination of communication and coordination, practical work and personal responsibility that he appreciates and also allows him a certain degree of freedom in the running of projects.
“My work harmonises very well with my personal interests. I couldn’t think of a job that would be a better fit.”