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Meet Werner - Plant Director in South Africa
"MDLZ has abundant resources to personally learn and become competent in the necessary skills"
Werner Thetard, Plant Director, Port Elizabeth and Eswatini, SSA BU
Monday, March 27, 2023
Can you explain your role in MSC?
I am the Plant Director for the multi-category 30,000t Port Elizabeth Site (Chocolate, Gum and Candy) and the 17,000t Matsapha Plant (Gum and Candy) in Southern Africa
What makes it exciting?
No 2 days are the same manufacturing our products. Furthermore, in SSA our employees have rich and diverse cultures, multiple languages and different backgrounds. Mostly, we enjoy working together in teams to deliver “Snacking Made Right”. In essence, “working daily among our people” makes it exciting.
How does a typical day look like?
Normally, I will arrive at the plant very early, and do a plant gemba to “take the temperature” and “check the pulse”. In IL6S, our Plant Leadership teams are encouraged to “walk the floor” and solve problems with the core teams. Then, we review the latest performance and clarify upcoming priorities during the Daily Management meeting. The rest of the time is spent collaborating with cross functional teams to develop and deliver the business strategies.
I make every effort to connect with each of my team members every day.
What has been the most complex MSC project you worked on?
Fortunately, our products are much more complex to make than people realise. As such, leading a major capital investment program in 4 sub-saharan sites over 3 years in multiple categories was probably the most complex. This included Chocolate, Gum, Candy and Beverage investments.
How have you grown at MDLZ?
In my career at Mondelēz , I held various roles between technical/process, business development , production management and plant management. For a period, I left the company for an end-to-end supply chain directorship role in cosmetics. The experience and development gained from the combination of these moves has been invaluable in my return to Mondelēz.
What have been projects that helped you grow in your role and career?
The launch of Integrated Lean Six Sigma on a Lead site as Plant Director
How do you deal with workload (flexibility) and how is MDLZ supporting this?
Planning my week is critical. I ensure that the important engagements are well prepared for; and expect my colleagues and teams to do the same. This avoids unnecessary time wasted.
How has working in different functions/countries/sites help you develop professionally and personally?
Working across all the functions within the supply chain and extensive engagements with the commercial teams has helped me understand the key success factors across the functions for Mondelēz to be successful. The exposure to the employees in different countries also teaches one to be aware of your own behavior and personal impact – what is acceptable in one culture could be completely the opposite in another.
How is your function supporting our sustainability agenda?
The plants are constantly evaluating opportunities to work towards zero losses. This includes our ESG initiatives. In the plant we focus on reducing waste, recycling and investing in green energy as we work to Net Zero. Likewise, our CSI initiatives and focus on culture through #Glint Action Plan, #Impact Teams, #Mentoring initiatives are centered around our employees and community engagement in MDLZ
How is MDLZ (or your manager) supporting your development
Mondelēz has so much to offer…..I often remind my team – if you have a dream or career aspiration the opportunities are available at MDLZ. It is all about putting one’s hand up and ensuring one is being equipped with the right skills/experience to make an impact in one’s current (and future) role(s).
How do you see the future of supply chain at MDLZ
IL6S will become more and more embedded as the way of working and, in parallel, as we digitize our E2E supply chain, the skills we need will continue to change. Fortunately, MDLZ has abundant resources to personally learn and become competent in the necessary skills to keep up.
Why should someone join MSC?
We make and move stuff that people love. Its pretty cool to chat about making a chocolate or a candy or a biscuit or a gum with friends around the dinner table because most people are excited by the topic of conversation. In addition, our MDLZ Culture and Sustainability pillars creates lots of good news out there and within MDLZ. Its easy to be a proud MDLZ employee
What is your favorite MDLZ product (any childhood memories you can share)?
Its hard to beat a Glass and a Half of Cadbury Dairy Milk.