Directeur de production, France
Joining Smurfit Kappa - Why ?
In 1990 I decided it was time to get serious. Up to my leaving school and 1990 I had made the most of my adult life staying for periods of time in Canada and America, basically using temping and semi permanent jobs in the UK to pay for my life of travel and discovery. I finally decided that I would either continue with my studies, having gained a place at Leicester University, or try full time employment with challenges and serious career prospects. After taking this ’’ life changing ‘’ decision I sent off my CV to many different Organizations, started knocking on as many doors as possible and waited for the replies. I received the usual ‘’ Dear John ‘’ letters along with some very interesting offers. One that caught my eye was from the then named Jefferson Smurfit Group - I was invited to an interview at one of their plants. I called the ‘phone number supplied and made arrangements to meet a Production Manager. Two days later I found myself looking at a 120 meter corrugator running at 300ml and thinking that’s for me ! During the interview I explained that I had hoped to continue with my studies – would my future employer be interested in covering the costs of night school ? Yes was the answer – 6 years later I was awarded a Degree followed by an MBA.
Working in Smurfit Kappa – Typical Day
I am now a Production Manager in a Box Plant – so I don’t have a typical day ( which is one of the attractions of the job ! ) However, I arrive each day at around 07h00 in the morning and will always walk round the plant to meet my colleagues that are on shift and have been present since 04h00. I use this plant tour not only to talk with operators and listen to what they have to say, but to look for and talk about Safety Issues. The 3 main challenges that have evolved dramatically in the time I have been with SKG are the Group’s approach to Safety, Quality and Cost Take Out ( which includes production gains ). These three goals alone will keep any Production Manager busy for as many hours a day as he or she can put in ! A typical Production Manager in France will be directly responsible for the Production, Maintenance, Planning, Paper, Transport and Shipping Teams - Daily you work with the Sales, Quality and Finance Teams.
As with any Organization we can not run without our people. They are our most important asset and quite rightly I think Managing people accounts for most of any "typical" day.
I have now worked in three plants during the 20 years I have been with the Group. With my first Plant I was taken on as a Production Planner. I knew very little about packaging and everything was new for me. The person I was replacing left suddenly for personal reasons, a week after I had started, so I had to learn fast. One of the common threads that I have seen throughout my working life at Smurfit Kappa is the ethic of pulling together if there is a problem and working together to make things happen - this I discovered from week one.
Two of the moments I will remember the most so far are going to Dublin with my Plant Manager to collect the most improved plant Safety Award for 2009 and the day that my request to be transferred to a Plant in France from the UK was accepted.
I have now had the pleasure of working in the UK and being Responsible for the Planning / Paper Dept. and going on to be the Corrugator Manager. I then moved to France to become Responsible for Production in a Box Plant. I then moved to another French Plant to become Production Manager for two years before moving back to my original plant in France – again as Production Manager. As yet I do not know what the future holds, I made my wish list known in my last yearly appraisal so it’s wait and see for the moment. The good news for any budding recruit to the SKG is that there is no ceiling on what you can go on to achieve and many diverse career paths available.