My first placement was in Vietnam with a role to support strategic initiatives relating to supply chain including contract negotiations and performance improvement of key suppliers. My second placement was at Divisional Procurement (Airframe Systems). This placement gave me a chance to work with different Procurement Leads within the Division.
I have been involved in a lot of strategic procurement activities including preparing and launching tenders, negotiating contracts, evaluating supplier performance and so on. I was, fortunately, involved in assisting the sourcing for the Ventilator project.
Stepping down as the Procurement Lead for Vietnam site and joining the Graduate Programme has afforded me the opportunity to learn the best practices across different Meggitt sites and gain further professional development.
As part of the professional development, I am working toward MCIPS Chartered Procurement and Supply Professional status.
I was based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Fareham, United Kindom. I am looking forward to moving to the new facility in Ansty, Coventry.
Absolutely. I have always felt part of any teams that I was in. I had thought that moving from one job to another would be challenging. However, with all the supports from colleagues in the teams, I found myself getting along with work so much easier.
I was tasked to launch a machining tender which involved more than a hundred items. The preparation stage was challenging when I had to work with various departments such as Engineering, Quality, Trade Compliance and Commerce to collocate all required documents. With many supports from colleagues within my team and the bigger Meggitt team, I have successfully launched the tender.
I am keen to learn new things and adopt best practices in my current and next rotation. Afterwards, I am looking forward to get back to Asia and have a permanent job. I see so much potential and opportunities to improve and develop a robust and low-cost supply chain there.
When I graduated from UCLA I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and I didnt really want to get stuck in a certain career path just because that was the first job that I took out of college. I definitely wanted a rotational programme and Meggitt had just so many different opportunities than other companies I looked at, the main one being the opportunity to have an international placement. I studied abroad, I love travelling, and the fact that they would be willing to send me to another country to live and work for 9 months was really incredible and something I didn’t see in any other rotational programmes that I applied to.
Another thing that I really like about it was all the opportunities for personal and professional development outside of your day to day job. You can utilise induction and transition weeks to get a multitude of training options. Things like presentation training, communication training, leadership training.
You also get the ability to network with senior members of the company who can provide you with an overview of how to get to where you want to go in your career, which is something you don’t really see when you take an entry level position in another company. In the Meggitt scheme you really feel like you’re a highly valued member of the company even though you’re just starting out.
Initially I was a Manufacturing Engineer supporting two different production programs at the Engine Composites Site in Erlanger. I championed some of the first automated composite manufacturing solutions used across Meggitt Engine Systems, worked with the site engineering team to develop innovative composite manufacturing techniques, and worked on several different process improvement efforts geared towards cutting costs and lead times for each program.
For my 2nd Rotation, I was an Industrial Engineer supporting the Material Preparation cells at the Polymer Seals facility in McMinnville Oregon. I worked very closely with the operations team to develop standardized work and operating procedures, rolled out a site-wide integrated production scheduling and KPI dashboard, and developed a state-of-the-art inventory management system to track the movement and usage of raw material on the production floor. Each of my efforts were part of an aggressive site recovery plan geared towards burning arrears and improving on-time delivery.
Then came along a very special project. For about a month and a half between my 2nd and 3rd placements, during the thick of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, I worked with a few of my graduate colleagues to develop a clean-sheet ventilator concept as per the request of the U.K government. I was part of the core mechanical design team, focused primarily on the machine’s front control panel, human-machine interface, and valve development.
I am currently supporting the transition of the three Heat Exchanger Value Streams from the Thermal Systems site in Birmingham to Meggitt’s newly-built Ansty Park Headquarters. My primary focus is the movement of end-of-line testing machines, supporting equipment, and cranes.
The highlight of my Meggitt Career thus far was definitely my work in the development of our ventilator concept. It was amazing to see how quickly several different cross-functional teams and our supply chain could mobilize when the chips are down. Certain elements of the product development cycle which would normally span months were shrunk down to a matter of weeks, and in some cases, days. It inspires a lot of confidence in not only my own ability, but the ability of the business and the industry in general to act quickly and decisively in the time of crisis.
