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Going her own way

When Maria Levin joined DACHSER as a warehouse logistics trainee in 2013, she was the first woman ever to train in that area at the company’s Alsdorf location. Now an instructor herself, she helps onboard new employees, more and more of whom are women.

Maria Levin loves to be in action
Maria Levin loves to be in action

Travel is Maria Levin’s greatest passion. She’s already looking forward to planning trips again for herself and her friends once the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted. So it makes sense that the 32-year-old works at DACHSER’s Maas-Rhein logistics center in Alsdorf, near the German city of Aachen. “Here’s where I can do my part to make sure goods set off on their journey and arrive on time,” Levin says. “What’s so fascinating about logistics is that it’s never boring and there are new challenges to master every day."

And mastering challenges is precisely what Levin has been doing her entire life. Born in Omsk in Siberia, she emigrated to Germany with her parents in 1997. Making a new start in a different country was of course difficult, she recalls, “but I wanted to get ahead.” And it was with this sense of determination that after finishing school, she set out to build her career. After spending a year working in France, she tried her hand at jobs in sales, online retail, and manufacturing. Then she came across an advertisement for a job at DACHSER.

"As part of the application process, I was invited to intern for a week helping the day shift with incoming goods. I didn’t have any logistics experience, but I liked it immediately,” Levin says. On August 1, 2013, she began her training in warehouse logistics in Alsdorf. She remembers how her colleagues immediately welcomed the first woman to work in that area at that location: “Of course I had to assert myself in what is essentially a man’s world, but everyone was very open and helpful.”

Team building in the treetops

Levin still has fond memories of her traineeship. One of the highlights was her introduction to pick-by-vision using virtual-picking glasses. She also recalls the great atmosphere at the team-building events for trainees from her DACHSER branch: “One time we went to an adventure park and even our branch manager joined us up in the trees. That kind of things allows you to see your managers in a whole new light.”

“The human element still matters here. There’s always room to find a solution that works for everyone.”

Levin still feels that the camaraderie among employees is one of the best things about working at DACHSER: “The human element still matters here. There’s always room to find a solution that works for everyone.” Levin says she has benefitted from this flexible attitude in recent years, for instance in planning her work schedule. Since 2018, Levin has also been studying in her free time for an advanced logistics qualification. To support her in this, her team management works with her to find a shift schedule that suits her needs.

Maria Levin quickly asserted herself in the formerly male-dominated world of warehouse logisitics
Maria Levin quickly asserted herself in the formerly male-dominated world of warehouse logisitics

Recognizing potential

Credit should of course be given to DACHSER in Alsdorf for recognizing the vast potential of this smart individual. Levin has now risen to the position of Deputy Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser. She is also responsible for monitoring cargo securing for outbound goods. And since 2019, she has been in charge of onboarding for new warehouse employees: “I’ve put together a handout for new recruits and I conduct training courses.” In addition, she makes herself available in the warehouse, allowing others to benefit from her expertise. “I also collate and evaluate statistics so that we can continuously improve how we organize our logistics processes.”

This is especially important during the coronavirus crisis, making sure people are observing distancing guidelines and taking preventive measures such as washing their hands regularly and disinfecting surfaces. Nevertheless, everything has to run like clockwork. “We still work as a team, of course—only now with a ‘together at a distance’ approach. We’re all happy that our work behind the scenes is playing an important role in keeping the economy and everyday life going. And we feel that our efforts are genuinely appreciated,” Levin says.

During these difficult times, she continues to go where she is needed and enjoys how varied her job is. Levin also likes that there are now more women in logistics than when she started at DACHSER: “Back then, I was the only woman in my area, but now more and more women are joining our ranks.” Due to its proximity to Belgium and the Netherlands, DACHSER’s Alsdorf location definitely has plenty to do: even in the Covid-19 era, goods still have to make their way to those two countries as well as to destinations within Germany, not to mention transports to other European countries. A perfect fit for our travel enthusiast Maria Levin.   

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