Name: Sabine W.
Title: Site Manager
Career Area: Production & Maintenance
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Education: Dipl.-Ing Lebensmitteltechnologie + MSc Management
“What I find most rewarding about my current role is the diversity of subjects and duties.”
Mutual respect and ethical practicesis the basis of any successful collaboration. A single person cannot achieve as much as a good team. Examples of this are successsfully implemented projects I was involved in such as the A-Force implementation (ERP-System) and setting up the new high-fructose line (LB42) in Barby.
Describe your work responsibilities and the importance of your role.
In my role as Site Manager, I have responsibility for all areas at the site. I have direct responsibility for Operations (Production Maintenance, Quality Control). My team is the local Management Team (LOMT) with whose support I monitor and direct the issues at the Hamburg factory.
Describe your day-to-day activities and the skills needed to perform well.
My day normally starts with a brief production meeting with reports on the past 24 hours, as well a briefly discussing that day. Then there could be a varying number of discussions on a wide range of subjects such as Stock Health Management, projects or on specialist subjects such as Atmosphere Explosible (ATEX), Environmental Health and Safety, Process Safety, Procurement etc. A second major area is reporting. And my third area of work is in management of my so-called “Direct Reports” as well as the Local Management Team (LOMT). In my role you need a good overview of business procedures, but also a technical/technological understanding of the production processes as well as basic financial knowledge. Among the so-called soft skills, I rank highly the ability to motivate and communicate and being a team player. In the role of Site Manager, however, decision-making, structured and strategic thinking and working are also very important.
Describe your career path. Where did you start and how did you get to where you are today?
After studying food technology I started as a process engineer in a corn starch factory which was then taken over by Cerestar. From 1994, I then worked as a process development engineer (PDG) in the wheat starch plant in Barby. The focus here was the optimisation of existing processes in terms of efficiency, throughput, water consumption, auxiliary consumption, etc. After about seven years, I moved to the area of glucose refinery and took over the role there of System Manager. Here the focus was on managing shifts, staff management and day-to-day operations. After a second course (distance university) leading to an MSc in Management, in 2009 I had the opportunity to take over the post of Plant Manager at the CTS (Cargill Texturizing Solution) plant in Hamburg. After about 2 years the post was then expanded by a number of duties and renamed Site Manager. At all stages of this career it was always important to me to be able to maintain the balance between family and career. A second key factor was the support of my line manager who always showed me, through feedback and challenging work, that he had confidence in me and my abilities even if I myself sometimes hesitated.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
What I find most rewarding about my current role is the diversity of subjects and duties. I can help shape things and have a say, but I still have contact with the staff in all areas and really see the success of my work every day. You require plenty of flexibility, understanding and empathy to be able to make the right decisions on all subjects as required. But even if you make mistakes you receive the necessary support to correct them and to learn from them.
Why did you choose to join Cargill and what keeps you here? In other words, how has a career at Cargill helped you to thrive?
I started my career at the old VEB Maisan factory in Barby which belonged to CPC until 1969. I joined the Cargil “family” with the takeover of Cerestar by Cargill in 2002. And that is precisely why I am still here: Despite the size there is still a “family feeling” in the plants and a terrific sense of belonging. A company of this size offers plenty of opportunities for development! The work is diverse and challenging. You can work internationally/globally and benefit from a large network of experts.
What advice would you give someone interested in a career at Cargill like yours?
If someone wants to launch their career at Cargill, I would always first recommend getting to grips with the values and business content. The question everyone should ask themselves is: Do I suit the company, or does the company suit me? If after studying you are not yet sure which job or post is the right one, it is advisable to join via a trainee programme or a training or an internship. Otherwise, it is up to each person to forge their own path and actively exploit the opportunities offered by Cargill.
Share an interesting tidbit about yourself such as hobbies, volunteerism, favorite foods or activities, accomplishments inside or outside of work.
A peaceful coexistence and a respectful attitude are very important to me. This is true in private life as well as at work. I love reading crime fiction and if have time I like playing tennis or badminton. Being on the Cargill Cares Council is also very important to me – I see it as a way of giving something back and helping people who are less well off than myself.