1:1 with Justyna, Plant Manager at Ikano Industry
Our year had a chat with Justyna Tarczewska, Plant Manager of Ikano Industry in Rogoźno, Poland. For almost a year, Justyna has been managing a factory of 800 co-workers and a yearly production of 2.5 million mattresses.
What was the biggest challenge taking on this position?
The biggest challenge was dealing with the effects of the pandemic.
I started in February 2020 and the first lockdown was announced on 16 March. This led to a number of issues involving job security for our co-workers, limited availability of raw materials, remote working, co-worker turnover and increased absenteeism. Productivity dropped and costs increased, all while we were onboarding a new customer.
In short, as the world was changing, I underwent an accelerated management course. This was also a breakthrough moment for Ikano Industry, our organisational structure has changed. It feels like I jumped into deep water and now I’m finally learning how to swim!
What will Ikano Industry be like under your leadership?
My vision for Ikano Industry sides with our sustainability strategy and based on 3 pillars: people, business and planet.
- People: I would like the foundation of Ikano to be made up of committed and motivated people, so that Ikano, with a strong value-based culture, is an attractive and inclusive place to work for.
- Business: I would like Ikano to be a company based on the latest technologies, tools, machines, and in combination with optimised production processes and attention to the efficient use of raw materials for production. Reduction of waste to the minimum and recycling will help us produce products for our customers at competitive prices.
- Planet: I would like to see us continue developing innovative technologies for mattress recycling and meet our sustainability goal to recycle the same number of mattresses per year as we produce.
“I’m always surprised when people ask how I became a plant manager. Usually they expect a simple recipe for success. Well, the recipe is simple, although it may not be attractive and spectacular: do your best with 200% commitment.”
Do you experience any hurdles as a woman leader in a male-dominated industry?
There is still lots of prejudice and unconscious bias against women leaders, but I believe a lot is changing. I am always surprised when people ask how I became a plant manager. Usually they expect a simple recipe for success. Well, the recipe is simple, although it may not be attractive and spectacular: do your best with 200% commitment. Consistency is key, in fact the English recipe for the perfect lawn often comes to mind: just sow, water and mow, sow, water and mow and do so for 400 years. If you’re doing your own thing, always do the best you can.
You are juggling the role as plant director and parent. Is it difficult?
I’ve always known that I wanted to combine being a parent and having a career. Both my husband and family have been very supportive about this. I’m proud that my daughter is learning the value of working and I hope she becomes inspired like I did from other women in the family, to never give up and always take up a challenge.