Calvin Martin helps Nestlé manage data for its 330,000 global employees
“My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates,” Forrest Gump told us. “You never know what you’re going to get.” If you don’t know what you’re going to get from a box of chocolates, then imagine figuring out what you’re going to get from the data of 330,000 employees.
That’s the challenge facing Calvin Martin ’03, manager of Nestlé’s global business solutions time management. But it’s a challenge he savors.
Nestlé, which celebrated 150 years of “Good Food, Good Life” in 2016, has 2,000 name brands and 418 factories in 86 countries. Many of its 330,000 employees punch a timecard or log hours on smartphones.
Yet each plant has its own pay rules. Then layer on the laws from each country, and you get the impression that each location’s data speaks a different language.
Martin is responsible for the systems that record employees’ time on the job and their activity. It’s his task to translate those languages and get everyone on the same system, so that Nestlé can see, analyze and ensure that all employees are paid correctly.
In a short time, Martin has seen just how important that data is. For example, he aligned several of these time management systems and spotted a discrepancy. Several locations were paying bonus pay to second-shift workers the day before a holiday. “That’s $3 times 40,000 people for each holiday. That adds up,” Martin says. “We easily found savings with having that visibility and exposure to how we’re paying people.”
The road to Glendale
Martin has a long history with time management systems. His job is an exciting combination of business software and personal skills for Martin, who earned his bachelor’s degree in finance at Alvernia after more than a decade of night classes while juggling time with his wife, Ann, and sons Christian and Seth. “It’s been a great journey,” he says, from his childhood in Stowe, Pa., to his current home in Glendale, Calif.
Martin held several jobs in finance while attending college and after he received his degree. He joined Nestlé in 1989 as a controller at its water plant in Breinigsville. It was in his next role, as the regional operations manager there, that he dove into the time management systems — standardizing systems at five Nestlé plants — that now define his work life at the global level.
When those systems were in place, he aligned Nestlé Waters’ 25 locations, from the distribution centers to sales departments and truck drivers. Next, Martin was asked to do the same throughout Nestlé USA’s more than 100 locations. In early 2016, he took on his current role, in which he is tasked with standardizing systems for Nestlé’s global brands across four different regions — North America, Latin America, EMENA (Europe, the Middle East, North Africa) and AOA (Asia, Oceania and Africa).
Part of the challenge of his job is that he has to implement, rather than just set up, the new systems by stressing the importance of having them standard and streamlined. “I quickly had to learn: Anyone can implement a system. It’s tough, but it’s not that tough,” Martin says. “The challenge is trying to change people’s paradigms and trying to get them to go where you want them to go.”
In his current role as part of the global organization, that challenge is tenfold. But it’s also the part of his job that he most enjoys, especially working with people around the world. He has enjoyed learning the cultural nuances of different regions. For example, he learned that in Switzerland, workers are guaranteed a 30-minute paid “daylight break.” During this past year, he has spent time traveling abroad and building relationships.
Today’s technology enables employees to work with one another several time zones away. Working with people globally has stretched Martin’s perspective — and has also stretched out his workday. Luckily, he says, “God’s favor” allows his schedule to be flexible enough to have time for family and church activities. He became a licensed minister in 2009, thanks in part to his theology courses at Alvernia.
“The world is becoming much smaller with social media and technology,” Martin says. “To see it and be involved with it is pretty exciting.”