May 24, 2022

Fruit Connects – Sarita Lopez

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Sarita is proud to be part of the daytime production team: ‘I’m the only girl here, but I can do the same work as the guys’.
Sarita Lopez has been a forklift operator with SVZ for six years. Starting out in the fields, she was always curious to learn more about the process of turning raw fruits and vegetables into their final products. “Before I started working as a forklift operator, I was working with the vegetables outside of this plant. Every day I wondered: where do the vegetables go? What happens to them before they go to the warehouse? What do they do with each product?”

Sarita is responsible for organizing the raw products on the operator line. “I unload the fruits and vegetables onto the different machines. And right now I am actually learning how to become an operator for the operating line. I’m about 60-70% done with the training. There is so much stuff to learn! Soon I’ll be able to operate the machine myself, but if I’m not ready I can ask someone to supervise me or ask my manager for extra time. I feel very supported and encouraged to complete the training at my own pace.”

 

Sarita is responsible for organizing the raw products on the operator line. “I unload the fruits and vegetables onto the different machines. And right now I am actually learning how to become an operator for the operating line. I’m about 60-70% done with the training. There is so much stuff to learn! Soon I’ll be able to operate the machine myself, but if I’m not ready I can ask someone to supervise me or ask my manager for extra time. I feel very supported and encouraged to complete the training at my own pace.”

A strong girl in a man’s world

It’s curiosity and passion that pushes Sarita to keep growing. “I am so happy to be working on the dayshift production team now, and I’m also proud of myself. I’m the only girl on the dayshift, it’s all guys here in production. But I can do the same job as them. Despite some heavy tasks and some other girls having left… I’m still here and it’s nice that I can do the work. I’m thankful for this opportunity to learn and grow.”

A second family

To Sarita, the daytime production team is like a family. “Most of the people have been working here for more than ten years. This gives you an opportunity to really get to know one another and why they keep working here. It truly feels like a second family because everyone is so involved. Plus, everyone is so knowledgeable about what they do. If you have a question, they’ll try everything to get you an answer. After all these years I love the people I work with. I know their history and they are a true example to follow. “If I want to stay here? No, I want to retire here!”

Connection

This positive cooperation isn’t limited to her own production line. “The company keeps us up to date with what’s going on: which products we will be producing in the future and what’s happening for the company this year. We have monthly meetings where all layers of the company are involved. They’re very open about including everyone and sharing information with all the employees. In fact, when I suggested we’d add two more doors to the chickpea machine to speed up the cleaning process, they actually relied on me and installed the doors almost immediately. It helped us cut down our cleaning time a lot.”

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