Carole Grivel joined SICPA in 1999, initially on a three-month temporary contract, after completing a pharmacy apprenticeship in Switzerland and a language tour in England, and has stayed with the company ever since. In this interview, she tells us more about her journey from her childhood dream to become a rail traffic controller to her position today as a manager and the first woman in Switzerland to graduate as a foreperson.
What was your perception of SICPA before joining?
SICPA was a large and very impressive company for me at that time because I had only one previous professional experience as an apprentice in a small drugstore, but it was also a great opportunity that was offered to me. I started my temporary contract on the 21st of September 1999, and I was hired on a permanent basis as of the 1st of June 2000.
Why do you enjoy working at SICPA?
At the beginning of my experience at SICPA, I did not think that I would stay longer than the three months initially planned, because after two weeks I found the work rather monotonous. But as the weeks went by, my knowledge and my interest in the position kept on growing. Not only could I contribute to more complex ink checks, I also felt very welcome in the laboratory team. All the elements together made me very rapidly change my mind about my future at SICPA.
Since my hiring in June 2000, I had the chance to evolve a lot within the QCA (Quality Control and Assurance) department. I was first promoted as the back-up of the Team Leader, then as a Team Leader and then as a foreperson. Later in 2009, I also participated in the creation of the QCA TA (Quality Control and Assurance Technical Assistance) group, of which I am now the actual manager. In addition, these last years, I also took on the role of SAP BKU (Business Key User) for the module Quality Management.
What did SICPA bring to you professionally and personally?
Professionally, SICPA has been a large part of my career since I’ve been working here for the last 20 years. During this time, it also gave me access to several training opportunities. I think especially about my training to become a foreperson in the industry, because I was at that time the first woman in Switzerland to graduate.
These last 10 years, with the arrival of SAP, I’ve also had the chance to participate in some implementation projects, as well as to be in the first batch of the SAP Academy.
SICPA also gave me the possibility to travel, to meet my colleagues around the world, and to get to know them. These are very motivating experiences and also a great opportunity for me to improve my English.
Describe your typical working day at SICPA?
It is hard for me to answer this question precisely. Indeed, my days can be very diversified and dependent on the external demands made to my team and/or myself (e.g. customer queries, stock management, SAP support, …).
However, broadly speaking, the beginning of each day is the same. It starts by reading my e-mails, since this is how the main requests are dealt with. Then I need to manage the most urgent requests but also be sure that all the requests made to my team are answered as soon as possible. The rest of my day depends on the requests received in the morning as well as on the necessary support I must provide to my team and to the other sites. After that, I can also spend some time in different meetings with people from our site, from other places in Switzerland or even elsewhere.
Could you describe a team project which you are particularly proud of?
One of the projects I am the proudest of is my participation as a Team Leader in the expansion of the Quality Control and Assurance laboratory in 2004, which was also part of my personal work during my foreperson training.
What are the dimensions you like the most in your job at SICPA?
The diversity I have in my tasks as well as the contacts I make throughout the day with the other services in Switzerland and outside are the dimensions that motivate me the most in my daily work.
According to you, what are the key soft skills necessary in your job?
The main competence that I think necessary for this position is the ability to juggle between different tasks on various topics, but not only that. Indeed, it is also important to have a critical eye as well as a good overview and be conscious that the actions taken on a site can impact the other teams around the world.
If you could choose only three words to describe SICPA and your daily life at SICPA, what would they be?
Global leader, trust and diversified work