Return"Living is a risky sport", interview with Núria Torreiro, plant manager at Montana Basics
Continuing our series of interviews with employees of Montana Colors’ different departments, we’ve reached the innermost part: Montana Basics, the plant where the paint is manufactured. Here we find Nuria Torreiro, who recently started in her role as plant manager. She explains the details of her work to us, and also interesting points about the paint-making process — so fundamental and yet unknown to the final customer.
Give us a general explanation of your role as plant manager of Montana Basics.
The Montana BASICS plant is the center in charge of producing Montana Colors paint. Our products are sent to the Montana AIR center where they are packaged in the various formats of our ranges.
My mission as plant manager at BASICS is to ensure compliance with production schedules and maximize productivity and efficiency to meet the demands of Montana AIR and our customers.
This basically translates into planning, managing resources, and being the point of union, communication and instruction between the various departments involved in the production process. In addition to that, I also focus on the constant study of manufacturing processes to seek out improvement, analysis and increase in production capacities and staff development. These are basic pillars to achieve my mission as plant manager at Montana BASICS.
Explained in this way it sounds distant, but it’s nothing more than being attentive to the needs and requirements that we have around us and doing everything possible to improve the environment and the results.
What role does security play in all of this?
Our greatest value is human capital and the prevention of risky situations is a necessity.
Despite the fact that the production of paint is our end goal, safety plays an essential role, especially since we are talking about a chemical plant where we use substances that, if used in the wrong way, can put us at risk. Every year there are accidents in chemical plants that end with considerable material damage and in the worst cases, with the loss of lives.
To avoid this type of situation, we work in cooperation with the ORP department and the production team, carrying out procedures for the correct performance of tasks, adapted to the production process and in addition to raising awareness.
So… Is working in a section like Montana BASICS considered risky work?
Living is a risky sport! Doesn't climbing Everest seem risky to you? Crossing the street also carries risks.
What is important is knowing what you are going to do, how, when and under what conditions you are going to do it.
The preparation of the paint and, above all, the laboratory work, is the part that’s furthest from the vision that the final customer has of the processes that the company carries out. How important is the paint in the entire process of making a spraycan?
Formulation, laboratory development, production, quality control are all activities that are invisible to the client. Excellence in each and every one of these phases results in products that meet the specifications and achieve the utmost level of customer satisfaction.
Imagine a symphony orchestra. On the one hand, you have the string ensemble, the wind ensemble, the percussionists…and all of them are necessary for the work to be a success. This orchestra needs musicians (our staff), instruments (our equipment, systems and facilities), and a score (the formulas)!
Without sheet music, each day the music would be different. This is the importance of laboratory work, hard work of research, development, creation and improvement.
What other positions make up the team you work with?
I see it as Rudyard Kipling said in the Jungle Book "For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack" and this is what happens with the members of our teams, individually they are great, but together as a team they’re invincible!
We have production, packaging and shift managers who are the paradigm of teamwork, perseverance and the ambition to improve more every day.
The quality control team is super powerful, each of the products we make pass through their hands for validation and correction. Once the product is validated and packaged, the expedition and administration team comes into play, ready to prepare the shipment and receive the materials.
In order for all this to happen, the maintenance and engineering team ensures that each of the machines we work with works properly and designs new areas, the provisioning, security department and the systems department, which makes it easier for us to monitor and communicate with technology to make it as simple and fast as possible.
You've been the plant manager for almost a year. Could you sum up your journey in the company?
I came to Montana Basics as an R&D technician, a position I held for 3 years. Thanks to the teachings of the head of the department during that time, I learned about the product and the difficulties and satisfactions of designing new products.
In October 2018 I had the opportunity to promote to the head of the quality department. During the time in which I carried out these tasks, I left the oasis of creation, and I began to understand the rhythm of work that the production plant demands.
After 6 months, the management proposed this new and exciting project as the plant manager.
What challenges does this new stage represent?
At a professional level, I’ve set the challenge for myself of achieving excellence at the production level, maximizing effectiveness and efficiency in each and every production process, minimizing errors, losses. Every day I ask myself, how can I improve this process? Or, how can I develop my team? You can achieve good results on a specific day, but excellence is in maintaining these results daily.
On a personal level, I would love to promote diversity as a tool to promote different points of view, innovation, more creative solutions in production and levels of responsibility, and bringing more women into the world of production. Today, I still perceive that there are positions that are seen as "a man’s world." The more diversity of thought, the better the decisions we make!
Do you think that you need a vocation to carry out your line of work?
What does vocation mean? We are all born knowing how to do exactly the same and we are shaped by the experiences we live, what we learn.
In my opinion, the most important thing is motivation and finding enjoyment in your day to day, so that your work is your hobby, something that you really enjoy.
Obviously aptitude is required to perform any task, but with a good attitude, everything can be learned!
What fulfills you the most about working for Montana Colors?
Montana offers me a space for challenges, learning and applying new knowledge, in addition to being able to appreciate the results and share them with the team, super stimulating! Don't you think?
We know that work, like life, isn’t only about the good things, and it’s important to analyze the negatives in order to learn, improve or appreciate the positives even more. Are there any particular instances in your work where you suffered?
The truth is that I haven't had any feelings of suffering but rather of concern, mainly in the management of the alarms that we have experienced in the past, or the most recent one, the lockdown during the months of March and April.
I am a calm and thoughtful person, I absorb the available information, I analyze it and then I act. I see how reference people make decisions, I reflect on the decisions I make and try to find areas for improvement. There is much to learn, especially when things are not going as expected.
Do you have any links to the brand or the product outside of work?
I have no links. I am more of a compass and ruler kind of person, I have to work on the artistic bits.
As for domestic uses, the PRO range and the chalk and water-based markers are my favorites — you can’t imagine how much fun my nephews have painting the tiles with those markers!
What do you think is essential for a team to achieve its objectives and stay motivated?
If you have a goal you must know what it is, understand it, and know how to explain it. Have a plan and feel like you are part of it. On the other hand, it is necessary to empathize with every one of the team members and know what their concerns are in order to offer personal growth opportunities to all.
How’s it going with the Instagram project @quemeinvitenacomer?
How do you know this? It’s a fun group that we created with some friends to promote one of our hobbies — spending time together cooking or enjoying gastronomy. We should make a tag #paintedwithmontanacolors and make a collage with those photos, what do you think?
ShareAugust 06, 2020