What are your main responsibilitie as QSE Manager?
It’s my job to coordinate our staff in the areas of quality, safety and the environment. Product quality, safe equipment and a comfortable environment all contribute to excellent working conditions. Much of what I do is internal to the company, but I also work with external stakeholders. I cover a broad scope!
What are you working on at the moment?
Our winery has set growth targets in line with our CSR strategy and this has resulted in a number of initiatives. For example, as regards the environment, I’m involved with projects looking at protecting biodiversity. Myself and the Vineyard Manager are soon going to present an action plan to this effect.
Then in terms of work health and safety, we launched a study with the production team and an ergonomist on the working conditions on our production lines. The aim is to reduce occupational risks and illnesses, in particular musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).
Our work accident rate has dropped significantly since 2012, so we want to keep up the good work! I’m coordinating this project, which requires input from the production teams as well as HR, since a part of the project will involve upskilling the workforce.
How do you collaborate with the different stakeholders?
For the past two years, I’ve been dealing with our wine partners more upstream. With the Purchasing & Wine Quality Department we introduced “Quality Visits” where we discuss safety, the environment and other related matters with our winegrowers. From these annual meetings we produce reports, areas for improvement and an action plan. We also come across new best practices, even from some of the smallest estates; we are constantly learning from others.
We also foster partnerships with external experts in the health and safety sector. Last year, for example, we brought in an occupational therapist to perform an ergonomic survey on staff working in front of a computer. This study resulted in an action plan which included installing equipment (ergonomic computer mice, document holders and such) and raising awareness about posture (height of chairs, distance from the screen, etc.) to prevent MSD caused by desk work.
What do you find most motivating in your job?
What I love most is working as part of a team.
You can find a solution to anything if you take the time to talk and put heads together to come up with an answer. I am all for a more participative style of management, which would be a win-win for everyone. I’m also stimulated by more informal meetings of minds where people come together to share inspiring ideas either related to our industry or other sectors.
Do you have any inspiring stories you can share with our web magazine readers?
A few years ago, our winery was audited by an English client, joined by the agent we worked with at the time. At the end of the day, our agent gave me a ring with the Superwoman logo on it. It was his way of acknowledging the performance of the team who had gone above and beyond to meet the client’s demands. I was really surprised and extremely honoured because this particular agent worked with many well-respected wineries around the world. Since then, we often refer back to that little mark of gratitude when we’re dealing with a complex situation:
‘We might not be Superwoman, but we always manage to find a solution working as a team!’
And to end on, what are you most proud of?
Realising how on board our employees are with the CSR strategy!
Everyone is very quick to judge if a project or initiative is “not very CSR” or “very CSR”! This proves that the strategy has become fully integrated and that each team member is taking proactive steps to move our practices forward in every area of the business.
Come back soon to learn about other members in the Gabriel Meffre family.