A month after graduating with a chemistry degree, Novie’s uncle notified her of a vacancy in BMJ. She then moved to Jakarta and waited for their call back for about another month while helping her aunt’s business for the time being. After getting her feedback, she started working permanently for BMJ in June 2006 as an incoming supervisor. It was the start of a fifteen years journey of career growth. Right now, Novie serves as the offset’s quality control superintendent.
“The journey is truly the destination.”
Quality Control (QC) is simply a term for reviewing and optimizing the production to meet the company’s output criteria. It is also part of the QC’s job to ensure the products are received by customers with the intended quality. The absence of our quality control would not hinder the production process. However, our team is essential. Figuratively, quality control functions as the brake of the company. There is a constant tendency to hit the gear uncontrollably in this workstream, and just like a car with a brake failure, the production process could also skid out of control without our presence. That is where we step in to make sure everything is in line.
It is difficult to summarize my daily routine at work in a simple way. I would illustrate a typical day at the offset similarly to being in a rollercoaster at an amusement park, where we experience unpredictable ups and downs along the ride. One moment may appear perfectly calm, then in a snap of a finger, things could go completely awry. In a typical scenario, my morning starts with a 15-minute meeting with the quality team, the production team, the planning team, and the factory team to discuss possible improvements from the previous shifts. At 9 AM, we move to a bigger meeting with the leads from the operation team, where we would brainstorm the strategies for the production and the delivery process. These meetings are essential to keep up with the ever-changing product designs and setting them up altogether to fit in the process. That is why, I would say, in this line of work, we need to be quick and agile at all times.
I aim to duplicate a concise understanding of quality standards to the production team to achieve quality assurance, meaning that the quality procedures and services are more systematically monitored during the process. With the quality team and the production team having different priorities, it is fairly hard for us to see eye to eye: the production team’s goal is to meet the quantity demand while our team strives for quality. Our biggest issue is to remain in good coordination despite our differences because, at the end of the day, both teams are responsible for any defects regarding the end products.
I was a young woman with zero prior work experience when I first started. It was hard for me to break through in an environment where men dominate. They were men with prominent positions and years of experience in the field. As my job back then requires responsibility in managing their work, there were many instances where I got looked down upon, and my skill was questioned. Additionally, by being new in town, culture shock is one of the issues I encountered during the first year of my career in BMJ. No doubt it was quite a stressful time for me. However, this feeling of certainty, knowing that I belong here, was motivating. I knew precisely the parts I was lacking, and I needed their share of experience to fill in the gaps. Through this realization, I understood that the ultimate key to making my way here is by getting rid of my ego. With that in mind, I planned my next steps carefully.
I followed and observed them until I noticed the key that is fundamental in this job. Learning the basics from their daily activity helped me comprehend the ethical principles in this job better. When I eventually had everything mapped out, I just needed to find the right time to show what I had learned through my skill. As clueless as I was, I still needed to be firm and thick-skinned. I agree that men tend to rely more on logic and women on intuition and emotion. Thus after being placed here, I always try to keep my train of thought logical when dealing with my coworkers. I think discovering the key to this job was crucial for my growth. Once I got the hang of it, the rest became a highway.
“As if we are intentionally being thrown into the deep end to learn how to swim.”
BMJ is the perfect place to learn where we can learn everything we need to know from practical experiences. Those experiences during my early years at BMJ have made me a perfectionist and a fast-paced individual. Having been working in my current position for about two years now, the things I have experienced never cease to surprise me. I am not one for an unpredictable working environment, but I am grateful for my former mentors and the experiences they gave to prepare me physically and mentally for the future.
Sometimes, people cannot help but give themselves less credit than they deserve, which applies to me as well. I would have never realized what I am capable of were it not for those experiences. I came to understand that it is okay to try, and when you hit rock bottom, you deserve to spare yourself some break. It is a much-needed interval to gear you back to another day of work.
With no remote work being enforced for the offset team at the moment, I still need to stand by during the regular working hours. I do not mind going to work each morning if it means keeping the ball rolling the way it is supposed to be. Some people work for a fortune, but my definition of fortune may be a little different. Family is the sole reason I have been able to get out of my bed each morning over the last decade. I find the meaning of fortune in their smile and joy, and I work for that kind of fortune.
With ISO 45001, BMJ is at another step to ensure that we do not only aim to become your number one partner in the cigarette industries but also aim to be the number one partner for our stakeholder’s health and safety.
Novie Handriewatti is a Quality Control Superintendent who is built of principle. The sense of approval she felt after combining her principle and skill stayed with her and influenced her future career choices.