Name: Elizabeth Brininstool

Class: IMSE Undergraduate Class of 2016 (December)

Organization: Federal Mogul Powertrain

What does the organization do?

My plant produces bearings, washers, and bushings for automotive and heavy duty applications. We also have 8 sintering lines and a copper-lead powder foundry. The powders and strip we produce are used in many of our products and are sold to some of our sister plants around the globe.

Current Role:

Industrial Rotational Engineer for the Greenville, MI bearings plant

A day in the life of an Industrial Engineer at Federal Mogul:

My main responsibility as an industrial engineer at Federal Mogul is to be the site capacity planner. I am in charge of tracking the capacity for every cell in the plant, as well as verifying to our customers that we can make what we claim we can make. This role has also led me to be a part of several high-profile capital projects to install new machinery and new cells at the plant. I provide detailed analysis of our 5 year projected capacities and show when we need to get new machinery or improved manufacturing processes and what impact it will have on our plant if we get it. Along with this, I am the lead for our recently launched 5S program, and I have been responsible for various facilities improvement projects, such as implementing LED lighting plant-wide.

Below is an example of a recent day I’ve had:

7:30 AM: I usually come in to work around 7:30. My plant is pretty lax about what hours you work, as long as you get in a minimum of 8 hours a day. This flexibility is especially useful in a 3 shift operation like ours, because it allows us to be able to interact with people from all three shifts.

8:00 AM: I typically spend the first half-hour of the day checking and responding to emails, eating breakfast, and drinking coffee. Around this time, I will often go talk to my boss before his 8:30 staff meeting. We don’t have a very structured meeting schedule, but we often end up talking once or twice a day. The plant priorities can change often, and it’s important to have very open communication here.

8:30 AM: We are looking to refurbish one of our sintering lines to be able to take volume from two of our nearly over-capacitized lines. To figure out what we can and need to move, I am digging through our parts management system to pull the specifications of different parts on the near-full lines. The two lines in question run over 100 parts each, but I am only focusing on one specific material type.

10:00 AM: After all of the data gathering work, I worked with production to create an excel tool to examine a list of parameters to see if the parts can run down the soon-to-be refurbished line. We could have gone through and looked at each part individually, but I’ve learned that with projects like these, it is always best to created reusable tools, because people will always want to add in more things to be analyzed later on.

11:00 PM: This is usually when I go grab lunch. I have a four month old puppy, so I typically go home at lunch to let him run around outside for a bit.

12:00 PM: Ford wants a few capacity analysis reports by the end of the week, so I knock out one of those. Each customer has a specific form that they would like me to use, but they all take pretty similar inputs, which I track in my own internal capacity analysis tool: cycle time, total volumes, OEE, etc.

1:30 PM: When I finish up capacity reports, I always like to have our Launch Manager review them before sending them to the customer. These parts are his projects, so I like to give him a chance to look over and approve them.

2:00 PM: I have a weekly conference call with the engineering manager (my boss), plant manager, operations manager, and the North American bearings manager to review the status of all the capital projects in the plant.

3:00 PM: My boss has heard complaints of lighting outside of the main entrance at night, so he asked me to find an outdoor rated light with an industrial feel to it. I spent some time shopping around, and then purchased the best fit. I also put in requisitions to purchase tables to hold scales in the final audit area as part of a 5S event, and to bring in outside vendors to replace metal halogen lights with LEDs as part of my capital project.

4:30 PM: I take a final look at emails and if there is nothing that requires urgent attention, I head out for the day.

Why did I choose Federal Mogul?

A big reason I chose Federal Mogul was because of their rotational program. I will be staying at my current plant for 2 years, then rotating to a position in another plant. The opportunity for career growth and experience was one that was hard to pass up!

What’s my goal?

Right now, my goal is to expand my data analysis and computer programming skills so that I can steer my career in that direction. I enjoy that type of work, and with a largely computer-based job I will have more opportunities to work from home once I start a family.

What’s the most surprising thing I didn’t expect coming out of college?

The most surprising thing for me is that I don’t miss college as much as I thought I would. I definitely miss all of my friends, most of whom stayed on the east coast, but I love the freedom of being able to (for the most part) leave work at work, and use my free time for things I want to do.

Least favorite thing about Federal Mogul?

My plant was opened in 1940 and neglected through much of the recession, so there is a lot of work to be done to bring it back to its former glory. While I enjoy the challenge of helping bring it back up, I don’t always enjoy the day-to-day downsides of an older facility.

My 2 Cents:

Don’t forget about work-life balance! I have seen many colleagues get wrapped up in work to the point that when asked what he was doing this weekend, one even commented “I don’t have anything in particular to do, so I will probably just come into work.” A new job can be exciting, but don’t forget to enjoy the things that make you, you.

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