Automation Providing Support for Intern Project
This past week the interns collaborated with continuous improvement specialist Jordan Grimm on writing a purpose statement for the will-call project. The statement is necessary to concisely explain to fellow employee-owners why this project is important to Van Meter and our partners. Automation interns Brett Benson, Austin Burbridge, and Jacob Thoren have an open view of what the trackability changes will do within the company and the scope of what the project will offer. This unique perspective puts the three into a lead role of answering the question “Why?”. Brett recalls his actions since applying the new process in Iowa City and creating a step by step training document for following branches.
“In creating our purpose statement, the team has learned that solid reasoning allows for quick implementation and gives everyone a great understanding of how they will be helped by a change. This has been our objective during the past week and it has been exciting to work with a talented team that can dig into the many individual reasons to improve our trackability and come up with an underlying reason that can be conveyed to our entire company. Employee-owners needing a clear understanding of why before changing processes shows both their engagement in work day to day and the drive to see our company succeed.”
– Brett Benson (University of Iowa)
This intern project is a great example of how an internship at Van Meter stands apart from internships at other companies. The will-call project has allowed these students to come together from multiple departments and make impactful changes that benefit our company, as well as learn about Van Meter as a whole. It is an experience and dynamic that did not happen by chance. The intern program is constantly evolving based on feedback from interns and coaches. Austin has had first-hand experience on the changes the intern program has made as he continues his second summer with us.
“It has been awesome to see the amount of growth the intern program has achieved since last summer. In past years, there have been around five interns, but this year the number jumped to eleven. It has been a great experience to discover the benefits, and overcome the unique challenges, that come with having a larger group. I have enjoyed learning and interacting with new departments through my fellow interns, and understanding what they do to support Van Meter. This will-call project is really building on the advancements we made to the will-call process last summer and I cannot wait to see what future innovations are in store.”
– Austin Burbridge (Iowa State University)
Along with the company-wide intern project, the automation interns have been given their own set of projects within the automation department itself. Here at Van Meter, the interns get to have hands-on learning with their own specific projects where they can gain further knowledge about automation itself and garner valuable work experience. Jacob has enjoyed the opportunity to do this and learn more about automation with the other two automation interns so far, this summer.
“As automation interns, Brett, Austin and I strive to learn, problem-solve and create new ideas and solutions to better the automation department and Van Meter as a whole. We each have our own project we are working on individually, as well as two projects we are working on together. Our two group projects are focused on increasing collaboration and communication within the department and creating an effective messaging strategy to ‘Sell the Entire Solution’ and our individual projects are concentrated on specific areas within the department.”
– Jacob Thoren (Iowa State University)
After creating their project purpose statement and completing other preparation work, the interns are now ready to hit the road and expand their project to Davenport and other branches. There they will be creating staging locations and training with will-call operators on trackability procedures. Read next week’s blog to learn about the sales department and their role in the will-call project.