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Industry Spotlight: Aran Plant Manager

May 12, 2017
In celebration of IEDC’s National Economic Development Week 2017 and South Carolina’s Industry Appreciation Day on May 11, the Upstate SC Alliance and economic developers in each community have collaborated on a series that recognizes the value of our industries as told by employees whose lives are touched by these companies, who have passion for their products, and who can inspire the next generation. 

Our series continues with Hila Frish, plant manager at a recently opened innovative packaging facility in Greer. 

Hila Frish

General Manager, Aran USA in Greer
Years of Service with your company?: 12.5
Education: Bachelors in Psychology, Masters in Organizational Development and an MBA
What does your company do, where, and how many people does it employ in the Upstate?: 
Aran USA is a fully owned subsidiary company of Aran Group. Aran Group has three production sites: Israel, Spain and the USA. Aran USA produces and sells bags for bag-in-box applications including the wine market in the USA. We offer a wide variety of bags for the bag-in-box application. Available in 2 liter to 1500 liter sizes, both aseptic and non-aseptic for the food and non-food industry. The factory is situated in Greer South Carolina and has been built according to the high-quality standards demanded in the global food industry. Aran USA employs 26 people at its facility in Greer.
Tell me some about the work that you do: As the general manager I am in charge of the whole operation. At Aran that means focusing on quality and people. The products we make are used mostly to hold  liquid food products, so quality is very important. most of our products are irradiated and sterilized before they are filled by our customers and it is very important that we use the right material and seal everything properly. It really is a matter of safety. We also want to make sure we have good people on our team and that we provide great service to our customers.
A typical day starts with a meeting with all of the major managers (logistics, planning, production, etc.) where we discuss the plant’s efficiency and plan for the day. After that meeting, my day is spent in other meetings, running numbers, tracking our efficiency and quality, reporting, and any customer service we need to take care of. Since we are a manufacturing operation all of these things—and the entire day really—focuses on production. We make sure we are producing a quality product as efficiently as we can.
My training for this position came through experience with the company. I started with Aran Group as a human resources manager back in 2004. In 2010, I added the role of manufacturing manager for Aran Group, which is where I started learning more about the production end of the business. As an HR manager, I was still very business focused and knowledgeable of the production side, but as the manufacturing manager I got more first-hand experience. In 2015, I was named the head of Aran USA and arrived here in February 2016. We opened this facility and started production in July of the same year. I also have training as a business coach and group facilitator, which has proven to be very useful.
What are the skills most important to your job?: My people skills, knowledge of the company and our products allow me to do my job and lead our team. These skills allow me to run the operation here, but my passion and focus are also important. I love machines and I’m interested in how they work. I am driven and assertive, which help me push our team to keep quality high.
What is your favorite thing about your job?: I have two favorite things: the people and the company. I love the people I work with here, we have a great team. I am proud to be a part of our team here, and I am also proud to be part of ARAN. I care about the company and what we are able to achieve. One of Aran’s values is family and the company really does feel like a family, and I like that.
A child tells you they want to follow in your footsteps when they grow up. What advice do you give them?: Listen and learn; don’t be afraid; and if someone offers you an opportunity, take it.
I have a story for the last piece of advice. When I was still the HR manager I was helping the CEO find and evaluate candidates for the production manager position. We’d been searching for a while and one day during lunch the CEO looked at me and said “I’ve found our new production manager.” I was surprised and asked “who?” He answered, “you.” I burst into laughter, I thought he was joking. I was talking about it with a friend and she said it’s an opportunity you can’t say no to. I decided to say yes, and I’m really glad I did.
Is your company engaged in the community?: Since we just recently started operations, we have focused internally. Aran Group highly values community involvement and we are looking forward to getting involved in the Greer and Upstate communities later this year.

TOPICS: Existing Industry, Manufacturing