Reaching New Heights

Peter Krook leaves his mark on operations at Meyer and Swenson

IMG_0786.jpgAt 6 feet 8 inches (203 cm) tall, Peter Krook is hard to miss around the halls of the Meyer Products and Swenson Products facilities. Peter came to the United St ates in April from the Netherlands on behalf of the ASH Group to help with process improvement at both facilities, serving as Program Manager, Operations Development North America. He has spent about 80 percent of his time at Meyer in Cleveland, Ohio, and the rest at Swenson in Lindenwood, Illinois. His nine-month stint is over in mid-December, but his impact will be long lasting even after he heads back to the Netherlands and the Aebi Schmidt factory in the town of Holten.

“Peter has created numerous projects to help us improve processes, build teams, be more efficient an dreduce costs. He’s had a big impact on our operation,” said Mo Toumert, Vice President of Manufacturing and Operations at Meyer Products.

With a background in industrial management, technology management and continuous improvement, there aren’t many operational areas Peter hasn’t touched during his time here. He’s helped implement five distinct organizational development work packages that range from finance and cost avoidance to organizational structure. He’s helped implement 10 site development work packages that touch on things like future plant layout, logistics and warehousing, Fit For Tomorrow (F4T continuous improvement program), lean assembly, a machiner y roadmap and more. He has also worked with sales and accounting departments to help streamline their processes and create new processes to improve efficiency.

DSC_4814.JPG“The biggest impact Peter has on the ASHNA is the cooperation between facilities in Europe and the United States. We have received tremendous help in all facets of the business from our European counterparts,” said Mo. Another person that has been a great help is Szymon Orlowski.

Their help clearly demonstrates the commitment from the ASH board, CEO, COO and the rest of the leadership to the success of ASHNA. We feel confident that the support provided will help us overcome any challenges we encounter.”

Prior to coming here in April, Peter had visited the United States once before, but had never been to the Midwest or lived in the country. There were some adjustments to make and some definite differences that have stood out.

“Everything is bigger. Food portions at restaurants. The streets. The cars. For instance, I drive a Ford F-250 truck here. In the Netherlands, I would need a truck driver’s license to drive such a big vehicle,” he explained. For all the work Peter has done in the plants and traveling between Cleveland, Lindenwood and the Netherlands, he still finds time to enjoy life outside of his job. He has spent time exploring his adopted hometown from his apartment in downtown

Cleveland, and embracing Cleveland’s professional sports teams. He’s been to many Indians and Cavaliers games, as well as one Browns game.

“People speak badly about the Browns, but I had a good time at the game,” he said.

When asked about his favorite locations around town, he can quickly rattle off a list: the West Side Market, Cleveland Museum of Art, the Tremont neighborhood, Lakeview Cemetery, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Amish country—to name a few.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here. Cleveland isn’t well known, but it has many nice places that are worth visiting,” he said.

Peter has also found time to work out to stay in shape for when he returns to the Netherlands, where his height is a big advantage on the volleyball court. He has played volleyball for 20 years and competes in one of highest leagues in the country.

He said he is looking forward to being back in the Netherlands, but he will miss his time in the United States.

“This has been a great learning experience and it’s been good to work with people here and develop relationships,” said Peter. “Meyer and Swenson have a lot of talent in the plants, with people who are motivated and willing to help make long-term structural improvements.”

Those in the United States who worked with Peter will also miss him. “Some of us are wondering if we can clone him and keep his double in the United States,” said Mo.