Yack with Zach: Keeping Up with Priorities 

By Zach Fothergill

In a manufacturing shop, projects are in a constant state of just getting started; near completion; and completion. It may seem like gentle chaos to an outside eye, but to me, it’s a normal day. We have projects coming online and we have projects going out the door, plus everything in between.

A good portion of my job is prioritizing all of that work. I think I thrive on juggling multiple projects and often-conflicting schedules to make it all work out right. At least most of the time!

My week begins first thing Monday morning with a team of colleagues. We talk through what projects are scheduled to begin this week. Of course, there are incomplete panels still on the floor from the week before, so we attend to those next on the priority list. Is a part missing? Or do we need a certain employee’s talents to transfer from one job to the not-yet-finished project?

We might also have to work a contractor into the mix at this point. For instance, if we need to bring in a crate-building company, a call must be made at the right time to get on the crate company’s schedule. Too soon and the panel won’t be ready; too late and we might miss our shipping window.

Next on my list of prioritizing projects is the final deadline date. Sometimes, we have to be a neutral party when two different groups in the same client company request different shipping dates. I try to listen to everyone’s priorities and then figure out when the build needs to happen.

I am most happy when I can get a project scheduled and finished ahead of time. I don’t like to wait on scheduling the project and assigning employees to it because if we run into any unforeseen issues, then I’m in a race against the clock.

Each and every project is treated with care at UCEC. Prioritizing makes sure we can build, wire, test and deliver our custom electrical control panels on time.

Zach is UCEC’s Operations Support Manager. Check out his first post in the Yack with Zach series: "Behind the Scenes with Our New MC80 Machine."


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