Since 1846 we’ve been committed to providing products consumers can count on - for now and for years to come - all around the world. Our power brands such as Arm & Hammer™️, Xtra™️ and Waterpik®️ are household names, relied upon by millions of customers. As we’ve grown, we’ve been sure to build our culture around the tenants of courage, determination and team spirit. We’re united by our small company feel and inspired by opportunities to make our mark.
But what’s it like to really work for Church & Dwight? How does it feel to see the direct impact of your work and be right at the heart of the action, in the thick of things, making our company tick?
In this blog series, we interviewed key players in our business to uncover what they do, where they operate and why they enjoy coming to work every day. Each of these employees adds tremendous value to Church & Dwight.
Today we spoke with Sarah L., Senior Manager of Packaging Engineering in our Princeton, NJ plant.
Sarah joined us in 2007 as a Research Packaging Engineer and since then has worked her way up through the ranks, gaining increased responsibility and doing work that touches almost every one of our brands. However, there’s so much more to Sarah’s background – and, equally, she insists, so much more to life at Church & Dwight.
Much more than meets the eye
The owner of a Materials Science degree (as well as an EMT certificate from her days as volunteer ambulance crew!), Sarah split the early parts of her career pre-Church & Dwight between engineering roles in product line management, processing, and manufacturing efficiencies. She then conducted materials testing in the aerospace industry, before moving onto working on precise micro dose level measurements at a pharmaceutical company. Her career later pivoted into the medical devices space, where she gained experience on manufacturing engineering and line layouts, before moving into the Sales as a Sales Engineer.
That extensive and impressive body of experience all coalesced some 16 years ago to make her an outstanding candidate to join our packaging team. Since then, Sarah has never looked back.
“I really feel like I found a home here at Church & Dwight,” she says. “That’s a big part of why I’ve been here as long as I have.”
Now tasked with leading a team of six, Sarah also handles project and portfolio management for a range of our businesses – a role she grew into while the company supported her successful studies for her Green and Black belt Lean Six Sigma certifications.
Asked what people might not realise about her role and team, she explains: “I wish people knew the breadth of what we do! There are so many considerations that go into a package design. For instance, trying to balance strength, cost, ergonomics, functionality, and machine limitations along with meeting customer and retailer requirements, all of which can vary widely,” she says.
"A lot of people fancy themselves packaging engineers but there’s an incredible amount to it that most people wouldn’t ever realise,” Sarah explains. “At least, until they’re lucky enough to land a role here. Then the fun really begins!”
A welcoming place, packed with variety
It’s perhaps not surprising that after 16 years, Sarah is a big fan of the company culture here at Church & Dwight and would recommend it to any potential new recruits.
“It’s definitely a welcoming environment,” she says with a smile. “People are friendly and we all work hard to get the job done – but have fun too. I’m lucky to have a great team that is highly skilled, diverse, passionate, willing to step up when I need them to take on a new challenge, but they also make me laugh and encourage and help one another.”
In terms of her team’s day to day, in just a few moments Sarah makes it clear just how wide and varied their responsibilities are, and how many other teams they interact with on a daily and weekly basis to be successful.
"We are very collaborative with so many cross-functional teams,” Sarah explains. “We work closely with Marketing to understand the business needs and learn about consumer insights. We also work very closely with our vendors to ensure components have the right dimensions, tolerances, fit and all run smoothly. And We work closely with Operations and attend line trials to make sure our customers will be delighted with our products.”
She takes a momentary pause for breath, then continues…
"Additionally, we write the specifications on all of the packaging components, put together bills of materials and work with Product Development to get items released for sale. We also work with the Corporate Engineering team on new packaging equipment installations and with Quality on qualifications and validations,” she says with an out of breath smile.
“In short, we work on all types of projects!” beams Sarah. "I enjoy the variety of businesses and packaging formats I support as well as the people I work with. No two days are ever the same.”
We succeed as a team
Asked about recent successes and her team’s goals, Sarah is full of enthusiasm for the present and future of her team and life at Church & Dwight.
“It’s been great to see Home Care grow to $1bn!” says Sarah. “There is amazing forecasted growth in e-commerce and GMG over the next few years. Accelerating in e-commerce is a big focus for the company and I’m excited that my team is driving in this area and that we are part of the new Digital team.”
Pressed to name a specific project, Sarah takes a second or two to ponder, before responding:
“It’s difficult to just pick one. Clump & Seal was the company’s most successful launch and required developing cartons with high barrier properties, premium metallic graphics and a new glue,” she reflects. “But from an aesthetic perspective, I’d also say Oxi Clean Dish Detergent that launched in three sizes in custom hourglass bottles that really stood out on the shelf.”
And what, we ask Sarah, is the key to such brilliant teamwork that helps create such incredible products?
“Communication is key and building up your network,” she nods. “Not only knowing who to call to get information but also knowing what your downstream customers need – that’s so important to keep projects on schedule and running smoothly.”
“To any new starter, I’d say: Ask questions. Be curious. Learn from mistakes. Keep a positive attitude,” she says with her now-trademark smile. “Do all of that and I’m sure you’ll love life here – just as much as I have all these years!”
Ready to join us?
If you embrace your collegial spirit, enjoy working together to overcome challenges and bring a positive attitude to work each day, then a career in packaging engineering can offer you the opportunity to develop iconic packaging for market-leading brands, and help us launch new products that our customers will love.
We’re an open and upfront workplace, so you’ll be given the authority, respect and trust to solve problems and make a real contribution.
With competitive wages and benefits, everyone is rewarded for their hard work. If you are a strong team player, you’ll thrive in this company.