Manufacturing: A Field of Lessons and Growth

Entering college, I had no clue what I wanted to do. All I had (and still have) was the dream of one day starting my own business. The industry, product, etc. were all afterthoughts. I figured the knowledge I would garner throughout my time as a psychology major would apply to any industry I planned to enter. Then, four years after I arrived on campus, I put on my cap and gown and walked across a stage still without a clear path I wanted to travel.


I had landed a job in public relations a few months before I departed campus and started working just a few weeks after graduation. With a passion for writing and the opportunity to learn about a wide range of industries, I thought this would be a great starting point for my career. Entering my first position in the corporate world, I hoped I would find a client that sparked some untapped passion I had, and my career path would become a bit clearer, but after about a year and a half in PR, I realized it was not the field for me. However, I learned a lot about company messaging, handling crises, and business writing during my time, tools I will utilize when I one day face them as a business leader.


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In the wake of a global pandemic and on the back half of twenty-four, I decided I needed a change. Without an engineering or operations educational background, I did not consider a career in manufacturing coming out of school. Logistics Manager at a manufacturing organization was not even remotely on my radar when I walked across that stage almost two years ago, so shifting to this position at Boston Centerless seemed a bit drastic on paper, especially coming from the far less analytical world of public relations. Luckily, this shortsighted mentality and fear of not being able to make the jump into manufacturing subsided. I was able to strip away all the preconceived notions I had about what it took to be in the technical field of metals manufacturing, and I jumped into my new role at Boston Centerless with both feet.


By taking a step back and looking at the goal I had at the beginning of college of starting my own business, I realized all the valuable things I could learn within manufacturing that would prove vital in any future endeavors, regardless of the industry. In just a short time, I have already had experience working in conjunction with different departments, solving systems and operational issues, and communicating with various individuals. The structure and purpose of a manufacturing business lends itself to rapid skill development and insights into what goes into running a business. Here are some of the best aspects of manufacturing that people early on in their career should be aware of when looking at the field.


Working with Various Groups Within an Organization


One of the great aspects of manufacturing organizations like Boston Centerless is the variety of departments, no matter the size, that work in unison with one another. In other industries, you do not have either as many pieces of the puzzle or the same level of visibility of the pieces at play. For example, while working in public relations I had exposure to just my clients and was not exposed to areas such as customer retention, recruitment, or how the company was managing its assets. Within manufacturing, many employees need this exposure, even at a very high level, to effectively operate on a day-to-day basis. Although individuals set out to perform specific functions within an organization, there is constant communication between departments.


In the logistics department I work closely with the shipping, warehouse, and packing teams. However, I have daily communication with materials, quality assurance, customer experience, sales, etc. Without this communication, it would be impossible to get the job done. This exposure is extremely valuable as you can see how differently people view problems and how they choose to approach them. Working with such a wide range of departments and people helps develop communication and compromising skills, which are essential in any business pursuits.


Problem Solving


Every day in the world of manufacturing you are faced with unique problems to tackle. Something always can be tweaked to be made more efficient whether it is organizing a packing station to make materials easier to find or investing in a new machine to cut down on waste. Some problems are big, some are small, some are recurring, some are few and far between, but all beg a solution. You need to be able to evaluate, adjust, and act while accounting for moving parts that may play into the problem at hand. It may sound a bit stressful, and I would be lying to say it isn’t sometimes, but it is also wildly rewarding when you implement an effective solution. Additionally, having the experience to solve a multitude of problems from system to personnel issues allows for the development of a problem-solving mindset. It makes you look at things differently and come up with smarter, better, faster solutions. When in an industry faced with the same issues over and over you can fall into the trap of just going with a solution that has worked before, maybe dismissing a solution that would be twice as effective and take half the effort to implement. The daily hurdles and long-term goals of solving major problems makes manufacturing so unique. It is a constant pursuit to get better.


Moving from psychology to public relations to manufacturing may look a bit odd on a resume, but the lessons and exposure I have already gathered in my short time in manufacturing have completely justified this jump. The learning environment in this field is truly remarkable and is applicable to a host of future endeavors, no matter the industry.

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