I would say my favorite product area is polymer seals, not necessarily just because of the complexity of the products and processes behind the products, but how quickly the forecast in customer demand tends to shift – which presents some very interesting capacity-planning challenges to solve in this side of our business.
I would definitely say that the most challenging thing I have done is moving halfway across the world in the midst of a global pandemic, though it’s been an adventure of a lifetime every step of the way. I could not have done it without the support of my ‘Meggitt family’. Needless to say, it’s given me a massive opportunity for growth – I can say with confidence that I’ve easily grown more in the last six months than I have in the last six years.
Specialist Area - Operations
I had a fabulous start to Meggitt, it was in at the deep end. I was asked to work with the newly formed project management team responsible for delivering Meggitt’s biggest ever single investment, the construction of our brand new research and manufactruring facility at Ansty Park. It’s so satisfying to see the results of my efforts now that our global headquarters is open for business.
My second placement saw me move into manufacturing, working with the team at braking systems MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul). This was a totally different environment, so fast-paced and dynamic. The team is responsible for ensuring that any of our customers with an Aircraft on Ground (AOG) situation receive a speedy repair to enable the plane to take off again with minimum interruption to flight operations. It was great to experience a different aspect of product lifecycle, it also made me aware of the seasonality of our business, during holiday times more planes operate and more maintenance is required.
I am currently working for the carbon brakes division, which is a completely different experience again. There is a materials bias and the team and I are responsible for delivering individual parts with incredibly strict specification.
The Meggitt development programme is really unique. I believe it is essential that in the early stages of your career you get exposure to the operations and shopfloor environment and gain a complete understanding of product design and manufacture at every stage of product lifecycle. Each stage requires a different approach and skillset. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from the very best and get real exposure to very top level projects. The quality of training is incredible.
It would have to be establishing Meggitt’s STEM resource group, helping young people, particularly women and girls, discover a possible career in engineering. It’s now grown to be a global initiative and we regularly work with local communities, visiting schools and educational institutions, to encourage more people to pursue a future in industry.
Specialist Area - Engineering
I’m currently focusing on systems engineering based at our Fareham facility working in avionics, more specifically on our integrated Secondary Flight Display (iSFD). My previous placement allowed me to work in control systems working with our braking systems team.
The Meggitt development programme stood out for me. Unlike other organisations, Meggitt typically only recruits around 20 graduates each year, this allows for a more personalised and tailored career path. From the start you are involved in fast pace development work, working directly with people right at the top of the company. Each graduate has a mentor, mine is the Assistant Chief Technology Officer. You feel like you are really making a difference, it’s a fantastic opportunity.
As a Meggitt graduate you are expected to move around to different facilities, for me it is vitally important that you have a strong network of colleagues and friends to help you transition. Our graduate community is incredibly strong and includes graduates old and new, we support and learn from each other. I’ve also made some friends for life and have even been on holiday with my cohort colleagues.
Without a doubt that would be my involvement in the Ventilator Project. Half way through my transition week, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak, my cohort was asked to support the UK governments’ ventilator challenge programme by designing a new low cost ventilator that could be put into production really quickly to stem the shortfall of ICU equipment. To complete the task we were split into teams and everyone got hands on with the system engineering, I designed the control algorithm and implemented the software. It was an amazing learning opportunity, working closely with the heads of technical we witnessed first-hand how they approach programme management, defining customer needs, functionality and ease of operation. It was also amazing to observe how effective teamwork can get such quick results.
I started my Meggitt career in Loughborough at our UK composites site, looking at new product design and applications. I then joined the carbon brakes team in Coventry to give me an understanding of operations. My current placement is supporting the Meggitt Production System (MPS), our global continuous improvement programme, working with colleagues around the world to simplify processes and procedures.
