What is your favorite story or memory during your time working at Team 1?
Vance said his favorite memory stems from a quality issue on a part that Team 1 struggled with for two years. The part would flake inside the injection mold and cause “flash” (imperfections) on subsequent parts. The problem occurred so often that the all of the parts produced had to be manually sorted to ensure that defective parts weren’t sent to the customer. This problem was costing the company time and money and frustration – but not hopelessness. Vance said that the Quality Team and the Maintenance Department worked together to come up with possible solutions to solve the problem. One of the ideas was to adjust the tabs inside the mold. Vance said that they were cautious about considering this idea. Adjusting the tabs might cause the part to become outside of customer specifications. The team decided to pursue the idea, and the tabs were adjusted. It turned out that they had ample room to make the adjustments, and the solution worked. Vance said it was the team effort and persistence that makes this story his favorite. “Nobody gave up on the problem.”
How has Team 1 helped your personal and/or professional development?
Vance said that Team 1 has been “very open to allowing me to attend classes.” He has completed six courses from the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center that directly relate to his work in Quality. Although Vance had worked as a Quality Engineer for other employers, he said that he had never taken these courses. “It’s just been on-the-job training. Sometimes it’s nice to attend a course because there are always questions that you have that you don’t get answered [with on-the-job training]. When you go to one of those courses, it fills in the blanks.” Vance said that the training he received through these courses “helps me do a better job at Team 1 because now I have a better understanding of how things are supposed to work.”
What is your favorite aspect of working at Team 1?
Vance’s favorite aspect about working at Team 1 is that he can make a difference at the company. “Everybody is open to listening to new ideas and at least trying something to see if it works. Sometimes we have some duds, but a lot of times, what we come up works!” He said that his experience at other companies was different. Those companies might talk about change and improving things; but when an idea was suggested, they would reject it and say, “We’re not going to do that!” Vance said he enjoys Root Cause Analysis and working as a Team with his (then) supervisor, Dave Sanford, and Maintenance Captain, Andy Zblewski, to solve quality issues. He compared the process to a “puzzle or a whodunit. You’ve got to interview people and keep asking questions until you find out what actually happened. The ability to turn a problem on and to turn it off and verify it, I find very enjoyable.”
Do you have any advice and/or encouragement for future Team 1 team members?
“Learn your job and continue to learn. Develop yourself. If possible, become more valuable to the company today than you were yesterday.” Vance said that everybody can learn more and do more. “Even learn things that might not technically be your job. It’s just better off for you and the company.” He added that when there are opportunities for advancement, those who have really tried to apply themselves to learn more are the type of people that are most often selected to fill the positions.
Now for a totally random question:
What is the best type of cheese?
Vance replied, “Hot pepper jack, of course!” He said that he likes pepper jack cheese in all types of sandwiches and on pizza. “It’s good on pizza! If you like spicy, then, yeah, pizza!” Vance added that he likes pretty much any cheese, except American because, according to him, “It has no flavor and is plastic!”