The beginning of my placement year

You might be wondering what I have done as a placement. To start with I worked at CSM Ltd. as a Food Waste Project Analyst. I must admit that I have never heard of CSM before I applied for this job role and I was very surprised when I heard this is a global company that supplies to all the UK’s and Europe’s main supermarkets and cafe shops, such as Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Carrefour, Caffe Nero, Costa, etc. I was pleased to work for such a company!

My project was to reduce the £1.5 bn worth food waste from CSM Bradford which has two factories: Unit A and Unit C. I have never thought that I had such an important role in the company and I didn’t know how challenging my placement will be.

On my first day I had health and safety induction where I learnt about the company’s most important rules that need to be followed by every single employee. This activity gave me an insight of how strict the rules are in the food industry in order to maintain a high standard and provide the best service to its customers. In the first week I was trained by a shift manager who passed to me some of the tasks he used to do.

The first three months of my placement were not easy at all. My supervisor was on holiday most of the time and I was left on my own more or less. I was trained for a week when I first started when I tried to assimilate as much information about the company as I could. Everything was new to me as I have never had a full-time job and on top of that it was the first time that I had worked in the food industry.

From the beginning of my second week at CSM I started doing my daily tasks. For my first task before 9.30am I updated the Business Operational System Board (BOS board) for the management meeting with Bradford’s sites progress information for both production and packing areas. The information included waste percentage, financial loss, overall process effectiveness, the amount of wasted time, the number of made mixes made and the number of cases of products that were packed. It might not make sense to you but the morning management meeting couldn’t take place without the BOS board being updated.

I still remember how scared I was at the beginning of making any mistakes but the good thing was that I was always given feedback so I knew when I did something wrong and I have always challenged myself. In the first six months I have worked overtime up to three to four hours in order to get all my tasks done as I had loads to do and it took me longer to get everything done until I learned more about the most important databases used by the company. I found it a bit difficult because I was the one who started the food waste project and nothing was in place yet. I spent hours to set up waste summaries and other important files in Microsoft Excel. Moreover, I wasn’t an expert when it comes to Microsoft Excel formulas and it took quite a long time to understand everything.

A massive change took place after a few weeks from the beginning of my placement – I moved from the office where I used to work inside the factory’s office which was literally based inside the plant where all the machinery is. It was a crucial change for me which wasn’t easy at all! As I didn’t understand the reason for this change I asked my supervisor and the answer that I was given did make sense to me. The reason was that it was easier for me to work on the Food Waste Project if I was inside the factory in order to see where all the waste came from and also build a relationship with the workers. I found it very difficult to focus at the beginning as I worked with numbers but I successfully managed to get used to it and it did give me a better understanding of what the factory’s issues were.

I will carry on in my next post 🙂