15 minutes with… Alfen's Josefine Schouten Hoogendijk: Improving the evolution of EV Charging
In honour of our EV Charging business line’s remarkable 15-year journey, we’re excited to kick off a series of conversations with the exceptional individuals driving our success. Join us as we talk to Josefine Schouten Hoogendijk, an Improvement Engineer in our After Sales department.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Alfen?
I am Josefine, an Improvement Engineer within the After Sales department in Alfen’s EV Charging Equipment business. I began my journey at Alfen as a Technical Support Engineer within After Sales. Our division handles everything post-sale, essentially after the charging station leaves our factory in Almere. As the go-to resource for product inquiries from installers and service requests from charge point operators, our job is to ensure the seamless functioning of Alfen’s charging stations.
My team is all about resolving complex problems and collaborating with developers to apply essential hardware and firmware modifications. My team operates as the Expert desk, connecting our research and development department to practical challenges. To do that, we examine service data and customer feedback to pinpoint trends, patterns and chances to enhance service quality and efficiency. We play an active role in refining processes to elevate service quality, boost customer satisfaction and reduce costs.
Could you elaborate on your responsibilities?
Absolutely! My current role as an Improvement Engineer centres around streamlining service requests and refining internal processes. This involves giving both internal and external stakeholders accurate information about changes in our products, new functionalities and issues. Our team knows manufacturing EV charging stations is not just about assembling products well; it’s about ensuring good service throughout their lifecycle too.
From the moment new products are in development, the After Sales team plays a crucial role. I’m tasked with defining service prerequisites and guaranteeing seamless serviceability for new products. For instance, new products and improvements should fit into our standard service processes, allowing our own teams as well as Field Service Partners to easily adapt to them.
Furthermore, I participate in minor product adjustments – like hardware changes that may impact functionality like revising controller boards – and I help with smooth knowledge distribution within Alfen Technical Support. This involves sharing updated information with our Field Service Partners (FSPs) or introducing new supplier insights when needed.
How does your work align with Alfen’s mission to accelerate EV adoption in Europe?
Our team works hard to ensure optimal charging station performance in the field. That means collecting data, improving internal processes and eliminating bottlenecks. Swift issue resolution minimises downtime and maximises uptime for customers. By delivering seamless solutions, we enhance EV experiences, fostering higher customer satisfaction and driving the EV culture forward.
How has the EV Charging industry evolved during your tenure at Alfen?
Over the past two years, I've witnessed how After Sales has expanded significantly, with teams emerging across Europe and process adjustments made to accommodate the growing base of EV charging stations.
Besides seeing growth in our teams in Europe, I’ve also seen product and process improvements and the introduction of new charging stations like the Twin 5, which represents a significant step forward in the evolution of public charging infrastructure. The Twin 5 is designed to seamlessly communicate and collaborate with EVs.
It's been an interesting experience to witness firsthand how these innovations are reshaping the EV charging landscape. Being actively involved in this dynamic transformation is truly inspiring.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Three months ago, I was asked to take on the role of Product Owner for the ACE Service Installer, a software program field technicians use to troubleshoot and configure chargers. This supplementary role aligns with the scaled ‘agile’ approach – which is all about setting clear goals to maximise value - that Alfen is embracing. As the Product Owner, I work with my stakeholders to decide what the best next development steps are. Key stakeholders are Product Management and the technicians in the field. The fact that technicians widely rely on the ACE Service Installer underscores its pivotal role in our operations.
How do you envision the future of EV charging and its impact on society and the environment?
Like many people, the evolving landscape of EV charging holds my attention. Just consider Alfen’s journey over the past 15 years, evolving from early prototypes in 2008 to a comprehensive range of chargers for homes, businesses, and public spaces today with more innovations coming.
Looking ahead, what fascinates me is the collaborative connection between EVs, charging stations, solar panels and the electricity grid. All these devices need to communicate with each other seamlessly for the whole system to work properly. And while a charging station might seem simple on the surface, it’s really a sophisticated computer orchestrating various devices and energy sources. Thankfully, there’s a bunch of brilliant minds tackling these challenges every day- and I have faith in their capabilities.
As these new scenarios unfold, I know my role in improving service processes and providing knowledge becomes increasingly crucial. I’m lucky to be part of the process that brings it to life.