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Senior Management Night 2014 Recap
19 May 2014 8:53 PM
Every year, APICS Phoenix dedicates one dinner meeting to the executives and senior managers of our companies and leaders in our field, and present our annual awards.
This year's Senior Management Night featured Subba Nishtala as the speaker. We had a large
number of first-time PDM attendees, including several of our invited managers.
There were also a couple recent graduates who attended the PDM, and we are always happy to see students and college grads among our PDM attendees.
Subba led us through a discussion on engagement between functional work groups. Specifically, in order for IT to provide a satisfactory solution, they must engage and be engaged with the internal customer they are providing it to.
Likewise, is a specific function, like purchasing, needs an IT solution, they must engage their IT counterparts to work together on the best possible solution. It is not about assigning projects or specifying solutions and demanding adherence, it is about adding value so that the important players get a seat at the table. While the conversation was focused around supply chain and IT, the principles we discussed could be applied to any pairing of traditionally silo'd
Kicking off our annual awards presentation, the Company of the Year went to Coco-Cola. We have had a number of in-house classes this year at Coco-Cola, and their support for APICS and the Body of Knowledge made them a clear candidate for the award.
Member of the Year was awarded, to my surprise, to yours truly, Laura Winger. I am very grateful for the recognition and everything that APICS Phoenix has done for me, and honored to receive the award this year.
Thank you to everyone who invited their managers, brought guests and attended the event! We look forward to seeing you at the
next PDM in August
to see all the photos!
April 2014 PDM: TechShop Tour recap
13 Apr 2014 1:08 PM
I first learned about TechShop several years ago when it was just a place in the San Francisco area. But the idea
me: dozens of high-end, expensive machines for fabrication available for use by the general public for a minimal monthly membership fee (much like a gym membership model). Tinkerers, inventors, wanna-be entrepreneurs, students, small businesses, and even large manufacturing companies all could utilize the unique capabilities and inspiring environment of TechShop. So when I heard that there was a TechShop opening in near me, it would be an understatement to say that I was excited.
APICS Phoenix got a chance to tour this brand-new TechShop facility in Chandler, Arizona for our April PDM. The tour started with the most popular machines - the laser cutters. These Scottsdale-made powerhouses can make precision cuts and etches in a variety of materials, and were used to etch the APICS Phoenix logo into dogtags for each of our attendees. Other examples of laser cut and etched products were displayed outside the computer classroom. All the computers at TechShop are loaded with Autodesk software, which is generally too pricey for most individuals to afford.
Our next stop was a favorite at our previous tour at Local Motors, the 3D printers. Known as rapid prototyping tools, 3D printers empower members to create custom parts without molds or finished plastic products. Also known as additive manufacturing tools, 3D printers add plastic or other materials layer by layer, guided by 3D models designed on the computer.
"Something for everything," our tour guide said as we ventured over to the sewing area. Front and center is the massive CNC embroidery machine. Around the room are various industrial sewing machines as well as a tools for cutting vinyl and screenprinting.
Further into the workspace is an electronics section, which happened to have some small robots there a recent workshop. Then we peered into the woodshop, which has everything you need to form and work with wood, including lathes and table routers.
The smell of Dickey's Barbecue being set up beckoned to us, but we pressed on, into some of the more heavy duty areas. There are areas for TIG and MIG welding, and powder coating, as well as many tools for metal working. Outside is perhaps the most impressive machine, the CNC waterjet. Keeping guard over the waterjet is a giant wooden T-rex model that was made by a TechShop Dream Consultant.
We headed inside to grab our dinner that was now set up by Dickey's Barbecue, while the CNC waterjet was getting set up for a demonstration. When it was ready, we got to see the power of this machine, as it cut and etched stainless steel right before our eyes.
If you are interested in a Corporate Membership with TechShop through APICS Phoenix, please contact Laura Winger at
Thank you to Dickey's Barbecue Pit and TechShop and all of our attendees for making this inspiring event happen!
New and Different Perspectives: Highlights from the Local Motors Plant Tour
21 Mar 2014 12:04 PM
APICS Phoenix visited the Local Motors microfactory on March 20th, and attendees got to see, some of them for the first time, disruptive technologies and business models abundant within Local Motors. It's flagship vehicle, the Rally Fighter, was designed not by Local Motors R&D engineers huddled in a room, but by worldwide crowdsourcing contests. Winning designers are financially rewarded, either with a lump sum upfront or with incremental payments as each product bearing their design is
sold. Winning designers are also recognized on the product itself. For example, each Rally Fighter bears a small plate with the name of the person whose sketch of the body became the overall design of the car.
Our tour guide, Tony, walked us through the assembly area where motor cycles and Rally Fighters were built. You can't buy a new Rally Fighter off a lot; buyers participate in the manufacturing and assembly of their own vehicles.
Among one of the most awe-inspiring gadgets were the many 3D printers that were running. The MakerBot Replicator 2 is one of the most popular 3D printer model. The ones at Local Motors were literally printing parts that would be used on the Rally Fighter, as well as protective cases for the tiny quadcopters they sell in The Shop.
