Kevin, Area Manager, Castleford Factory
I graduated in 1994 with BSc Engineering Management from the University of Hertfordshire. Having always been interested in manufacturing and manufacturing systems, I chose to join Nestlé in 2001 to gain exposure to a wider variety of processes, products and systems and to build a career with a larger company.
I spent two years as an Industrial Performance Specialist within Nestlé's Production and Technical team, working on projects across all the UK factories, then one year as Industrial Performance Manager preparing the vision for the Halifax Factory Shopfloor Change Programme. I then spent four years as an Area Manager implementing that change programme and managing a team of 200 people in the production of Easter eggs and Easter confectionery.
In a large factory, particularly one as seasonal and high paced as Halifax, the challenges were varied and constant. Managing the manufacture and supply of Quality Street sweets to the packing factory is a complex business, so when you add the complication of producing 20 million Easter eggs at the same time, you can see the attraction for a manufacturing professional.
I've recently moved on to a bigger role managing the Castleford site which produces After Eight, Toffee Crisp and Drifter. Again this is another exciting challenge, mixing the seasonal production of After Eight with the year round demand for Toffee Crisp and Drifter.
The requirements of the Technical function are well defined and most of what we do has a clear instruction or standard. Maintaining compliance and delivering the high standards that consumers expect in an ever changing market is the toughest challenge but the involvement in delivering a product that everyone is familiar with is very rewarding. Training and Development varies depending on your role and your level but, essentially, your own development is your responsibility. Nestlé provides plenty of opportunity and support, you just need to be proactive and make the best use of the tools that are around you.
Industrial Performance (IP) has allowed me to see the whole UK manufacturing operation and build a network of contacts across the business. It provided me with a great introduction to the different functions and was good preparation for a Nestlé operational management role. Looking to the future, my personal development is towards Factory Manager at some point, managing my own factory or group of factories and my current role is a good step towards gaining the experience I need to move onto that.
Nestlé people are generally high calibre professionals, with great characters everywhere and skills drawn from every source. If you need something there's always someone, somewhere who can help. Like them, I definitely feel that if you do something that you enjoy and are passionate about, you'll stay motivated and ultimately happier at work - and happier outside work too!