Continuous Improvement Coach

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Heidi, 29

Heidi works at the Kraft manufacturing plant and is responsible for the management of the people who make the biscuits. A big part of her job is finding ways to minimise waste during the production process. Find out more:

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> Job specs
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Fact file

Job description: Heidi is responsible for the day to day operations of biscuit production as well as identifying and resolving issues related to the safety, quality, taste and production costs of biscuits at Kraft.

Subjects studied: Maths (Space and Numbers), Maths (Change and Approximation), English, Biology, Chemistry

Further training: Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Health) - 4 years, Swinburne University

Salary: $70,000 to $90,000

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Profile

As part of her degree in Environmental Health, Heidi spent one year in an industry-based role as an Environmental Health Officer for a local council. This role involved undertaking inspections of food preparation areas (such as in restaurants and cafes) and delivering health promotion messages to the community.

While she learnt a lot from this experience, she also learnt that she wanted to work in a corporate environment involved in the manufacturing of food products. A graduate position as a manufacturing trainee with Arnott's saw her move through a number of areas within the business from sweeping the floor in the production area to working on major projects. In her words, this experience was "awesome".

She stayed with Arnott's for four and a half years, working in areas such as quality assurance, master planning and essential planning, before deciding to move on to a position at Kraft.

Heidi's job at Kraft has two main areas of responsibility. The first is to manage the people who work on the production line and make the biscuits. Every morning she meets with the staff to make sure there are enough people to run the site. She then meets with the leadership team and they review the last 24 hours of production. If there have been any issues, such as safety or quality problems, they work out how to resolve these problems. Once the line is running for the day, Heidi makes sure all the workers have what they need in order to do their jobs. She also tries to inject a little fun into the workplace.

Heidi's other main area of responsibility is to try to identify and minimise waste during production. Most of us would think of waste as being a biscuit that has been dropped on the floor, but Heidi has a very different definition of what waste means on the line.

"Waste can be anything from overproduction (like producing too many of a certain product that doesn't have a big market) to transport issues (for example, something may be picked up and put down ten times instead of just flowing from one process to the next). One of the most interesting examples of waste is over processing where more value is added to a product than what the consumer wants to pay for.

In order to identify waste and the impact on production and the company, Heidi often has to work with other departments, such as human resources, market research, sales, finance and scheduling. She also has to spend time watching how the biscuits get made. And of course she has to taste them to make sure they are OK.

Heidi is glad she made the move to manufacturing as she gets to set a direction and show people what is possible. "Every day is different," she says. "I get to see real results and I know that the more difference I make, the more jobs there are. It's a dynamic industry and you get to work with a whole range of people."

Heidi also gets to do quite a bit of travelling in her role. She will soon be attending a conference in Singapore and has travelled to Toronto and throughout Australia with work. She's hoping to keep moving with a manufacturing manager's role set in her sights within the next five years and is looking forward to becoming Site Manager one day.

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Job specs

Quality assurance inspectors examine manufactured products, primary produce and services to make sure they meet all standards of presentation and quality.

Duties

Quality assurance inspectors may perform the following tasks:

  • Study product specifications
  • Sample products to determine whether they meet specifications and quality standards, and take corrective action if necessary
  • Analyse quality assurance data and make recommendations for improvement
  • Train and assist operators to carry out their quality control functions
  • Check details of assemblies
  • Compile reports

Personal requirements

  • Enjoy clerical and administrative work
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Able to work independently
  • Eye for detail
  • Methodical approach to problem solving
  • Safety conscious

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Getting started

Australian Organisation for Quality VIC Inc
Management House, L2/181 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, VIC 3182
Tel: (03) 8598 9133
Email: office@aoqvic.org.au

Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (new window) (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).

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