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Meet the production process coach in stamping at Ford’s Silverton plant

PEOPLE | Motubatse Pete's stamp of excellence

Motubatse Elize Pete loves her job.
Motubatse Elize Pete loves her job.
Image: Supplied

Join Sowetan Motoring as it tells the stories of men and women behind the scenes of the national motor industry.

This week we shine the spotlight on Motubatse Elize Pete, who oversees critical stamping processes at the Ford manufacturing plant in Silverton.

Who is Motubatse Elize Pete, tell us about yourself?

I am a family-oriented person, born and raised in a Christian household. I am also the only girl child with two brothers, and an aunt to the cutest nephews. I am a focused and ambitious woman with a passion for the automotive industry. I hold a National Diploma and Bachelor of Technology in mechatronic engineering. I also hold an Advanced Diploma in business management, and a Postgraduate Diploma in business administration. I love books and if I could get paid just to study full-time, I would. Outside of work and school, I am an adrenaline junkie, and a lover of nature. I am very adventurous, I love travelling and trying out new things, different foods (I am a foodie) and learning different cultures. I also love music, I play the bass guitar.

Where were you born?

I was born and raised in the Limpopo province; a village called Ga-Matlala just outside Polokwane.

What did you do before working at Ford?

I was already in the automotive industry at a different OEM in the Eastern Cape. I worked as a robotics technician at Mercedes-Benz South Africa, and I was a robotics student at BMW before that.

What inspired you to study mechatronics, and work in the automotive field?

My love for robotics, cars and engineering in general. I wanted to do something that is challenging, multi-disciplinary, and I wanted the “mega factories” experience.

How did your role as a production process coach at Fords stamping plant prepare you for your current position as the stand-in production planner?

I have a maintenance background from my previous employers, and I had never worked in a stamping plant before I joined Ford. Running the Stamping production line as a leader helped me understand the fundamentals and intricacies of production. I also learnt how to be a better leader and improve my people skills. I learnt how to make decisions confidently, take ownership of my decisions, and learn from my mistakes. 

Can you describe a typical day in your current role?

My day starts with the consolidation of the stamping production figures from all three shifts, including scraps (if any) and total build from bodyshop to determine the current stock levels of all parts in stamping and production priorities. I do daily stock level reports and update the production plan. I have daily meetings with the supplier to discuss required resources according to the production plan and issues we might have. I also liaise with our logistics supplier DSV internally regarding inventory in the warehouse. I manage the blank storage area as well as conduct daily safety walks in the area.

How do you go about daily stamping production scheduling, and what factors do you consider when planning based on forecasted product demand from body shop?

The first and most important factor is what bodyshop requires daily. Other factors I consider include total stock on hand in the warehouse, closure and quarantine. I also consider part complexity, stillage capacity, blanks on hand, strokes per minute for each part that we build, availability of tools from the toolroom and production applications. 

Could you share some insights into how you liaise with suppliers on a daily basis to ensure smooth operations?

We have a meeting every morning, we have a connect group to touch base throughout the day, and I include them in my daily communication regarding stock levels and daily production plan. The consistent and honest communication from both sides really helps, especially when we have hurdles. We occasionally have site visits.

In your capacity planning responsibilities, what challenges do you face, and how do you overcome them to maintain overall production efficiency?

The biggest challenge is the line availability – we have one press line and 67 die sets that need to run on the same line. If the line stands for whatever reason, then we cannot run production. I always ensure that we have three days’ worth of stock in the warehouse for each part so that we do not starve the body shop.

Do you have a role model (personal or professional) and if so, why does this person inspire you?

My father is my role model. He is a diligent worker who strongly believes in doing things with integrity. He is a man of great honour and resilience, as well as a risk taker.

What advice would you give a younger you?

Trust your instincts, do not let fear deter you, do it even if you're afraid, be confident and live in the moment.

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