Another innovative technology we learned about was their live, on-screen work instructions displayed on iPads that could be mounted on or near the unit being assembled. If there is an error on the work instructions, mechanics can update the work instructions, which then gets routed to the creator for approval. Those work instructions are also available on the web, so anyone working on their unit at home can see how to repair or put something back together, or provide improvements from their experience.
The service area of the microfactory was very small, mainly because, as Tony pointed out, when you build your own vehicle, you know how to fix it. Many of the components used in the Rally Fighter are off-the-shelf products from large OEMs, so that they "don't have to reinvent the wheel." The engines and transmissions carry warranties from the car manufacturers they come from, so you could take your Rally Fighter into a dealership repair shop for, say, if your engine needs maintenance or repair.
Our next stop was the inventory racks, which are right next to the assembly floors. Local Motors assemblers pick their own components, so the inventory racks are organized based on the assembly timeline; what you need for day 1, and 2, etc. of assembly. Procurement is based on a tightly-controlled min/max system.
Through a set of hinged panels we came to an area where more of the
fabrication is done. A CNC waterjet and a CNC laser cutter were among the impressive pieces of equipment. All of the designs are open to the public, Tony explained, so you can build your own Rally Fighter at home, if you wanted, "but good luck!"
As the tour came to a close, we got to see the construction of a new wing of Local Motors, a workspace for inventors and tinkerers to bring their projects and utilize the tools and knowhow of other experts.
Local Motors is much more than a car manufacturer, although the cars they make are pretty awesome. They are a big part of the Maker movement, one of the prime examples of crowdsourcing product design and collaborative manufacturing projects, focusing on small-run, niche requirements instead of large, mass assembly manufacturing sites. "GM knows how to make thousands and thousands of cars, but they don't know how to make just a thousand."
3D printers like the MakerBot Replicator 2, as well as CNC machines and other rapid fabrication tools like the ones seen at Local Motors, can also be seen at our
next tour in April at TechShop
. There, you can take classes on everything from how to use the machines, how to design products in AutoDesk Inventor CAD and CAM programs, and much more.
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Volunetworking: Volunteer first, reap the networking benefits later
26 Jan 2014 12:14 AM
I was recently asked about my volunteer experience with APICS and what benefits I saw in it. In my response, I focused on two broad benefits: one, that APICS volunteers have the ability to make their experience what they want it to be, and two, that your APICS network creates serendipitous connections that can help when you least expect them to. I think too often, people come to APICS dinner meetings a few times in a row, hoping to network their way to a job in short time. While I know that has happened, it's certainly not the norm, and I'd hate to mislead anyone into thinking otherwise. On the flip side, I know there are lot of people out there who went to a meeting once or twice, but didn't see a direct benefit immediately, and have stopped coming to meetings. So why do some people stick with APICS for decades and volunteer their time while others let it slip their minds?
Like many things especially in the education realm, I think APICS falls into the category of "you get out of it what you put into it." APICS is a big, broad organization with many functions and needs, but also flexibility to make it what you want. It's not just a certifying institute, but a living, breathing organization that needs things like marketing, finance, and IT solutions. It is also an educational organization, so it needs instructors. So if you want to work on specific skills that you don't use enough in your day job, say accounting, website development, or public speaking, APICS may be one avenue you can utilize to hone those skills. And it doesn't have to be all about your skills: if you want to go on more plant tours, you can volunteer for Programs and help select and arrange the plant tours. There are so many volunteer opportunities, big and small, that you can certainly contribute and make APICS your own. This, I think, is the more tangible, immediate return on your time.
The serendipity comes in after multiple volunteer experiences and ongoing networking. I think the best way to explain it is with examples. At one time, I had my eye on a specific company that I wanted to move to, and applied to a number of jobs I thought I could do, even though I lacked some of the experience in the job descriptions. I actually got the interview for one job, not because of my resume or LinkedIn profile, but because the hiring manager had been my student in an APICS CPIM certification course. In fact, he and his lead employee were both previously in my class, and they had recognized my name and gave me a shot at the position even though they really wanted someone with the experience I didn't have. For another example, when I was interviewing for the company I now work for, I didn't even realize I had two APICS connections at the company and within the group I was interviewing for. I'm not exactly sure how the hiring manager learned of these connections, I'm guessing maybe through connections on LinkedIn, but she ended up asking both people if they would recommend me, and they did! One had actually known me through a mutual connection at APICS Tucson, and one I had met at an APICS PDM. Now, I'll be the first to admit that not all companies seek out individuals with APICS certifications, but all companies prefer internal recommendations, especially on a person they are looking to hire from outside the company. To me, that is the real power of APICS and networking.
But it doesn't happen overnight. What good is handing out your business cards if the people you are handing them to don't actually know what you're capable of? Building your credibility takes time. By volunteering just an hour a month, you can have an impact on your APICS Chapter that then reflects highly on what you can bring to the table. When you volunteer, you don't always know who sees your actions that may be able to help you out in the future, but people do notice, and those people might just be your next boss or the internal referral you need to get your foot in the door.
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