A great week at work
I haven't really written that much about my job, I guess because it's not very exciting, just something I do to pay the bills. Not to say it's not a good job, it pays pretty well and I like my boss and coworkers. But it's, well, nothing to blog home about.
But this week has been different. When I went to Georgia this summer, it was for a training class for what I'm doing right now. It's a concept called Kaizen, and it works like this: You take a group of people from different departments and they spend a week dedicated to improving and streamlining a process. Everything that needs to be done is done within that week, and you try to put the new process in place by the end of the week. It's most often used in Manufacturing, but we're doing it with business processes.
In Georgia, we worked on improving a company's shipping department, and by the end of the week we had a process in place that would save the company about $100,000 a year. It took working about 12 hours a day and lots of gathering of information, and also cooperation from the upper management, but we were able to get it done. What's really great is that the group of people that I spent a week with in Georgia are the same people I'm working with now. We have an interesting mix of people: an engineer, a shipping manager, a complaint handler, someone from HR, a quality assurance person, and a tech writer (that would be me). We worked really well together during the week in Georgia. I went on vacation right after the training, and I kind of missed the team. That sounds weird, but it was just so great to work together and accomplish something, and be totally immersed in it.
So this week, I've been in a conference room for 8 or so hours a day, working on improving our material destruction process. Sometimes our plant has too much of something, or something is obsolete, or something is contaminated. So we have to get rid of it. The previous process would often require 5 people to sign off on destroying material that has zero value. Even stuff that was only worth a few dollars was still getting signatures from 5-6 people, some of them in upper management. So we worked on reducing the number of signatures, and making it easier to just get rid of this stuff, not tying up people's time walking around getting signatures. Basically cutting the red tape.
We definitely had some spirited discussions, but we came up with a new process that's much better and makes a lot more sense. Usually, my day consists of sitting in a cubicle, writing or editing manuals. This week, I was working with a group of people, sharing ideas, solving problems, joking around, eating together...
Well, it was really great. We have two more of these events this year, and I'm really looking forward to them. This might be my last year in the corporate world, at least for a while, so I'm glad I get to do these projects.