The day we strive for
Senior industrial engineer – operations
Herman Miller Inc.
Spring Lake, Mich.
I’m a senior industrial engineer working with the manufacturing engineering department at Herman Miller’s filing and storage division in Spring Lake, Mich. Our department’s responsibilities include plant layout, capital equipment justification, process improvement, ergonomic assessments, new product integration, cost estimating and capacity analysis. The Spring Lake operation includes fabricating, painting and assembling steel products such as lateral files, pedestals, storage cabinets and credenzas.
Herman Miller researches, designs, manufactures and distributes interior furnishings for use in various environments, including office, healthcare, educational and residential settings.
My responsibilities include engineering support for the assembly of three product lines, as well as shipping. Day-to-day activities can involve working with production team members to eliminate waste in the process or improve an ergonomic condition or working with product designers up front to ensure we are production capable at product launch. Satisfaction comes when you solve that problem that improves the work life of a team member or see a new product being made on an assembly process that you established.
A recent “feel good” day was completing a project that replaced a steel product component part with a composite part of all recycled material. The solution also reduced costs. All these activities rely on IE skills such as problem solving, ergonomics and lean principles. And high attention to detail is a byproduct of an engineering education.
A perfect day is one where you see that problem-solving idea you worked on to address an issue that has plagued production team members for some time put into effect. Then production team members thank you for making their work life better. Then, on my drive home, I think about the day and smile.
– Interview by David Brandt
David Brandt is the Web managing editor for IIE.