Regina Tompros

ISME Undergrad Class of 2017

PepsiCo – Manufacturing and Warehouse

What does the company do?

PepsiCo is one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies with over $63 billion in revenue and a global portfolio of diverse and beloved brands. In addition to Pepsi, we produce leading consumer brands such as Frito Lay, Tropicana, Quaker, Gatorade, and many more.

Current Role: Exiting Campus Hire Rotational Program, Transitioning to a Production Supervisor

Campus Hire Rotational Program:

During the on boarding process, it was required of me to shadow four departments for six weeks at a time. The four departments were production, maintenance, quality and warehouse. The rotational program was a wonderful experience for me because it gave me the opportunity to develop relationships with our frontline employees and to know the business cold.

A Day in the Life as a Production Supervisor:

Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) is a 24-hour operation. There are three shifts in each day, 1st shift (5:30am-1:30pm), 2nd shift (1:30pm – 9:30pm), 3rd shift (9:30pm – 5:30pm). As a supervisor, I have a flexed hour schedule. I will work two 12 hour shifts in a row (Monday & Tuesday, 6am-6pm or 6pm-6am), will have off for two days (Wednesday & Thursday), work two 12 hour shifts (Friday & Saturday) in addition to another 12 hour shift on Sunday if the scheduled production hasn’t been completed. The following week I would only work two 12 hour shifts on Wednesday & Thursday.

Here is an example of a day I recently had:

3:00 PM: I will wake up in the afternoon a little before my shift to run errands, complete house work, and prepare lunch/dinner before I go into work.

5:00 PM: I like to try to leave an hour before my shift starts. At 5:00PM there is always traffic. I currently live in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, but I commute to the suburbs of Washington. D.C. for work, which is about 35 miles for me.

6:00 PM: As soon as I come in, I grab an updated production schedule. This schedule tells me the different flavors, amount of cases, and start times of each product we are running. There are four production lines total, two bottle lines, one can line and one ‘Bag in a Box’ line (for fountain soda).

6:05 PM: At this time, I follow up with the day shift production supervisor. I learn about the major downtimes and/or major breakdowns that happened during the day. Here I find out if we are behind or ahead according to the production schedule. I make sure that I have a good understanding of breakdowns that are currently happening so that way I can try my best to troubleshoot when I am out on the production floor.

6:30 PM: I quickly check and respond to my emails. Then I take a walk on the production floor to each machine center. I do this to say hello to each operator and to make sure they know I’m their supervisor for the evening.

8:00 PM: At this time I will make the 3rd shift rolling schedule to notify each operator which machine center they are assigned to. Before I do this, I check to make sure we do not have any call-outs before 3rd shift begins. This is important because I need to know who I have to ask on 2nd shift to stay over into 3rd shift. Sometimes I have to force the least senior operator to stay, which can sometimes be stressful. I also make sure that I am prepared for any training I have to give to each operator during the pre-shift meetings. For example, I recently gave a training on how to properly exchange propane tanks on forklifts.

8:30 PM: I will make the lunch break schedule for each operator on 3rd shift. It is critical that I try to keep each line running during lunch time in order to reduce downtime. This is the hardest challenge for me at the moment and sometimes it can’t be done so the line will have to shut down.

9:30 PM: Conduct pre-shift meeting for the 3rd shift frontline employees. Give an update on the status of each line, whether we are ahead or behind. Report on major downtimes and breakdowns. Give trainings.

10:00 PM: Safety check. Ensure that each operator is wearing their personal protective equipment when out on the production floor.

10:30 PM: Next I will review downtime in our Production Tracking System and certify the products we’ve produced in our National Inventory System for the entirety of 2nd shift. I submit a final downtime report email to my boss, department managers and other supervisors, summarizing the downtime that happened on 2rd shift.

11:30 PM  – 4:30 AM: In this time, I make sure I have a constant presence on the production floor by driving line efficiency and troubleshooting equipment when possible. In this time, I will also work on small projects when possible, for example setting up meetings for our Culture and Inclusion Committee, or working on reducing production case breakage. I find time to take a quick break to eat too.

4:30 AM: Prepare for 1st shift’s pre-shift meeting. Make staffing arrangements if needed.

5:30 AM: Conduct 1st shift pre-shift meeting.

6:00 AM: Review downtime in our Production Tracking System and certify the products we’ve produced in our National Inventory System for the entirety of 3rd shift. During this time, I will also handoff with the day shift supervisor to make sure they know of any issues that came up during my shift.

7:00 AM: I submit a final downtime report email to my boss, department managers and other supervisors, summarizing the downtime that happened on 3rd shift, and get ready to leave work.

8:00 AM: I am home and I fall asleep as soon as I get in.

My biggest challenge:

Being a production supervisor is challenging not because you have to manage equipment and machinery but because you have to manage people. Supervising 30 employees at a time is difficult when you are one person. What I hope for myself is to always act professionally and remain calm at all times when having to strike difficult conversations with people. It is my job to designate work to others, and it is difficult when others will resist.

What is my end goal?

When I was going through each rotation, my favorite department was the quality department. I enjoyed this department because I was in a more technical position. In the production side of the business, where I am now, it is mainly about people managing which is stressful. I feel that the quality department is more of a technical role where I can just be focused on managing our products. In the future, I would like to hold a corporate position within the quality department and manage various plants, not just the plant I’m in now.

Most surprising thing that I didn’t expect coming out of college:

I thought that I would be working a typical 9-5 every day and only 40 hours a week but manufacturing is totally different. Some weeks I have worked upwards to 60 hours. Again, PBG is a 24 hour operation and there are people working while you are sleeping!

Last Advice:

If you would like to consider a job in manufacturing, you have to know how to lead people in order to succeed. You also need to have thick skin and perseverance because there is a lot of pressure on you to motivate employees and drive efficiency.

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