Renata Nogueira joined Vallourec as an intern more than ten years ago, before being hired full time as a product engineer. In 2014, she was offered a new role as a performance analyst, sparking her passion for Lean methodology. Now a senior performance analyst on the Industrial Excellence & Performance team in North America, she is leading the Lean cultural transformation across the company.
The goal of our team is two-fold: enhance employee development while driving performance improvements in quality, safety and competitiveness. We are responsible for managing the rollout of the Vallourec Management System* (VMS), which is built on Lean management principles.
I’ve been working with Lean continuous improvement for six years, in four different Vallourec facilities, and in two countries: Brazil and the US. By employing this framework, we aim to build a culture of continuous improvement. It focuses on eliminating waste to optimize people and processes, thus creating value for our customers and empowering employees.
I always liked science and math, and I decided early on that I wanted to work in engineering. I liked the challenge of combining technical knowledge with logical thinking and problem solving.
While studying industrial engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, I earned an internship at Vallourec. I was excited to be part of a team headed up by Ronaldo Sampaio, a steel expert, forward thinker, and my first mentor. The internship exposed me to different processes and enabled me to transition innovative technologies and methodologies from the classroom to the real world. The diversity of the experience, and the potential for growth, inspired me to rejoin the Vallourec group after graduation.
The value of the company comes from its people. I have worked with many brilliant, hardworking people, globally, who make the working day a joy. And I appreciate that there is a real focus at Vallourec on increasing the representation of women in leadership roles.
Internal mobility and international opportunities are also huge incentives; they provide a great chance to broaden your perspective, both personally and professionally.
But I would say the single most rewarding part of my job is seeing people’s growth and development once they apply the Lean continuous improvement mindset. They start identifying waste and are motivated and equipped with the skills to implement changes to reduce it.
While I have a wide-ranging skill set – determination, organization, rigor – I believe that two characteristics have been the key to my success: empathy and passion. I’ve worked effectively with people from different countries, with different interests and cultures. I believe in supporting people to reach their goals, no matter their background.
I am also not afraid to take risks. Leaving a secure job that I loved and moving to take up a position abroad was a risk – but I did it, and it paid off. With this mindset, I see myself advancing in my career in the Industrial Performance & Excellence team, making cultural changes and improvements on a global scale.
I would say: know your strengths, voice your ideas, and don’t overthink. And of course, when stressful situations inevitably occur, take a deep breath and keep things in perspective.
Also, remember to make time for other things. I have been really enjoying spending time with my family recently, and having great conversations with friends. I have a sweet six-month-old son at home, and I love knowing that he is waiting for me to get home so that we can have fun together.
I would say the single most rewarding part of my job is seeing people’s growth and development once they apply the Lean continuous improvement mindset.
*The Vallourec Management System (VMS) is the set of operating principles and standard practices implemented within the Group to achieve, maintain and continuously improve Vallourec's overall performance and meet the expectations of its stakeholders. The VMS addresses the quality of products and services we provide, the respect of our environment, and the occupational health and physical integrity of the Group's employees.