“A Manufacturing intern acts a connecting chord between the shop floor workers and the management, and hence stands to gain by bridging both entities” – Myself
The above statement simply summarizes my experience. I had interned at Johnson & Johnson Consumer product division in Sanitary Napkins Production Dept (SanPro Dept). One Part of my work was to deal with waste reduction projects, which was actually a huge loss (Around 200M Annually) to the company. The other part was to observe the Preventive Maintenance (PM) activities and to henceforth focus on decreasing PM downtime while at the same time not compromising on its effectiveness. The stakes were high cause 1 HR of PM downtime results in a loss of 96,000 Napkins
Phew. What you just witnessed in the above paragraph is my project title. So you must be expecting that I had worked on these two projects on the two months. Well, that’s not the case. Due to my proactive nature, and a little persistence from my guide. I had juggled a lot many projects simultaneously involving various stakeholders daily between 8 AM to 8 PM. All these projects kept me on my toes throughout the period
But that was not how it started. Along with the basic Induction, J&J etched the importance of community service with a full day socializing experience at Helen Keller School of Deaf and Blind. This was followed by a two day market work where we had hard core experience in selling along with a designated sales man to make door to door sales at Khirana stores. Now that we had a good market understanding, we were taken to the plant at Mulund where my project was scheduled to begin. After a brief round of Baby Powder, Band Aid and SanPro Manufacturing lines at Mulund, I was asked to commence with my project.
So having a project in SanPro Manufacturing meant that my work would be secluded to the five sanpro Machines at Mulund Plant itself. My First Step was to understand the production process in depth and analyse the waste generated in different locations. Quantification of waste was conducted by tirelessly observing the entire process and jotting it down along a time scale. On a parallel line, I began my PM project with the observation of Weekly PM activities per machine, to understand the reasons for delay’s that results in target off shoot. An average weekly PM took 3.5 Hrs compared to the ideal time of 2 Hrs
A two month period explained in detail might run across pages. The project took me back to the basics of production and maintenance engineering while at the same time provided me an opportunity to implement Lean Methodology, Gantt Charts and detailed Fishbone diagrams from my Management course. So not to bore around with technical aspects, I have thus explained my enjoyable experience in short.
There are 3 phases shown to an intern at a company: Resistance, Indifference and Acceptance. The First part experienced was literally frustrating, when no one takes your work seriously. The line manager once said “We see interns come and go on a regular basis but no substantial change occurs”. Depressing, as it may sound, I was determined not to fritter away my two months. So I was on my mentor’s back requesting his time, as I built on the given project piece by piece.
And I noticed something. More the time I spent on shop floor, more I found the workers engaging with me and resolving my doubts. They were indifferent to what I did, but I was not easy to ignore. As the phase moved towards acceptance, they opened up to me, with their points and concerns that they wouldn’t dare to directly put up with the management. And as I listened, I came across points that directly affected by Project Deliverables and that’s where I stood to gain
Whether its Waste Reduction or Maintenance Improvement, the operators had a lot more clarity on what might work and what might not while on the other side management was constantly searching for possible and feasible improvements in these areas. Being the one hardworking chap and with least Ego, I set to make and sustain changes in the manufacturing setup and it worked. Some of my suggestions were actually implemented.
Some people might say that I worked a lot, but I would replace it with the word enjoyed. Every single discussion with different stakeholders, be it Production, Quality, Planning or Engineering expanded my mind beyond my expectations, providing me with perspectives that hence made my project deliverables unique.
My Greatest Learning from this project was not any technical fundamentals, but the fact that with a High level of sincerity, Low level of Ego and a Continuous level of persistence, anything is possible to achieve in an internship.