Kristin Allen

IMSE/ Spanish World Language, Literature and Arts Class of 2015


Schaeffler Group USA


What does the company do? Schaeffler is a German company that manufactures rolling element bearings for automotive, aerospace and industrial uses. The company consists of 3 brands that are each represented at Schaeffler plants throughout the world:


  • INA is a leading supplier of rolling bearings, linear motion, engine components, plain bearings and precision components. The plant I work in is INA.
  • LuK is a key source for automotive clutch, torque converter, hydraulic and transmission systems.
  • FAG is a major global supplier of bearings with core competencies in ball, taper, cylindrical and spherical bearing products.
  • The Barden Corporation focuses on high precision, miniature and aerospace products.


Current role: Associate MOVE Specialist, Tappets segment

“MOVE”: In our company, this acronym represents the German phrase “Mehr Ohne VErschwendung”, “more without waste” in English. It stands for a holistic program to increase efficiency that puts our top priority of achieving zero-defects on a new and improved footing.


How I get to my current role:

  • Manufacturing Engineering Co-Op- Altec, Inc. July 2014- August 2015


A day in life at Schaeffler

  • My work hours are usually 7-4PM or 8-5PM but vary a bit depending on which projects I am working on.

6:30AM- Work, and everything else, is all close by in the small town of Cheraw, South Carolina. A half hour in the morning gives me more than enough time to get ready and get to work, just a few minutes down the road.

7:00AM – Arrive to work, walk through of segment for issues and updates from the off-shifts. Check email, come up with to-do list for the day. I usually knock out a few small tasks before the 830 meeting. More or less, this is my time to get work done before the chaos of the day begins.

8:30AM – Segment production meeting. 15 minute daily meeting with segment technicians, engineers, production leaders, etc. to cover the daily issues and focus. I usually leave this meeting with an update priority for the day.

9:45AM– Shop Floor Management meeting (Another occurs at 1045AM). 15 minute daily meeting with the area team to “coach” this area’s leader in running this meeting, driving problem solving, and escalating issues that need support.

10:00AM – MOVE department meeting. 15 minute meeting with the MOVE manager and co-workers to review priority for the day and bring up where we need support from a higher level.

12:00PM – Lunch hour, I go home or run errands.

1:00PM–4:00PM: Project/ task work- out in production or in the office, based on current projects. This is mostly individual, going to the people or processes I need to complete each task. This is the part of my day that feels like “normal work”.


Why chose MOVE/ lean manufacturing? I had experience from Altec that aligned well with this position. I enjoy the fast-paced environment and the fact that no two days are the same. I enjoy working in a project- based environment, where I can organize my workday based on how I see fit.


What’s the end goal? To gain experience in manufacturing then try something different. I like manufacturing but also know there’s plenty of other opportunities for IE’s.


Most surprising thing that I didn’t expect coming out of college – During my initial 6 month training period, I spent 2 months in Mexico. I was originally sent there for 1 month but got involved with a project, and my stay was extended. It became evident to me the importance of being flexible now while I can (no family, no kids). With a company like Schaeffler, it is critical to be flexible to change your plan in a moment’s notice. By doing so, opportunities arise left and right.


Least favorite thing about manufacturing – 

Implementing change among individuals who have been in a position/mindset for a long time can be difficult. It can be difficult to find a balance between respecting the “expert” in that position while still driving the productivity improvements and goals set by higher level management.


Fire-fighting: Manufacturing inevitability has a “fire-fighting” aspect to the job. Some days become filled with unplanned, urgent tasks that are needed based on a customer visit, company internal visit, and quality / maintenance / production issue. The downside to this is that it often delays the work that had been planned for that day.


My 2 Cents– “Watching the clock” mentality makes for long workdays and a less enjoyable job. My most enjoyable work weeks are those where I get into what I am doing enough that I lose track of time.

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