Originally from Canada, Bense took the reins at Kraft Foods' coffee factory in Banbury almost two years ago and has been making a big impression since then. Her role marks a welcome return to factory management after a stint in project work and her enthusiasm for the role is obvious.
She has presided over significant changes and environmental improvements at a site that has been running for 46 years in one form or another. Its long-standing pedigree, and massive 17-hectare site make the fact that its energy use has been cut by 7% and water use reduced by 12% in the past year even more impressive.
But the environmental initiatives don't stop there. Kenco's recently launched refill packs use 97% less packaging and a newly designed jar, which also uses less glass, has also been introduced.
Bense has overseen the switch to the new packaging lines to handle them. In addition, the plant produces electricity from two combined heat and power boilers, some of which is fed back into the national grid. Couple all this with the implementation of rigorous continuous improvement and lean production programmes, all with minimum disruption, and Bense begins to look like a tough act to follow.