I was chatting with Jeremy Riniker, a buyer/estimator/designer for Giese Manufacturing, Dubuque, Iowa, the other day for an upcoming story. I was giving him a hard time about his plethora of responsibilities, but he said the multitude of job duties keeps each day fresh and exciting, even if he doesn't know what to expect when he walks through the door each morning.
He has been with the metal fabricator for a little over a year and has been absorbing everything he can about the business. He is an industrial technology graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, who also minored in 3-D drafting and new-product development. He's jumped right into working with the company's SolidWorks® 3-D CAD modeling software, but the other duties are somewhat new to him. Colleges can teach you only so much; the real world is where the post-undergraduate education really takes place.
Having said that, even someone like Riniker has something to offer. Sure, he's still inexperienced, but sometimes a new point of view is just what an organization needs.
For example, Riniker said that when he assumed his buying duties, he soon became inundated with calls and visits from vendors hawking their latest products and services. He laughingly said that meeting with these folks could have been a full-time job, which is not possible when you have other duties, but he did realize that it might behoove him to meet with some of these folks. After all, it would allow him to see what metal fabricating technologies might make good additions to the Giese Manufacturing shop floor.
So he made a commitment to carve out time in his schedule to meet with those vendors that had promising information to share. That newfound commitment paid off almost immediately after meeting with a sales representative selling a new, more durable ceramic abrasive disc for grinding. Giese Manufacturing's grinders had been going through 10 to 20 traditional hook-and-loop abrasive discs per day, but now use only one of the new ceramic abrasive discs per day because the grinding surface doesn't deteriorate as quickly. As a result, the grinding operators don't have to seek out new grinding discs several times per day, and more parts are being processed.
"The only way we know what's out there is to listen," Riniker said.
(He forgot to mention reading The FABRICATOR to gain industry knowledge, but we'll forgive him for that.)
The new kid on the block comes up with a good ol' cost-saving idea. That's what happens when you bring talented people—no matter what their age—into an organization. Finding good help is at the top of every fabricator's mind, but when you finally get one in place, the hiring can result in immediate dividends for the company.