I wasn’t 100% certain of what I wanted to do when I left university so I wanted a programme that gave me the possibility of exploring different roles. With Meggitt, I even have the option to experiment with none technical disciplines. You work closely with your mentor to identify where your interests really lie and work out a relevant placement.
I also loved the idea of being offered a placement abroad, that prospect was really exciting.
I think the main selling point is that each graduate intake is restricted to 15-20 people, this means more one on one time with senior leaders, personalised career planning and you are taken very seriously from day one. You instantly have the chance to add value and influence.
Because there are so few grads you become part of a very tight support community, very quickly. I’ve lived with other graduates and I’ve even been on holiday with other graduates. We nearly always plan a few days holiday together before each transition, wherever the training may be being held. Social side is great, but the peer level mentoring is invaluable, living together you learn from your own experiences and gain from your friends experience as well.
I’ve helped establish a regular monthly LinkUp for all employees to showcase new technologies, but the Ventilator Challenge is definitely a high point. We were tasked with developing an easy to assemble ventilator to support the demanding requirements of hospitals for ICU equipment during the peak of the COVID-19- pandemic. I helped define the system requirements, dealing with the UK government specifications and managing modifications. It was such a tight timescale, a 4 week project from conception to delivery that we were constantly thinking on our feet.
Supply Chain and Collaboration
In my first nine-month assignment, I had the opportunity to dive head-first into the exciting world of aerospace supply chain. Contract negotiation with suppliers, inventory management, and routinely resolving procurement issues as they arise were among the day-to-day tasks in my first assignment as an Operations Graduate.
I never thought that I would have the opportunity to apply supply chain concepts and skills learned in school directly in a negotiation with a global hardware supplier in Morocco – three months into my assignment!
Understanding the process and components needed for aircraft wheel and brake manufacturing – the bill of material and supplier list is extensive! My current assignment deals with material and parts – thousands of them. In order to have effective conversations with engineers, planners, and suppliers, I had to have a basic understanding of the critical mechanisms in a wheel and brake assembly. There was a wheel and brake model built for an Airbus A340 sitting right in my department! Many times, I found myself referring to that model to get a better understanding of the material that I was working with and how it all fit together.
In addition to understanding the assemblies, my job required that I work with different people from all over the world. Oftentimes, my goals would conflict with various organisations that I was negotiating with. Suppliers would ask questions, propose different ideas, or sometimes flat out refuse to work with me on objectives set out by Meggitt. It was up to me to maintain persistence, communicate effectively, and leverage other areas of the relationship with the supplier to ensure success.
Utilising the company’s resources – and utilising them well. Whenever posed with a difficult task or project, I was able to navigate the challenge by utilising the host of resources that Meggitt provides. Be it – the internal portal to share ideas, my programme mentor, or at times even the other graduates in my programme – I was never short of opportunities for support.
Another key to success is knowing what I wanted to learn and communicating that to my coworkers, mentor, and leadership. There is always someone there to help you ride the learning curve!
In my first assignment I found myself in Akron, Ohio working for the aircraft braking systems business of Meggitt. A strategic initiative of Meggitt is to place greater emphasis on inventory management – specifically reducing the costs involved. I was tasked with increasing the amount of spend with suppliers that is on consignment and VMI contracts. It wasn’t always easy, but I learned a great deal about contract negotiation – at a global level. My job afforded me the opportunity to meet with many suppliers face-to-face. I travelled from France to California to assess supplier capabilities, negotiate agreements, and establish relationships with key players in our supply chain base.
Working on complex problems with a team of engineers. My team was tasked with developing an alternative ram air turbine (RAT) for next-generation aircraft that was lighter, more efficient, and cost-effective. I was able to consider the problem from a supply chain perspective – the best designed RAT in the world will not be successful if the material to make it cannot be sourced economically!
I am eagerly awaiting my next placement and assignment!