I was struggling to come up with something write about this month and surprisingly inspiration struck in my truck. As I drive around my part of town, it occurs to me that I may have missed my true calling as an industrial engineer. If you live in Lenexa or Olathe you probably know what I’m talking about – road construction. (Of course, this time of year everyone likely feels this pain.)
For 10+ years I’ve driven my wife nuts almost every time we getting the car. I’m always looking for the fastest route, shortest route, least stoplights, fewest left turns – some kind of optimized route. No doubt I’m not alone there. My other mental exercise that annoys her is constantly analyzing traffic flow patterns. There are at least a half dozen intersections that I can’t sit at without complaining about the lack of a right turn lane.
I’ve occasionally thought about going back to school to get a Master’s degree in civil engineering with some kind of focus on traffic management. Seems like an IE would more effective at analyzing city road networks using operations research. If I remember correctly, the OR3 course offered right before I took it focused on traffic. Of course, I’d have to find a city to hire me and let me spend their money to really make it worth the time and effort. One can dream…
Even if going back to school isn’t in the cards for you, continuing education is always an option. Think of it in a lean way; continuing ed is like the small, incremental change of continuous improvement. We all know about the IIE opportunities, but don’t forget about local and online options as well – several options for MBA, KU and K-State both offer an MEM, etc. Maybe if I go one class at a time I can finish a degree before my kids graduate from high school!
What is the one thing we never seem to get enough of, especially at work? Communication – and I don’t mean pure email volume. At least once a week I have a chat with my facility director where one of us will say “I didn’t hear that!” We have a senior staff meeting every Monday that we even start with 5 minutes of gossip because the different support departments hear something no one else has. I’m sure you can all relate to the feeling. The same thing can be said for our organization and chapter.
I think Rachel would agree with me that moving to the quarterly newsletter has made managing it easier – translation: she only has to harp on officers (me) for content 4 times/year instead of 12. However, my opinion is that the timeliness of the information suffers, especially when we’re trying to recap the last 2-3 events and provide info on events still 2 months away. So like any good IE would do, I’m going to some benchmarking and look to technology and current trends to solve this problem.
For the past year the Western Region has been using a blog to distribute news, content and general IIE reminders to its members. At our December RVP meetings we discussed rolling it out to the rest of the regions but I also saw the benefit at the chapter level so I put the wheels into action. I started up a site on WordPress (https://iiekansascity.wordpress.com) that we should be able to post information to more regularly, primarily getting our monthly meeting announcements and recaps out in a timely fashion. The plan is to spread the rest of our quarterly content out over each 3 month period so you at least a couple articles to read each month, and I’ll start the charge of looking for additional content of interest.
Another avenue I’d also like to start utilizing better is the social media outlets we’ve created over the past couple years. Did you know we have a Facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/groups/161163940629771/) or a Twitter account (http://twitter.com/kciie)? We shared some great pics from the Kaufman stadium tour last summer on the FB page but we fell off after that. So yet another goal for me this year is to get these more active.
Feel free to reach out to me if there is any particular content you want to see on these sites. And if you have a passion for social media or blogging and would be interested in getting involved, I would be more than happy to let you because my first rule of being a manager is “Delegate, delegate, delegate!”