International Women's Day - Margarita Kairis

It is day 2 of our week-long blog series to celebrate International Women’s Day and the talented team members working in SAM. Today we speak to Margarita Kairis, who is a Manufacturing Cell Leader on night shift. Outside of work, Margarita loves to spend time with her family and friends and enjoys doing different things and visiting different places with them.

1. Tell us about your role within SAM
I am a Manufacturing Cell Leader on nights for Cell 2, which houses our cross-cut, wrapping and packing machinery, and I work four 12-hour shifts per week from Monday to Thursday. My role involves allocating man power to each of the machines, taking my team through the schedule and making sure they have the equipment and materials they need, carrying out quality checks, doing health and safety inspections and reporting on my cell performance at the end of the shift.

2. How did you get into manufacturing and find your passion for the industry?
I wasn’t specifically looking to get into manufacturing. I was actually a Manager of a grocery shop in Lithuania (where I’m from) before I decided to move to Northern Ireland four years ago. I signed up with a job agency and was offered work at SAM as a factory operative until I was offered a temporary post in the logistics department. A year later, I applied for the Manufacturing Cell Leader and I have been doing this job ever since. I have loved learning in a new environment.

3. What made you want to get into the profession?
When the agency asked if I wanted to work some shifts in SAM, I thought it would be a good opportunity to grow and develop myself in an industry that I had never worked in. It excited me!

4. Why do you enjoy working in the industry?
I really enjoy learning new processes and gaining more knowledge and experience. I also love working with my team. We work hard but it is also a lot of fun on night shift.

5. What advice do you have for other women keen to get into the manufacturing industry?
Buy a pair of comfortable safety boots and be ready for challenges!

6. What exciting developments have you seen in the company since you started?
Any developments within the company are exciting. Since I started working in SAM, there have been a lot of changes on the factory floor to improve efficiencies. Originally, the saws, moulders and paintlines were all separate and now they are linked together. Our IT systems have been updated too, so monitoring and reporting is much easier. I love seeing solutions implemented that make our lives easier, so we can focus on getting quality products out to our customers on time and in full.

7. What would you say to people who think the manufacturing industry works only for men?
I would say that everyone has a right to express their opinion, even if it is wrong 😊

8. What is your favourite part of your career?
I love it when my team and I achieve our goals – zero accidents, 100% quality and reaching our efficiency targets. That means I can go home with a smile on my face!

9. What is your biggest challenge?
We are trying to maximise the flexibility in my Cell by having team members trained up on all machines. My biggest challenge is finding the time to do the training!

10. What woman inspires you?
My mum inspires me. She is always the person I turn to for advice.