Making a difference every day

We talked to Justin Hawkins, Production Manager in Newport, Gränges Americas about the importance of getting a chance to make a difference.


So, why Gränges?

Gränges is a phenomenal company to work for. They put their employees first which means a lot. Gränges is dedicated to producing a quality product and investing not only in their facilities but also their employees.

What does a Production Manager do? What’s your scope/objective?

As a production manager, I am responsible for the production and flow through the facility, but also must ensure it is done safely and also meets quality standards. We are a small team here in Newport so I am also involved in Production, Quality, Safety and sometimes even HR.

What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

A typical day for me starts by arriving at the plant around 6am. I usually start by making a round through the facility touching base with the associates at the machines and checking on production and any other issues that might have arrived from the previous day. After walking through the facility, I usually then start to update the production schedules. After the workflow is scheduled for each machine, I then make another round to assign the new schedules to each machine and again address any issues that might arise.

The remainder of the morning is usually filled with meetings, conference calls, and usually an interview as we are still growing in Newport.

After lunch, I try to spend as much time on the floor as possible as we are trying to ramp up production. I really enjoy working closely with the associates to look for ways to increase production and minimize downtime. Most of the associates here in Newport are fairly new which also requires lots of training. Assisting with some of the training not only helps to build relationships but also ensures the associates understand the importance of safety.

The remainder of the day usually involves another check of the machines and make any adjustments to the schedules that need to be made. At this time, I am also checking the next days shipping schedule to ensure everything is packed and ready for tomorrow’s shipments. Quality is so critical with any product but particularly light gauge. I perform routine checks at each machine and every department to ensure the quality checks are being met which usually takes quite a bit of my day as well. Usually by now it is getting close to 6pm, when I try to finish any last-minute tasks and leave for the day.

What do you like most about your job? What’s best about working at Gränges?

The best thing about my job is having the opportunity to make a difference. Each and everyday I am given this opportunity, some days I succeed but other days I struggle. Either way, I get the chance to make a difference and that is what keeps me going.

The best thing about working for Gränges is the people. The people are great, almost like family. If I need something, someone is always willing to help.

Are there any trends within your field you can tell us about?

I would like to say yes, but here in Newport every day is different. Each day I’m faced with a new set challenges as we ramp up production. However, while these challenges are difficult sometimes, they are also learning opportunities that make me a stronger leader.

If you could change one thing about working here, what would it be?

For me personally, I would like to have more training/educational opportunities.

And finally, what do you do when you’re not at work?

My time away from work is spent with my family. My wife Anna, and children Noah (18), Libby (13) and Ella (9) have my attention when I’m not working. We enjoy the outdoors, church, and doing anything where we get to spend time together. The kids keep us busy between ballpark trips and cheer practices it seems that we stay on the go at all times.