What's your job about?
Universal Robina Corporation – Branded Consumer Foods Group is one of the Philippines’ largest food manufacturing company with a diverse portfolio of snacks and beverages. As a cadet engineer, I train across different departments (Quality Assurance, Supply Chain, Production, Finance, and Engineering) to be a holistic, full-pledged supervisor overseeing manufacturing operations.
Aside from the regular training, coaching, and learning sessions with managers and directors, I involve myself in different projects which revolve around the newly implemented initiative across all manufacturing plants, the Integrated Supply Chain Excellence (ISCE) Program. It is an exciting time to be in URC because of this program, as this aims to deliver superior business results. Under this are different pillars, but my projects now are especially focused on LEAN Manufacturing and Basic Equipment Care (BEC).
The LEAN Manufacturing is a methodology of continuously identifying, eliminating or reducing losses across the supply chain. For this, my projects include reducing the amount of rejects in the various processes of our confectionary line. On the other hand, BEC is a culture of finding and fixing machine defects to reduce forced deterioration and reduce possible breakdowns. For my involvement in BEC, I develop my capability across the different steps in BEC and assist our production departments for a smooth implementation of the program.
To sum it up, I train and learn from my mentors, and at the same time, lead and become a part of different projects that focus around the Integrated Supply Chain Excellence Program.
What's your background?
From the city of smiles, Bacolod City, I took a huge step for my future and went to study in UP Diliman – my dream school. I took up a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering because of my interest in Math and Chemistry, but just like others, I feel like I have been scammed. It’s so much more than chemicals and reactions so I really did find a difficult time adapting especially in a new environment. It got better when I joined the UP Chemical Engineering Society, Inc., which provided me with different opportunities to meet with very interesting people, execute projects, and lead. This organization also paved the way for my career here in URC.
Last January 2018, URC held its first-ever Business Insider Training Experience (B.I.T.E.), a 5-day learning boot camp open for all engineering students across the country. The 12 teams worked on case studies based on actual manufacturing scenarios in URC plants. Together with two of my best friends, we represented our organization and won as champions! Also, we were able to meet leaders in URC, including, Mr. Irwin Lee (President & CEO), Mr Poch Agnir (VP Integrated Supply Chain), and manufacturing directors who provided us with career insights and tips on professional life. In the end, we were offered a slot in URC’s Manufacturing Cadetship Program. It has already been 10 months since I joined the program, and true to what we experienced in the boot camp, URC is indeed a fun place to work with!
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Absolutely, yes. The program is not really about the degree program you had back in college. It would be a bonus if you were a graduate of Mechanical or Electrical Engineering, but for the most part of the job, anyone with leadership potential can do it.
Having a degree in ME or EE would help you better understand machine operations and troubleshooting, but these can be learned on the job through manuals, work instructions, and technical coaching. What’s essential here is the willingness to learn and engage with people, adaptability, critical thinking, and most importantly, leadership to deliver business needs.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
Probably the coolest thing about my job is that you are able to learn, train, and be able to actually initiate improvements. It’s like you’re back in college doing your undergraduate case study, but this time, with an actual impact on the business.
Although sometimes you’ll get your hands full, in the end, it’s definitely fulfilling to see improvements through your initiatives; may it be improved production efficiency because of your projects to eliminate losses or seeing an employee build his capability through various training programs and skill-building efforts.
What are the limitations of your job?
The essence of being a cadet engineer is learning the process and initiate ways to improve it. The amount of responsibility is manageable, with key deliverables including learning reports and project updates. The rest depends on how much effort you are willing to invest in your own development.
Probably the biggest limitation as a cadet engineer is that in terms of decision-making, authority, and resources, you are still reliant with supervisors/managers. It is also worth noting that due to the nature of the industry, and because the role involves hands-on training spanning different departments, you are obliged to follow their respective schedules, including Saturdays.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
If I were to go back in time to give advice to myself as a college student, I would probably tell myself these three things: