The Ops Trainees are now half way through the second week of the program. While the first week presented the cohort with the overall Kraft Heinz structure and mentality, the second week focused on the daily operations of the plant.
The second week officially began after the end of the Glenview visit, as we got to experience our first weekend in Chicago as a cohort. The trainees explored the city in many ways from the nightlife, to the Chicago Food Truck Festival, a Chicago Fire match, wandering on Lake Shore, and a trip to get authentic Dim Sum in Chinatown. It was a great opportunity to get to know everyone in the Ops program as well as members of the other cohorts personally, and forge relationships that will carry with us as we progress through the company.
For the plant visits, the cohort split into two; as half the trainees visited the Muscatine and Cedar Rapids (Iowa) plants, while the other trainees went to the Wausau and Beaver Dam (Wisconsin) facilities. I was placed in the group headed to Wisconsin for the week. We produce Parmesan, Feta, and Mac and Cheese packets in the Wausau facility. We met with multiple supervisors ranging from production, quality, maintenance, continuous improvement (CI), sanitation, and HR to get a snapshot on how a plant is run. In addition to learning about their roles and tasks with the company we also had a chance to walk the lines and shadow the operators during production.
It was exciting to finally see an operating plant after a week in the Aon Center. It provided a good preview of what lies ahead of us following our stint at corporate for training. The fast-pace work style and new daily challenges that come with running a production facility are significantly different from the type of work we have seen in headquarters and was eye-opening as we prepare for our projects.
As the week progresses we will be visiting the Beaver Dam facility to get another example of a production environment. Beaver Dam produces Philadelphia cream cheese products so it will be interesting to note the contrast between the two locations. On Friday, we will converge back in Chicago to join the group from Iowa and close the half-way point in the program heading into July 4th Weekend!