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Current position: Production Manager, Crop Science, Marle
Joined Bayer in: 2003
"Working in a production plant is very down-to-earth. Every day you are producing things, carrying out projects, managing problems, etc."
You've been with Bayer for 12 years now. Were you cut out for manufacturing?
I did my final internship in 2003 in what was then the Global Packaging Department in Vaise (Lyon), when Bayer took over Aventis CropScience. I was subsequently recruited by the industrial facility in Villefranche to organize the return of certain volumes packaged by subcontractors. I then worked in the Global Packaging Department in Monheim (Germany) as support for the packing and packaging component, at the Villefranche and Marle facilities, which I was not familiar with. So I've always had some connection with manufacturing, even though it was not my original intention.
The turning point came three years ago, when you returned to France and more specifically to Marle...
I wanted to get some experience in a more operational role. I began with developing the production methods, then went on to set up a new department - Operational Excellence - which is now being used by all of the facility's departments. More recently, I was given the opportunity to become Production Manager.
Being at the center of a plant, with such a wide variety of professional fields, allowed me to dig deeper into the people aspect of management, not just the project angle. And then, working in a production plant is very down-to-earth. Every day you are producing goods, carrying out projects, managing problems, etc.
There is a lot to say about the resources Bayer allocates to R&D. What is the situation for its production plants?
Each facility is allocated an annual budget to buy equipment and invest. At Marle, we can propose investments that are rapidly profitable, so we have received substantial financing over the last four years. The facility has cutting-edge packaging technology: mainly automated lines with new-generation robots, which helps make us competitive.
And yet there is this lingering idea that working in a production plant carries less prestige than working in the headquarters...
That's not so at Bayer. On an industrial site like ours, there are very real opportunities to learn several professions and be involved in the innovation process and in mid-term industrial strategy. A production plant has to be constantly evolving to stay competitive. It's very motivating and makes you feel you're contributing to its overall success...