Are You a Leader?

          Having and displaying leadership qualities in a manufacturing setting is essential in the end goal of producing a superior product amongst your competition.  Without the proper leadership in a manufacturing environment you end up with a lot of highly skilled persons not being used effectively.  You must place people in positions in which they can be successful.  This is one of the most important skills you must display in manufacturing.  An example of this would be if someone is good at organizational skills, planning, and communicating you need to place them in a position such as a planner who follows and tracks meticulously the place and process each part is in.

          I read a blog by Art Petty titled Leadership Caffeine  that had some very valid points on leadership qualities.  The first point I found interesting was how many people in charge feel an overwhelming urge to want to tell others what to do.  This is often the case in many work environments.  The article then went on to say most communication by people in charge should be listening and asking questions.  This is an enormous part of being a leader in any environment.  The more you listen and ask questions the better leader you will be.

          Leadership is a skill that is built over time.  A person doesn’t just wake up one morning and become a great leader.  You must watch and learn from great leaders.  By watching other leaders, triumphs and mistakes you can see what works and what doesn’t.  At the end of the day some people have what it takes and some do not.  Great leaders are hard to come by so if you have what it takes show of your skills.

Downtime in Manufacturing

          Everyone that has ever been involved in manufacturing knows that the one thing that kills projected forecasts and cash flow from coming in is downtime.  If a particular machine is down that is crucial in your product line your parts are going to pile up as well as the complaints from customers if you cannot ship on time.  This is a daily struggle for everyone involved in maintenance, electronics, engineering and managers.  All of the sales teams, customers, service representatives, and supervisors are running around asking when are we going to be up and what can we do in the meantime to keep the work in progress going.

          The answer is not cut and dry.  To begin with the older the equipment you have the more prepared you better be.  It’s just like driving an old beat up car to work every day.  You better have a backup plan such as another car to get in when your primary one won’t start in the morning.  With old machinery you need to keep several key components on site such as motherboards, ball screws, motors and drives to prepare for the worst time possible of when you get the call saying the machine is down and we need it right away.

          I just read an interesting blog titled Slaying the Downtime Dragon.  The article mentioned how a team of software engineers from University of Portsmouth had designed some software to help give notice as to when a machine was about to fail.  The article went on to say how the monitoring software and sensors trace algorithms and vibrations to help detect whether a certain component was going to fail in the near future.  This sounds like an excellent opportunity for a lot of manufacturing companies to begin looking into.  The more advantages you have in preventing down time the better.

Manufacturing in the U.S.A

     What has happened to manufacturing in the United States?  In the 1960’s and 1970’s the U.S. was booming with manufacturing jobs nationwide.  Places like Los Angeles, CA were erupting with work for the blue collar individual who was highly skilled using his or her hands and who didn’t mind coming home tired and filthy.  Street corner after street corner had manufacturing facilities such as Honeywell, Hughes Aircraft, and Wolf Range that paid extremely well.  Now all of these facilities have closed their doors or are skeletons of what they used to be.
     Labor union costs, corporate taxes, property taxes, and never ending pension benefits are a few of the many reasons why these companies left and will never come back.  Manufacturing is what made America the successful economic powerhouse that it is today.  We need to get manufacturing back as a cornerstone to our country in order to revive our terrible economy.  Our country can’t survive on desk jobs and service industries.  I have been around manufacturing my entire life and believe that it is essential for the economic future of the United States. 
     I am an electronics technician at a facility that makes and repairs jet airplane engine parts.  I build and maintain very complex equipment that includes mills, lasers, x-ray machines, grinders, casting furnaces, and EDM machines to mention a few.  I love the challenge of solving problems that others cannot.  I am currently earning my MBA at University of Nevada Reno to better my leadership skills with the expectations of one day leading a group of skilled workers in a manufacturing environment.         

ABOUT ANDREW GOODWATER

     I am a former science teacher that needed more of a challenge using his hands.  I have lead large groups of low income students in urban cities and now I want to lead adults in a manufacturing setting.  I currently build and maintain machinery for a company that makes jet airplain engine parts.  I am an energetic worker that loves a good challenge inolving electronics and mechanical aspects of all types of machinery.  I am currently earning my MBA at University of Nevada Reno.

     I am relentless at working hard and finding answers that others give up on.  I have extensive experience with supervising the troubleshooting, building, and maintaining of Robots, Lasers, Mills, Grinders, X-Ray Machines, Casting Furnaces and EDM machines.   I also hold expertise in reading and identifying problems with electrical schematics to help with troubleshooting.   My goals are to finish my MBA program at UNR, lead a wide range of individuals in a manufacturing environment, and to continue improving my skills as a leader.