Christopher Claypool

IMSE Undergrad Class of 2017

PepsiCo Inc. (Gatorade Division)

What does the company do?

PepsiCo is one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies with over $63 billion in net revenue in 2016. PepsiCo offers products to over 200 countries and territories through a complimentary food and beverage portfolio that includes 22 brands that each generated more than $1 billion in annual retail sales for 2016.

Current Role: Supply Chain Senior Associate

How I got to my current role:

  • Manufacturing Engineering Internship (American Bath Group): May 2016 – August 2016
  • Supply Chain Sr. Associate (PepsiCo): July 2017 – Present

A day in the life of a Supply Chain Sr. Associate at Gatorade:

My current role consists of 7 departmental rotations within the Dallas Gatorade plant. During these rotations, I will be spending 4-5 weeks with the Quality Assurance, Maintenance, Warehouse, Production, Finance, Planning, and TPM/Engineering departments. Completing all rotations typically takes 6-9months. This is my time to gain as much knowledge as I can about how the business operates. Upon the completion of all rotations, I will have a better understanding of where I would like to be placed. However, almost all new hires that have an engineering degree are placed into a maintenance or production supervisor role.

6:30 PM: My days now start in the evenings so that I can get experience working with the off shift production supervisors. I am also working a continuous operations schedule where I will work 12hr shifts, but I’ll be off for 3-4days at a time. I start my night by receiving a pass down of information from the previous shift’s supervisors. Currently we have 2 production supervisors per shift. We discuss issues that caused unplanned downtime, what maintenance did to resolve the issues as well as any open items that still need to be resolved, and what the efficiency numbers of the lines were for the shift.

7:00 PM: Shift pass down meeting with our frontline team members. We perform group stretches, go over safety talks and watch outs, and then share a summary of how the production lines are performing.

7:20 PM: I use this time to check my emails as well as to check the plant’s production schedule to see what flavors we are running throughout the night and what changeovers that we will be performing on my shift.

7:30 PM: I head to the production floor to check how the lines are running. Normally I and the other production supervisor will split up the coverage. I will be focusing on lines 1 & 2 tonight.

8:00 PM: The filler on line 2 has a broken “finger”, a component that holds the bottles into place while it is being filled. I have to call for maintenance and stop the line while maintenance makes repairs.

9:00 PM: A mechanic notices a steam leak coming out of one of the major boilers in the plant. This leak is identified as a safety issue and therefore we have to shut down the boiler. Without this boiler the plant only has enough steam capacity to run 3 production lines. Steam is used in the process for the pasteurization of the Gatorade and for heat shrinking labels onto the 28oz bottles. Now it is up to me and the other production supervisor as to which lines we will be shutting down and de-crewing. We decide to keep lines 1, 4, and 5 running as these lines run 12oz and 20oz bottles, which is where a lot of our current demand is.

9:40 PM: I hear a batch deck operator calling for me on my radio. We’re about to do a flavor change and he needs me to issue him more batch sheets. Batch sheets contain the recipe for each flavor of Gatorade with information on how much of each ingredient to add to the 8000 gallon batch tank. It is my job as the production supervisor to issue the batch sheets, log the date they were issued, date used, shift used on, and flavor into a spreadsheet.

11:00 PM: Every 4hrs we are required to send out a report to all salaried staff which we call our Run Right Report. The report contains an hour by hour break down of each lines efficiency numbers and detailed explanation as to what caused poor performance.

3:00 AM: There was enough steam left in the boiler so that we could run out the product that was already in the batch tanks on lines 2 and 3. Now that the production lines are cleared out I can let my operators know they can clock out and leave.

3:10 AM: Send out Run Right Report.

6:30 AM: The next shift production supervisors have just came in and it is now time to give them the pass down from my shift.

7:10 AM: Send out the final Run Right Report and then it is time to head home!

Why did I choose PepsiCo?

The number of opportunities within PepsiCo is limitless. The company has locations all across the country in almost every state. This allows me to have the flexibility to live where I want without having to leave PepsiCo for another company. Another great reason to work for PepsiCo is that I love the products that they manufacture and it is very interesting to learn how your favorite snack food or beverage is made.

What’s the end goal?

Once I move into my role as a production or maintenance supervisor, I will be managing a team of 10-15 people. This will be great experience to add to my resume, but eventually I would like to manage projects instead of people. I had the opportunity to attend training to become certified as a Lean Six Sigma Kaizen Leader. This is the LSS certification below a green belt and is essentially the same material that is taught in Dr. Byrd’s IE 200 and IE 220 courses. Going forward I could pursue my Green Belt, Black Belt, and eventually become a Master Black Belt, which is a full time role in PepsiCo. In this role you work on large projects that at times take a full year to complete, but have the potential to save the company millions of dollars.

Least favorite thing about Gatorade:

Having to work on the off shift is a little challenging to get your sleep schedule adjusted to at first, but knowing this is only temporary for right now makes it a little easier. An upside of working on the off shift though is that this is where you can really gain some critical experience. The only management that is at the plant during these hours is the production supervisors, so when there is an issue on the floor it comes down to you to figure out how to resolve it and work through it.

My 2 cents

Don’t get caught up in titles. I had always thought that when I graduated I would have the word engineer somewhere in my title but this was obviously not the case. You have to remember that as an Industrial Engineer you are really on the fast track to management. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use the tools that you have learned in school. You are still greatly encouraged to use these tools every day to help create cost savings for the company. However, there are roles though in which all that you will be doing is using Industrial Engineering tools, such as being a Process Improvement Engineer or becoming a Master Black Belt. Ultimately, just remember to keep an open mind about all possibilities and don’t be afraid to take horizontal career leaps to try something new.

If you would like to learn more about my current role with PepsiCo please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text.

Start typing and press Enter to search