The Company

McVities is part of United Biscuits a leading pan-European manufacturer of biscuits, snacks and crisps. They produce private label and branded products. Well known UK brands include, Hula Hoops, KP Nuts & Crisps, McCoy’s, Mini Cheddars, Skips, Go Ahead, Jaffa Cakes, McVities, Penguin and Hob Nob.

McVities Carlisle site is a major supplier of quality branded and retail biscuits for the UK and Export market, across creams, Assortments and Savoury categories. United Biscuits have implemented an Excellence in Manufacturing programme, which has enabled them to take £70 million worth of costs out of their business.

The McVities Carlisle site has used improvement tools such as 5s, CI, SMED and Lean Manufacturing. The Carlisle site is the best performing site within the biscuit category. The Carlisle site has a settled team and staff turnover stands at only 6%. The site is the largest manufacturing employer in the area.

The Challenge

Recruitment of a First Line Production Manager.

Having worked with United Biscuits previously, Food Careers had a good understanding of their business and culture, and took the opportunity to visit their site to speak with their management and learn more about the vacancy requirements and business unit where the First Line Production Manager will work.

The role differed from other Production Manager positions as the requirement was to manage an autonomous business unit containing a number of highly skilled Production Operatives who undertake duties outside the usual Operative remit, including, production changeovers, SMED and front line maintenance.

The company were seeking an individual with a high level of technical aptitude, an engineering qualification and experience of supervising skilled manufacturing teams within autonomous business units or production cells. A hands-on collaborative and facilitating management style was also required, to underpin cultural change activities being undertaken.

The Result

Due to the technical nature of the role, we identified a candidate who had experience of supervising both Production & Engineering teams, combined with a BEng (Hons) in Manufacturing Systems and HND in Mechanical Engineering.

As the company had informed us they were moving away from a command and control management style, we structured our interview questions to enable candidates to demonstrate their experience and achievements at empowering and developing the teams they managed. We put an emphasis on identifying candidates with a hands-on facilitating style of management and were successful in identifying an individual with a track record in developing, coaching and motivating their manufacturing teams to improved performance.

McVities have been extremely pleased with the employee recruited and this individual enjoys a successful career with United Biscuits. They oversaw the introduction of Value Stream Mapping (VSM) on their production line, which represented a first for the Carlisle site. They have successfully controlled costs during a period of growth from 52,000 tonnes of product output per annum to 68,000 tonnes. They also got involved with project work to absorb additional production lines due to the closure of the Ashby manufacturing site. They have also been seconded to a Project team where they successfully utilised their engineering skills within design and installation of production lines and machinery.