Meet Doosan’s Expert on Tracking Down Elusive Repair Parts
Lubos Mlynar is the Deputy General Manager of Parts at Doosan Machine Tools America and has been part of the team since 2000. “We have a lot of specialty products – things end users and dealers find difficult to locate,” he said. “I’m the last line of defense. They call or email me and I help them figure out the parts they need and track them down.”
Cold War Adventures
Lubos’ journey to our door was not your average string of past jobs on a resume. First of all, he had to break out of the Czech Republic, a communist country at the time. As he relates the story, “I escaped with my friends at age 22. We booked a ‘vacation’ to Yugoslavia, which was a semi-communist country at the time. If you wanted to go on vacation, you’d have to collect a handful of signatures to even be allowed to go…the mayor of your town, a teacher, a military person, etc. Then you’d have security agents traveling with you to make sure you were accounted for. So, it was not an easy task. We slipped out of our hotel at night, hitchhiked to the Italian border, registered with the immigration office and got the paperwork started to move on from there. I had my eyes on the United States. It was a beacon of freedom at the time.”
The Path That Led to Doosan
Going into the unknown was both exciting and challenging. Even learning English was a challenge. However, Lubos did have his soccer skills and landed a job as a right midfielder for a professional team in Philadelphia. “Then the league folded and I figured I had to work somewhere,” he recalled. “I got into machine tools by pure luck."
“A friend of mine got a job interview with a machine tool maker in 1985, but changed his mind. He asked if I would go to the interview in his place. I got the job and worked there for 15 years. Then they moved to a different state. I wanted to stay where I was, so in 2000 I joined Doosan.”
A Typical Work Day
Answering 250 emails and 50 phone calls a day from dealers and end users is normal for Lubos, plus a lot of internal work as well. Most of the communications he receives are to identify parts needed for repairs. He likes to say he can allow only one minute per problem. It helps that he can still remember part numbers from the 80s. “Relying on my memory saves a lot of time. It’s the only advantage I’ve got,” he laughed. While most parts are ordered by dealers thru the Doosan Portal, direct technical help is always available for difficult situations.
Speed is Essential
According to Lubos, every day is memorable. “If I get a call, it means someone’s in trouble and needs my help. There are 50,000 machines out in the field, and things happen. You have to be on high alert all the time. I try to take care of every single problem the same day. High volume production facilities (especially in the automotive field) need parts right away because if a line is down, it impacts production quantities.
“Doosan has a $50 million parts inventory, so 92% of parts get shipped out the same day. Another 4% are in stock at the Doosan factory, and that leaves the final 4%. On those rare occasions, I point them in the right direction to fix the machine. The important thing is always getting them back up and running.”
Do You Have a Favorite Model?
“We have hundreds of models right now, but I’d have to say my favorite would be a big lathe, like a PUMA 700, for example, which is typically used for the oil & gas industry.”
What’s Your Favorite Part of This Job?
“Helping people all day long is really rewarding. It’s a great feeling and most of the people are really thankful. Doosan is a good company. They know how hard you work and they treat you well. In 2018 they named me ‘Employee of the Year’ and sent me and my wife on a Caribbean vacation.”
Any Advice for the Next Generation?
“I would tell them to never stop learning. I went to night school for electronic engineering and technology. A lot of Doosan employees go to trade schools to learn the basics about engineering, mechanicals, hydraulics and pneumatics.”
Hobbies and Pastimes
Lubos has always been involved in sports, but hurt his knee playing soccer 2 years ago. “They told me ‘either stop playing or face having a knee replacement’. It was a tough decision for me to slow down, since it involved my tennis playing as well.” He still has his stamp collection to keep him busy. “I have some stamps dating back all the way back to the Austro-Hungarian empire. Not that they’re valuable, but it’s still a nice collection.”
Married for 35 years, Lubos and his wife have two daughters. The oldest is living in Manhattan, working in public relations. The youngest is finishing up her master’s degree.