Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

June 2012    |    Volume: 44    |    Number: 6

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial Engineers

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Work Perfect

The day we strive forTara Duve 

Tara Duve

Industrial engineer
Footlocker.com/Eastbay
Wausau, Wis.

As an IE at our distribution center, I work on projects that represent troubled areas or new technologies. Projects have ranged from configuring and implementing a new warehouse management system, redesigning layouts to improve process and product flow, implementing a harmonization classification system and forecasting.

My responsibilities include creating a productivity system to aid production planning and establishing an employee pay incentive program. I rely heavily on IE skills to produce viable outcomes. Lean is paramount in identifying areas of waste and elimination methods. Facilities layout design plays an important role in improving process flow. Work measurement is essential in productivity projects that require time studies, elemental and statistical analysis and procedural restructuring. The ability to solve problems independently is the most vital IE skill. Often the solution requires a tool that may not be in our “toolbox,” and adequately acquiring a new tool is crucial to an IE’s survival.

The best part of my job is the ability to innovate and work independently on a project when needed, knowing that I have the support of an exceptional team of colleagues. Projects are assigned with a final goal in mind, but the steps to achieve that goal are not identified. This allows for a brainstorming process that will create an optimal solution that falls within the constraints of the company.

My perfect day at work is one where I am trusted with the responsibility of overcoming a seemingly impossible challenge and knowing that my management team has confidence in my skills to accomplish the goal. I am able to be myself and express myself without inhibitions in my problem solving methods, which produce a realistic and functional solution. And at the end I get to perform my “touchdown dance,” which signals an exciting breakthrough in a new initiative that gets my teammates enthusiastic and energized.

– Interview by David Brandt

David Brandt is the Web managing editor for IIE.