27 June 2024

1M1C – July 2024: Cécile Berthet – Manager of the Vitrolles site

Cécile Berthet is an agri-food studies graduate. She’s been working in food processing factories since her graduation, 20 years ago. 

She’s been in her current post, that of Site Manager, for two months, following ten years working at St Louis Sucre, Panzani and Liebig.

How would you describe your typical working day?

My working day always begins with a debriefing session with my immediate subordinates, Nabil and Fouzia in production and Thibaut in maintenance. 

We look at the results of the previous day and set out the priorities for the coming day. Next, I take a walk round the factory to say hello to the entire team and see how the day is progressing. 

After this, I get down to the operational management side of things, with lots of project meetings, meetings with suppliers or service providers, cost analysis, results sharing, budget monitoring, order confirmations etc…

What projects are you currently working on?

At the moment, I’m mostly focused on preparations for the renewal of our IFS certification. We are currently recruiting a new Head of Quality, meaning that I’m doing a lot of this preparatory work myself, in tandem with the JMI head office team.

In a few words, describe your role to us.

I feel that my role is to decide on the strategies and use the tools and resources at my disposal to ensure that everyone can enjoy good working conditions in the factory whilst hitting their targets. 

What are the key challenges or goals you have at work?

I’m married and have two children, so the main challenge is managing my work-life balance. Site manager is an extremely busy job, there are lots of issues to tackle (especially as a woman in a managerial position) and it’s easy not to know when to stop because you always want to do better and go further! 

If you could choose anyone at all to be your mentor, who would it be? 

I learnt a lot from my old site manager when I was working for Liebig. He helped me to understand exactly what was expected of us in this position. He also taught me how to get the best out of each of our team members and partners. 

What do you like best about your work? 

I really like being able to share my expertise and experience with my managers, enabling them in turn to grow and advance, especially in terms of managing their teams. It’s very satisfying to see them move forward and come up with and implement new solutions. 

Which professional achievement are you most proud of? 

I’ll come back to Liebig again – I was working in a new department which wasn’t that well-organized as yet, and the team leaders were exhausted, running here, there and everywhere. They couldn’t keep going like that and they wanted to quit. After a very difficult year working together, we managed to steady the ship and the production line operatives and the managers were enjoying their work. Several production line operatives even applied for managerial positions. We really succeeded in totally transforming the atmosphere in the workplace. 

What advice would you give to new team members? 

It’s vital to share know-how, expertise and experience. We have a lot to learn from each other. It’s important to be open-minded and ready to accept advice and learn from the experiences of our colleagues, regardless of what position you occupy. Humility is required if you are to make progress. 

I’d say a selection of Italian antipasti - tomato, mozzarella, basil, cold meats and cheese, washed down with a glass of Chianti! Buon appetito!

We’d like to thank Céline for taking part in July's interview! 

If you would like to read more interviews, take a look at our blog

If you would like to join our team, feel free to check out our vacancies. If you’d like to send in a speculative application, just click here.


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