In 2016, Continental announced it would build a new Commercial Tire plant in Clinton, Miss. In early 2019, Carrie Darwin joined the plant as Sequencing Manager – one of the earliest employees hired. She shares what the experience of starting up a brand-new plant over the last 22 months has been like.
When you’re in ramp up mode, every day can be different.
I was the 63rd employee hired. The plant was still being built when I came in. Lots of mud. The ceiling was still being put on. We were installing machines. If you had steel toes on and they weren’t dirty, you didn’t work that day.
As Sequencing Manager, my job is to make sure a sequence of events has to occur on the production machines the right way at the right time to get tires out in the most efficient way. It’s based on customer demand.
We’re adding more volume to our production floor every week and now we have around 450 employees.
We just added a third shift. Next year, we’re planning on having all four shifts to be running 24/7. We’re trying to get the plant to grow with us and make sure we get the sequencing right so that we enable the plant to be as successful as possible.
Early on, we got to learn from other Continental plants around the world.
I went to our Sumter, SC, facility for three months with the person we hired to manage our SAP software, so we could see how to set up our system in Clinton. I had someone come to Clinton from one of our Mexico facilities to show us how they operate. I was able to spend three weeks at our facility in Portugal learning their sequencing processes. Then I spent a week with the central team in Hanover, Germany, to learn more about the systems.
You really experience the Continental culture when you visit other plants.
That’s one thing this company exceeds at – culture. Everyone is living by our core values at Continental: Trust, Freedom to Act, For One Another, Passion to Win. A company’s core values are what really shape a culture, and you can tell those core values are driving things at Continental because you see them at all of our locations.
Continental has given us the Freedom to Act in how we run this plant, so we’ve brought in various concepts from different facilities.
It’s fun. Working for Continental has been different. There are challenges and stress, because I want to make sure this site succeeds, but it’s fun to be part of that and fun to make sure we’re hitting and exceeding our targets. I can see that everybody here wants to succeed. And not just for us. We want this facility to be here for generations to come.
This article was written by our employee.