Manufacturing might be GONE, but it is in my blood.

Feb 15th, 2010No Comments

Once again time has passed and I haven’t visited my blog or even posted to my blog. Writing is not one of my best expressions. I prefer to do other things to express my views or ideas. My inspiration to revisit this blog is to revisit user experience. I have had  the opportunity to work in several UI roles and have a very good idea of why this is such a passion of mine. Oh sure I can make it look pretty, but pretty is what sells initially, but the efficiently and process is what really sells in the end. How will this make my job easy? How will this make my experience positive.

In the past when manufacturing was at its peak here in the United States I was lucky enough to actually work in manufacturing during my summer breaks while in college. I spent hours bored to tears promising myself I would never work in a factory after I graduated from college. I just could not deal with the repetitive work, doing the same darn thing minute after minute, hour after hour. This really shaped my future and sobered me up. Yet, this work was how my family survived, quite well actually. My father was a supervisor for his entire career, until he retired. My grandfather worked on an assembly line making time clocks, my Dad was his supervisor. My Mom also worked at the same company once we all were able to hold down the fort while she took up a career in piece work assembling printed circuit boards. We had the typical middle-class life, living comfortable, living happy. We had enough and we had a family. Summer vacations at the beach, pets, cars, college educations. Out of six of his children, three finished college and we all work in IT technology. In fact, my brothers worked in IT at the manufacturing company my father retired from. Of course this all went south, and I mean literally. Soon those jobs were sent to Mexico, the IT jobs went to Dallas, Canada and India. The city I live in is like the rest of the country, somewhat disillusioned and depressed. Gone and going day by day……..

But, those years were an education, those jobs I held while working through college taught me the importance of production and process.  I learned and discovered that lots of time and energy was placed on the process of production so the assemblers could do their jobs efficiently and bottom line was making money for the company. Each night for many years I listened to may parents and grandparents talk about their jobs. It was interesting since they  were smart people, just naturally smart, no formal education. Day after day they complained about how they had to deal with the process engineers who did either made their jobs more complicated or simplified the process. Certainly, there seemed to be more complaints about how the engineers seemed to always have the answers and never listened to the assemblers on the line who really understood the process. These were the people who dealt with the problems and understood what needed to change. There were times when the frustration ran high because no one listened. The processes became over complicated and simple was overlooked for the sake of technology.

Times have changed and now we process information, this is the age of information. My interest lies in how to take complex interactions and refine these processes to allow the user to process their information or transactions efficiently and effectively and bottom line is making money. Little did I realize how these production lines and manufacturing processes would later affect the way I think. Little did I realize just how this has become part of who I have become and how I have come full circle to place where I began my work life. I have worked with the most amazing engineers who can write beautiful code, who can make software sing, all the bells ands whistles, but it is my job to listen to the users, to hear what they need and help make the process of information technology easy and simple. The most difficult part of my job is convincing the engineers and the inventors who their customers are. For the sake of technology…

Leave a Reply