The Canadian Corporate Management Trainees had the amazing experience of visiting our company-owned production plants in Mount Royal and Ingleside as well as the Vaudreuil distribution center.  These visits were the core of our Supply Chain and Operations week, giving us an in depth understanding of our supply networks. We finished the week in the classroom, learning about the different functions within supply chain and the integral role they play in getting products on shelves.

The production plant visits gave us the opportunity to see how our products are produced, allowing for a deeper understanding of the impact of product decisions on the plants. Meeting with plant managers and having them walk us through each aspect of the plant was enlightening. Their jobs are complex as they balance technology, personnel, and product in their everyday decisions. The biggest takeaway from the production plants was that safety cannot be compromised. Safety for plant managers is twofold; the safety of the employees working in the plant and the safety of the end consumer of our products are paramount and cannot be compromised. The safety measures in the plant are continuously looked at to ensure that both consumers and employees stay safe. This includes the use of safety practices and equipment such as “Lock-Out, Tag-Out”, metal detectors, and x-ray machines.

Our visit to the Vaudreuil distribution center provided an in-depth look at how our products go from plant to store. The sheer size of the center was impressive – holding millions of pounds of products and moving those products 24/7. The visit helped us understand how complex our distribution network is and that there are opportunities to further improve the efficiency of our system. Our CMT cohort looks forward to tackling those opportunities.

The overarching takeaway from these visits was that without our front-line workers, our company would not be where it is today. Everyone that has a role producing and distributing our products to our customers and consumers are the lifeblood of the company. Our group was extremely humbled by the work done at the plants and will better incorporate their concerns and opinions when making decisions at HQ.

Apart from the plant visits, we had two great days in the classroom learning from our Supply Chain leaders. Supply chain has so many inputs and outputs that it can seem overwhelming, but the team does a wonderful job of maintaining the proper ebb and flow through their hard work. Sitting through some of the daily team meetings, it became apparent how interconnected the supply chain team is. They must understand every aspect of their business and plan accordingly. The cross-functional work is also apparent, as decisions made within Marketing and Sales can have a significant impact on the supply chain, so open communication is essential.

Our immersion in supply chain gave an understanding of the often unseen mechanics of our company, which will be invaluable to our understanding of the business moving forward. A humbling and enlightening plant visit experience showed the importance of our front-line operations and the classroom learnings helped us understand how Operations is the mortar that keeps the foundation of the company together as we aim to build a bigger and stronger company in the future.

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