Monday, August 29, 2011

The Toyota Way

I'm settling in now. I've moved into my new place, have a new project at work, made a couple of friends, and found a couple great places to hang out on the weekend.

I was shocked when I checked my last blog date and It was almost a week ago. I logged back; I figured I needed to update since I hadn't done so all weekend. In fact I haven't updated since last Tuesday. Anyway I'll give a quick run down of what's been going on.

In my first week of work I've been in about 6 meetings, seen two factories, and have read as many manuals about "The Toyota Way" as possible. Today I finally got my work computer so I can now access all the tools I need in order to make progress with my project. I'm going back to West Virginia for two days this week and I'm planning on going back for 3 or 4 days next week.

I finally have an understanding of what my job as an IE (instrumentation engineer) actually does. I focus on testing in order to validate quality. For example, a random sample of engines need to tested for quality so I make sure the factories have the correct tools, or instruments in order to perform these tests.

The Toyota Way requires me to "Go see for myself", hence the reason I have already been to two factories and will be at WV for the most part of the next two weeks. Toyota also has its own language. Which is a combination of Janglish and acronyms. We were given a reference book for all the Japanese terms used and the hundreds of acronyms. Toyota has very specific and explicit set of ways. I can't explain all of them because I know none of them. It is a very standardized way of performing duties and responsibilities.

On the factories: They are modern marvels. Imagine a line of 10-20 CNC machining processes all lined up ready to perform a series of tasks in order to complete a single part. With a robotic conveyor moving the part from each operation. The part is then transported to the assembly line once it is completed. Where it is assembled with the other hundreds of parts to complete a final product. I have yet to see the stamping plants or vehicle assembly line which are said to be a real site to see. What I have seen is an engine production line that pumps out engines by the minute from unfinished cranks and pistons to fully assembled and ready to be quality tested or put into a vehicle.

To the fun things! This weekend my friend Bobby and I checked a bar right on the water, literally on the water. The Beer Sellar, is built on a barge on the Ohio River (on the KY side) with a great view of Downtown. I'm so glad I'm still by the water, especially a dirty river, it really makes me feel at home. The next day I moved into my new place and met the other roommate. Saturday night a bunch of new hires and my roommate went out to a really sweet part of Cincy, Mt. Adams. This is definitely the place to go out. I will be going back soon. Another thing to note. After hanging out at Mt. Adams we all went to Dixie Chili (same thing as skyline but not as mainstream) and I stepped up my game. Instead of getting the normal 3 way, I went with the 6 way, a sweet combination of spa, cincy chili, cheese, onions, garlic, and something else I can't recall. It. Was. Awesome! I questioned the hype about 3 ways or above, and found out Kentucky Bourbon is the answer. Anyway I had a great weekend.

I did get a little homesick this weekend though. I really hope there is a swell at thanksgiving. Also I miss everyone back home :)

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