Simon Johnson has recently joined Essity, in a time of great change and has already been part of some large project in that periods. We took a few minutes earlier this month to sit down with Simon and hear more about his career journey with Essity so far and his passion about innovation and technology.
As a Site Infrastructure Managers my role is to support engineering project work and to ensure the site’s buildings and services remain in good order. This means that I am involved with many of the new developments on the site - of which there are many! What’s most rewarding for me is the range of work I’m involved with. In the same week, I can be working on an office relocation, a civil engineering project, material and energy saving projects, production capacity upgrades, safety work and discussing supplier contracts. It’s a lot of fun to work with such a large range of people with many different experiences.
My day is split between focusing on the immediate and planning for the long term. The team might be organising maintenance on the air handling units or responding to lighting issues while in the same day preparing a request to replace these systems entirely. We always have work ongoing at various stages of the project cycle and my day is about supporting this work – whatever the timescale!
I believe that the ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT) and manufacturing developments linked to ‘Industry 4.0’ will be a big challenge for engineers and technicians in the near future. Some of this technology is already around us in our wearable and connected devices. We have wireless monitoring and control systems in the home already for health, energy, lighting, access and information services such as ’Smart fridges’, ‘Amazon Echo’ or with the ‘Nest’ system. In the future, there will be new ways to interact with machines such as linking augmented reality to process data. Making the jump in our industry will be an interesting process. Pressure will grow from suppliers of equipment to take advantage of smarter systems and the optimisations available will make those options look more and more attractive. The challenge for engineering and technical functions will be to make the most of what’s out there at the best time for our business.
I’ve been made to feel welcome at Essity which is perhaps the most important support you can have when you start a new job. But I have also been supported though training and development courses such as PEP, NEBOSH, and PRIME project management and with direct support of my colleagues. This has helped me to understand the business both in a technological and functional sense.
The scope of things here is big – we think and act in significant ways, which is refreshing.
What I value most, is a commitment to excellence and a willingness to support each other. I also value working with people who are open to new ideas and new ways of working. There are a great many ways of getting from A to B – what’s most important to me is that we learn as we travel.
I like to believe I am a supportive leader – I try to provide enough clarity to allow people to use their skills and knowledge proactively so that we can meet our goals together.
I would describe the culture at Essity as supportive. We face many challenges but we face them together. In my first year, I have found the culture to be uniformly positive. We seem to be a ‘can do’ company with an abundance of skills and knowledge and a commitment to improving ourselves.
Working on projects means that there will be times when you are very busy, followed by times of reflection and preparation. The good thing is, if you’ve planned well, you will have a decent idea when these periods will be! I also cycle to work 2-3 days a week, the site is really set up for an active lifestyle, with onsite showers and things like that. Small additions like that really help me to balancing a healthy working life style and spending more with my kid!
I would say there will be challenges, you have to invest fully into any role you take, if you do take the plunge the benefits can be huge for you. It’s a great company to work for.
I would take a supply of Plenty. It’s so useful, that given enough time I believe I could fashion some method of returning to civilisation with it!
Thank you Simon.
Based in: Manchester, UK
Background: Engineering and Paper industry all the way! Instrument/Electrical apprenticeship in Newsprint, Process engineering and Engineering management with fabric production (wires) and now here at Essity.
Hidden talents: I play bass guitar in a band and I’m a half decent juggler!
Role model: Galileo Galilei is someone I admire. His desire to comprehend the world around him caused him to question the status quo despite facing the wrath of the church, an inquisition and eventually house arrest.
Personal motto/quote: We have met the enemy, and he is us.
Favorite movie: The Big Lebowski.
Favorite music: The Cure, Talking Heads, Aphex Twin – too many to mention!