It’s the last week of functional rotations for the CMTs and there is no better way to end it than a road trip to our manufacturing and distribution facilities in Ingleside and Montreal. We were split into groups of two and headed for a five hour drive eastbound.
My group arrived at Ingleside bright and early at 7 on Monday morning, excited to work in the plant and see it running first hand. Upon entering the facility, all we could smell was cheese, cheese and more cheese. There were lines for Natural Blocks, Natural Slices, Shredded Cheese, and we were all amazed by how efficient the lines were. These were giant automated machines making thousands of products at one time. We had visibility to the entire production process from beginning to end – we saw the trucks that the raw materials came in, where it was stored and melted, all the way to the finished goods and onto the skid. We had the opportunity to shadow some of the employees at the plants and work alongside them on their shift – their depth of knowledge was so impressive and it was very apparent the strategies from head office is communicated and funneled down to the frontline workers who are truly the executional experts.
Tuesday morning we arrived at our Mont Royal facility after several detours. Let’s just say that Côte de Liesse is extremely hard to find, and make sure you don’t miss your “slight left”. Mont Royal is where the rest of our portfolio is made. Operations were much larger, there are more lines, and many more people. In the morning we sat in on a meeting regarding product attainment…and it was all in French! Most of us could understand a few words here and there, but the key takeaway was eliminating the variance between planned and produced production. The CMT favourite production line is definitely the Cream Cheese – it looked like a rollercoaster and we followed it from the heating room to cooling room.
The final piece to the puzzle was in Vaudreuil, where all the finished goods are stored and distributed. The CMTs had so many questions – how are the goods stored, where is it stored, which items can be stacked and which cannot? Distribution is based on FIFO, first-in-first-out, and the employees are stacking pros who have a wealth of years in experience. They know it all.
The opportunity to visit Ingleside, Mont Royal, and Vaudreuil was so insightful. Seeing the facilities in person provided us with a holistic understanding of our supply chain and its abilities and challenges. If Marketing wants to introduce an innovation, we now have a better understanding of its feasibility at the plant; and when sales increases promotions and forecast, we now understand the inventory impacts that is funneled down to Supply Chain.
The past six weeks of immersive in-class training has truly expedited our learning of the overall Kraft Heinz business. No matter what function we are placed in, we will always be looking at every business challenge from multiple lenses. We have learned more in six weeks that we had anticipated and are eager to learn even more. By the end of the week, we were going to be placed in our first projects, but surprise! Training is extended for another week and the CMTs have been tasked with a very exciting project. Stay Tuned!