Lean Manufacturing Engineer talks continuous improvement both in her life and at Midea Group

Raquel Soares Profile Pic.jpg

Never one to sit back when she feels she has more to offer nor afraid to change her career when she believes it is right, Raquel Soares has always pushed herself to be the best version of herself she can be. For someone whose career has been defined by her drive for continuous self-improvement, it is perhaps no surprise that she eventually ended up working in the Continuous Improvement Team with Midea Group.


Raquel joined Midea in Brazil in 2017, where she initially spent around two years working as a quality supervisor at the factory in Manaus responsible for PQC and IQC. After two years, she felt she needed a change in career path and so she moved from a supervisor position into an analyst role.

As an analyst, she was in charge of checking incoming materials and she was able to visit China to audit suppliers and check new models. Despite this, Raquel felt she was capable of contributing more. “I spoke with my manager and they said they had plans for me and they invited me to move from the quality control area to the continuous improvement area. They told me they had this new project and they needed someone like me to kick it off”, explains Raquel.


On top of working on the new Continuous Improvement Project, Raquel was also chosen to lead the MBS Program. A link transformation project, MBS was an important program for the entire Midea Group that aimed to align processes between countries. It was a very exciting time for Raquel.


“We started to implement the projects at the Manaus factory and I loved the work. Having spent more than 15 years working in quality control, it was so exciting to work on improving those processes. I was talking with everybody, we were creating processes, and we could see the factory change in a good way,” beams Raquel with a proud smile.


Raquel and her colleagues good work did not go unnoticed either. “In 2021, we received awards from HQ for the work we had did. By 2022, I received a promotion for my involvement in the projects.”


The work that Raquel had done in both the Continuous Improvement Project and the MBS Program, made her an ideal candidate for the global talent rotation program. The program is an initiative set up by HQ to encourage colleagues to spend time working in other parts of the organization in other countries. Colleagues may move from HQ to overseas, overseas to HQ, or even from one overseas business to another, but the ultimate aim is to build these bridges within the organization so that colleagues can communicate with and understand each other better.


Raquel was perfect to become one of these bridges. Although she didn’t believe it was true when she first heard about it. “When I was first invited to come to HQ, I didn’t think they were really asking me. I thought they were just checking. But when I said yes and we started to discuss it further then I realized it was real”, recalls Raquel.


Raquel had been impressed with China ever since she first visited on a business trip back in 2013 and so the opportunity to work at HQ was something she was very much interested in. “I was really excited because I love the way they deal with things over there.”


Still, joining the talent rotation program was a big move for Raquel, but any nerves or doubts she had quickly disappeared when she arrived at HQ for her first day. “My first impression when I arrived was very good because I was received so warmly. They took me around to meet everyone in the office one by one and they took me out to lunch. They introduced me to colleagues with some very kind words and to be honest I was a little bit embarrassed because they were building me up so much. I thought they would have too high expectations of me.”


Raquel needn’t have worried, however, as she quickly realized the kind of workplace it is at HQ. “I expected that there would be a big separation between the boss and employee, but here it is like everybody is the same. You don’t see a big gap in the relationship and the way they treat each other.”


The talent rotation program gave Raquel the opportunity to work with people from all over the world. Where before she would mainly work with her team in the factory in Manaus and her counterparts in HQ, now she was collaborating on projects with colleagues from as far and wide as Egypt, India, and Argentina.


“I started to learn the importance of cultural differences. I need to understand the cultures of other countries so we understand the way they work and deal with things. Working with people from all over the world from HQ not only increases your professional experience, but also your life experience. In fact, it can completely change the way you look at things.”


Raquel may have only recently started the talent rotation program, but already she is feeling the benefits to our professional development. “I’ve been at HQ for 8 months but already I’ve had the chance to visit many places. I went to one factory that manufactured cars, another that packaged food. I was invited by one BU to share some cultural insights in a workshop. Midea invests a lot in its employees. I’m learning new things all the time.”


Not only does Raquel feel the benefit to her own career, but she can see the value the talent rotation program brings to the organization. “I think it’s very important for Midea to bring more people to HQ and to send more people from HQ to overseas. When we join this program then we become bridges between both sides and that’s hugely important for the success of the business.”


Raquel is just one of many such bridges being created by the talent rotation program. At Midea Group, a colleague can grow their career with the organization no matter what role or what place that may take them.