Danone Visit

Despite my obsessive refreshing of the Google Maps app, the highway continued to resemble more of a parking lot than a route of transportation. This was the first event that I planned for the Operations Supply Chain club, and I, and the other 5 people in my cab, was going to be late. While I tried to distract myself from my tardiness and imminent car sickness, I quickly warned the cabs filled with 14 of my peers behind me to take a different route, unfortunately, one of them received the message too late. Luckily we planned our transportation with some buffers rather than ‘just in time’ and we all made it without having to use the excuse of Spanish time.
As the adrenaline from the journey faded, we signed in and were guided through the Danone campus to a meeting room where the plant manager, Alberto Santos, spoke to our club members about the large operations transition project underway within the corporation. Danone has decided to create a EU network of production facilities rather than functioning as individual countries and regions, as well as upgrading their equipment to maximize the efficiency and use of the size of the facility.
After gaining a better insight into the variety of yogurts produced within this specific facility, it was time to get dressed up and head down to the production floor. Since we were in a food production facility, I truly mean the phrase ‘dressed up.’ The excitement in the room while putting on our white jumpsuits and hairnets, and in some lucky circumstances (couch, Diego, cough) beard nets, was visible as we snapped pic after pic. I have to admit, Hanka and I both got a little nostalgic and giddy while putting on our safety shoes, glasses, and earplugs. No two production factories are identical, thus the thrill of seeing a new process is something that only the true operations nerd can understand.
Before stepping onto the sterile production floor, we had to scrub and sanitize our hands, and then we were on our way! We watched the process of labeling, filling, sealing and packaging the Oikos yogurt cups, and followed them through the overhead track to the cooling chambers and distribution area. The short shelf life of dairy products underlined the importance for the production facility to run efficiently. After watching yogurt produced from culture and milk to the final product, we were able to strip off our protective layers, debrief what we saw, and set about on journey back to Barcelona, which thankfully was traffic free.

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