After an exciting four weeks in Chicago, all 17 Manufacturing Management trainees left to move to our respective manufacturing plants located throughout the country. While the goodbyes were bittersweet, it was comforting to know the skills we learned and the connections we made will be helpful as we begin to face challenges at our individual plants. Due to our intensive training, we are all far better equipped to tackle our projects now than when we first arrived in Chicago one short month ago.
For many, the first two days of week 5 was a flurry of moving across the country, finalizing apartments leases, and (semi) successfully assembling new furniture. Many of the trainees were moving into locations they had never been to before, or where they had only been for a few days earlier in the year, looking for housing. It was a hectic time to say the least. The plant that I was assigned to, however, is in Garland, Texas which is right outside of Dallas in the area I was raised. So, after spending Monday and Tuesday calmly getting settled back in, I was eager to start work at the plant on Wednesday.
On the first day, Isha, the other trainee working in Garland, and I were shown around various areas of the plant and given an overview of operations. The plant here focuses on the production of three products; Velveeta Skillets, Barbecue sauces, and Lunchables. While the Skillets and BBQ operations are impressive the largest portion of the plant is centered around the production of Lunchables, which is also where our Yellow Belt projects are focused. Lucky for us, this means that we get to spend most of our time in the vast refrigerated spaces where these operations occur, which has been an excellent way to escape the heat wave blanketing Texas this summer. Afterwards, we had the opportunity to shadow different managers during a special plant job fair, which included the screening and interviewing of prospective workers. From this we learned valuable lessons about the key qualities sought after in the talent pool available to the Garland plant.
The rest of the week was spent completing safety training and by getting further acquainted with the manufacturing processes by shadowing supervisors, line leads, and machine operators (some who have been working at the plant for decades). After three days at the plant, we realized that there is so much more to learn in the coming months, but we’re excited to continue our immersion and to begin making positive contributions.
Ketchup with us next week as we begin our first full week at the plants!