By Jennifer Erb
2017-05-152017-05-31https://wvuieleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/[email protected]WVU IE200px200px
IMSE Undergrad Class of 2016
What does the company do? Eaton is a highly diversified manufacturing company in the power management business. The company employs nearly 100,000 employees all over the world and is divided into two sectors; the electrical, and industrial. Eaton’s yearly revenue is close to 20 billion and is an S&P 500 index. Products manufactured by Eaton are used by us every day; from the light switches in our homes, to the turbo engine in that corvette I wish I could afford (someday.)
Current role: Manufacturing Engineer (Leadership Development Program, 1st Rotation)
How I get to my current role:
A day in life of a Manufacturing Engineer – The exciting thing about working in a manufacturing environment is that every day is different. You get the best of both worlds of being able to set aside some days to be dedicated to a typical 8-5 office work day but also have that opportunity to be out on the floor and physically touching the work that you do as well as communicate to a vastly diverse group of people. You will hear the term “fires,” or issues on the floor, quite often which require you to act quickly and come without warning at times. This makes every day always something different and leaves me feeling rewarded with what I do on a day-to-day basis.
The work environment in the office is relaxed and dress is business casual. Eaton just released a new policy on dress code that allowed jeans every day, which was previously only Fridays. People, both in the office and on the floor, are friendly and kind. The culture at Eaton is very important and many have come to love it. Work hours typically follow the normal office norm of 8 to 5, Monday through Friday. However, a lot of the engineers and other groups that work more directly with operations will come in earlier to support the floor (1st shift begins at 5:30 AM.) For me, it just depends what I have going on and where I am at on my projects. I have been at work as early as 5 AM and as late as 7 PM.
Below is an example of a recent day I’ve had.
7:00AM – My days typically start at 7 AM where I wake up and get ready for work . I was never much of a morning person so I generally choose to get into the office at 8 AM.
7:50AM – By 7:50 I leave my apartment, work is only about an 8 minute drive for me so I do not have to dedicate much time to travelling to and from the office.
8:00AM – I arrive just before 8 and go straight to the cafeteria to grab a coffee before heading to my desk. After grabbing my coffee I head to my cubicle to check my emails. There is a sales rep who wants to stop by and inspect a job that I oversaw last week to make sure the job was completed to both of our standards. I shift a few meetings around and make the time he is available work for me.
8:15AM – I head to our communication area on the floor for our daily communications meeting. At this meeting, the production supervisors report out on the previous day’s results and bring up any issues they are having on the floor while everyone is all in one place. During report out, I am told one of the assembly teams is confused about a certain process on the new assembly line I just designed and implemented. First fire of the day.
8:30AM – I make it to the new assembly line and am greeted by 3 people all with different questions. This new assembly line has changed several processes in order to promote a more lean environment. The full time team has been fully trained on these new processes, but we are approaching vacation season. On this given day, we had flexed operators to the line who were unfamiliar with the process. I gave the assemblers a quick 30 minute training and observed afterwards.
10:00AM – During my training out on the floor, I had called our HR manager to set up a quick meeting to discuss opportunities and actions to ensure this issue does not happen in the future. We talked for an hour about different ideas and ultimately came up with a tracking spreadsheet to track core competencies within different areas of the plant. Once completed, supervisors will be able to use this file to flex operators more efficiently.
11:00AM – I am off to my next meeting, a weekly meeting for a new project I have taken on the role of managing and facilitating.
11:45AM – The vendor arrives. After I get him signed in and supply the correct PPE we walk the floor to the area where the project took place last week. We both decide that the job was completed to our liking, and he finishes the paperwork on his end. While I have him on site, I take the opportunity to discuss two more future projects so that we can receive quotes for the job. I explain the scope, timeline, and answer any questions he may have while taking notes about the jobs.
1:00PM – I finish up with the vendor and take care of the sign out process and run to my next meeting that I am a few minutes late to. This meeting is a bi-weekly occurrence and is with our safety action committee, a group I volunteered to be a part of. Today I am leading our Gemba walk and focusing on the new assembly line I have been putting together. I thought it would be a good idea to have other people from various career backgrounds see if any possible safety concerns stuck out. The team had a lot of excellent ideas that I added to my list of follow-up action items.
2:15PM – I am just now starting lunch today. I do not usually eat this late but this further shows that you never know what your day might look like.
3:30PM – I sit down at my desk to finish up some work on a new cart I am designing to hold work in progress inventory for our assemblers. The cart will provide material flow improvements as well as become more ergonomically friendly to our operators.
5:45PM – Finished up the design and am ready to leave the office!
Why choose a rotational program? Choosing to do a rotational program was not an easy choice for me, and it is by no means for everyone. However, if you have the availability to live anywhere and limited responsibilities towards loved ones or family, it is an amazing opportunity. You are given the chance to explore multiple career options, travel to new locations, and network with many people of varying career levels. My first rotation brought me to Worcester, MA (a few years ago I would have told you that you would never see me in New England.) Fast forward to the present and I will tell you it has been an amazing experience. My next rotation begins this July and it is taking me to the corporate headquarters for the electrical sector in Pittsburgh, PA. This role will be a marketing engineer role, and I will be tasked with attending trade shows, managing a product line, and analyzing with market segments to attack. This will be completely different from what I do currently.
What’s the end goal? My end goal is to become a manager of people (commonly referred to as MOP.) I am still unsure of type of areaI want this to be in; whether it be operations, marketing, etc. I know that the rotational program will help me decide what fits me the most.
Most surprising thing that I didn’t expect coming out of college – How fast time flies. You have probably head that college is some of the best years you will experience in your lifetime and how fast it will go by. I can tell you one thing, it only gets faster. There are days I get into the office and before I know it the clock hits 6 o’clock and I wonder where the day went. Make the most of your time, especially while you are still young!
Least favorite thing about corporate – The amount of time it takes to complete seemingly simple tasks. When working with corporate you will come to learn that everything that involves corporate is like getting in line at the DMV.
My 2 cents – Do not shy away from tasks you are unfamiliar with. Just because you did not learn it in the classroom does not mean you cannot tackle the task and be successful doing so! These are the projects you learn the most from!