"Working at Safran makes me proud and is a personal triumph."
Siham, 39, is a woman who is very fulfilled in her job. As the head of two departments at Matis Aerospace, the Moroccan joint venture of Safran Electrical & Power and Boeing specializing in the manufacture of electrical harnesses, this accomplished manager supports her teams on the path to operational excellence. Her journey is bound to be a real motivator!
What is your professional background?
I graduated from the Ecole Nationale de Commerce et de Gestion in Tangier. When I finished studying, my first position was as a procurement planner at a Moroccan subsidiary of the Procter & Gamble group, which taught me how to be part of a multifunctional team and a multicultural environment. I then supervised planning, sales and operations at Cadbury Kraft Foods, where I took on my first managerial responsibilities. After two years, I applied to Matis Aerospace and I've been there since.
Why did you choose Matis Aerospace?
I've always been interested in the aviation industry, but when I started my career the sector wasn't very developed in Morocco. In 2010, things were very different. A real sector was emerging and I wanted to be part of the adventure. When I was offered the chance to head up the supply chain, I admit that the very broad scope of the position frightened me a bit. But I took up the challenge and I don't regret it. Matis Aerospace is a company where you're given the means to act, to change things, to experiment in order to improve, etc. There's a real dynamic and you're always learning. Also, after four years I was given responsibility for the Boeing department and, for the last year, responsibility for the "Engines" department as well.
What are your responsibilities today?
As the head of the Boeing and Engines departments, I oversee a very broad range of activities: managing customer demand, planning and contracts, supervising production in the workshop, shipments to the end customer, the customer relationship, production transfers that take place from other Safran Electrical & Power factories to ours, and lastly managing the roadmap of improvement projects. All this involves managing around 350 people. I'm a member of the operational committee, which brings together the directors and the heads of department. On the committee we track the performance indicators, as well as address more strategic subjects.
What do you like about this job?
The notion of the supply and production chain, the need to continually adapt to different contacts and the cross-functional vision have made me really like this job and all its complexities. But what I like the most is the daily human contact with the teams, seeing them evolve every day and supporting them in their development, both in the direct management of executives and through the connections I form with the employees at the workshop. I know all of them personally and for me it's very important to maintain this close relationship.
Your aim is to make Matis Aerospace the Engines center of excellence of Safran Electrical & Power, what does that involve?
That's correct, we want to become the benchmark in manufacturing harnesses for the engine programs. It's a very strong ambition of the "Engines" department, which I'm proud to lead. This involves successfully carrying out the transfer projects that we're given, in line with the time and quality constraints the customer sets, while also making sure that Matis Aerospace is profitable. We proved ourselves on the Boeing 787 and the TP400 engine powering the A400M, we're currently working on the A330neo and I'm convinced we'll achieve our goal thanks to the efforts of all the multifunctional teams, which set an example every day through their involvement and their quest for excellence. We've already received the silver "Boeing Performance Excellence Award" five times, which is a difficult award to get from Boeing. This is testament to our ability to aim for the highest level of excellence.
Have you encountered difficulties in managing your teams as a woman?
No, I've never had a problem at Matis Aerospace. Also, when I work I forget that I'm a woman and I think my colleagues do too! We're all on board with a common vision and ultimately we have the same goals.
You're involved in volunteering initiatives, what does that mean for you?
That's right, I've helped disadvantaged families in connection with two volunteering organizations. It's something I find very fulfilling, although my work responsibilities stop me from spending as much time on it as I'd like! I like to help put a smile back on people's faces, to improve someone's daily life, even if only in a modest way. I believe you have to start with the changes that are within our reach. This also encourages me to always listen and show empathy as a manager.
How do you see the rest of your career?
I love my current job, but I'm open to opportunities that might present themselves at Matis Aerospace, in other Safran subsidiaries, in Morocco or in other countries. I know there are a lot of opportunities in the Group and I'll be proud to continue contributing to its growth.
- © Cyril Abad / CAPA Pictures / Safran