January 13, 2006

No Real Satisfaction

I attended a seminar last night - kind of "dinner and a talk" thing. I figured it was a great opportunity to network - I'm new in the area and have no contacts, plus it's been a while since I've worked in a "true" manufacturing enviroment and an update on how things run today wouldn't be a bad thing.

My impressions? Well, the steak was good.

Seriously - it was nice. The people weren't all the friendly. I think I actually met 3 people - met as in Hi my name is Tammi. Plus - there really weren't all that many folks involved in manufacturing. Most of 'em were bankers. Now, I don't have anything against bankers - I was just a little surprised.

After dinner the talk was centered on Lean Manufacturing. That's the thought process of cutting all waste from the entire process. Now I'm not talking Zero Waste. Thats a program. This is a process that starts at the top and involves every employee. You reorgainize, physically, everything to be more efficient. You change your processes to streamline and improve the flow. The end result is higher margins, shorter leadtimes, happier customer and empowered employees.

I left there so depressed I could hardly think. When I worked with Nippon Steel, many years ago, that was how we ran. It was all about effieciency, margin and customer satisfaction. The thought was you were hired to do a job - do it. Plain and simple. If a decision falls within your range make it. Just make sure you can explain the why's if it falls apart. THAT was how I learned what I know about business and management.

I thought it was kind of interesting that they've taken this way of doing things and made it a bonifide "program". Silly me - I just thought it was the best way to do business. I actually even wrote a paper for college (a couple years ago) that outlined this philosophy. I had no idea this was a trend in the real world.

I don't think I'm going to join this little "society". I may attend a few events, but I'm very hesitant to join a group whose main objective is to raise money. Oh - they go out and talk to high school students to try and recruit, but for the most part it's dinners, fund raisers and mini talks. Plus - their politics seem very liberal and I just don't want to throw my support behind something that I disagree with that strongly.

Overall - if I'm honest, the whole thing just ended up being a very long day with one good piece of meat at the end. I suppose I shouldn't complain, but damn - I was hoping for a bit more. But then again - we all know how greedy I can be! ;-)

Posted by Tammi at January 13, 2006 06:59 AM

"very long day with one good piece of meat at the end"

I suspect your going to regret that comment.

Have you tried Manufacturing or Automotive groups? Like the Society of Manufacturing Engineers? Don't have to be an Engineer to join because it's more than just Engineering.

Posted by: Machelle at January 13, 2006 07:28 AM

I'd be curious if it's a "society" here locally I might be aware of.

Posted by: Raging Mom at January 13, 2006 08:14 AM

Yeah, Machelle... I'm kinda disappointed that Contagion hadn't a thing to say.

She says she had one good piece, but she was still hoping for more. And nobody's said a thing. Hmm..

Posted by: That 1 Guy at January 13, 2006 02:09 PM

So, if we quote that will elipses, we get;
"Overall - if I'm honest, the whole thing just ended up being a very long ... good piece of meat...".

Yeah, that's a good quote for Tammi. :)

Posted by: _Jon at January 13, 2006 04:42 PM

As soon as I read that quote I thought... Isn't that what most women want? "A very long day with one good piece of meat at the end"? Sounds like a GREAT day to me!!! ;-)

Posted by: Bou at January 13, 2006 09:24 PM