5 Minutes With Our New Production Manager, Colin Kennedy.
Last month, we welcomed our new Production Manager, Colin Kennedy to the Modula team. Colin has worked in multiple roles to date, as a production planner, ECO analyst, warehouse supervisor, SQE, inventory & scheduling manager and a lean manufacturing manager. He brings all his expertise and experience with him and is a great addition to the Modula team. We spent 5 minutes with Colin to discuss his career path so far in supply chain management.
What has been your career path to date?
I’ve been working in multiple roles in supply chain management since Intel in 1995/96 – I was with them for 7 years starting on the assembly line night shift and moving into warehousing and spearheading a scrap reduction program – my first exposure to LEAN! Then moved to IBM in 2001 – working as a Production Planner, and then an ECO (Engineering Change) analyst. I had a brief hiatus as a taxi driver for 3 years, before joining Moffett Engineering in Dundalk in 2010 – working as a Production Planner, then ECO analyser, then Warehouse Supervisor, then SQE (Supplier Quality Engineer) – I received a lot of Lean Training here and was one of a team selected to introduce Lean methodology through our Warehouse and Production operations. I moved to Gyproc in 2017 as Inventory and Scheduling Manager, responsible for 6 warehouses, and planning manufacturing operations for 2 factories. A short 6-month stint in BMC Manufacturing as Lean Manufacturing Manager allowed me to exercise my Lean muscles again, setting up a brand-new production line for them. That brought me to Modula!
What does your new role at Modula involve?
I’m Production Manager here at Modula – running the production operation and managing the warehouse – basically I’m hoping to bring my Manufacturing/Warehousing and Lean experiences into Modula’s operations to streamline our production operations, reduce waste and develop our production team as we grow.
What is LEAN manufacturing and why is it so important?
LEAN Manufacturing in a nutshell is using the minimum amount of resource, equipment, space and inventory to achieve right first-time production – reducing and eliminating waste throughout the manufacturing process. What is waste? If a customer won’t pay for it, if it doesn’t change our product’s form or function, and if it’s not done right first time, then by definition that’s waste. Essentially LEAN is about removing roadblocks to the production operator’s success – the right tools should be to hand, it should be clear what they need to do and why, and they should spend no time looking for, or waiting for materials. We in manufacturing operations, and in life, spend a lot of our time looking for, re-doing, or waiting for things to happen, while surrounded by clutter – be that partially built inventory, or the clutter of daily life – social media, screen time, demands from friends, family and colleagues for our time – a LEAN approach seeks to remove as much of that clutter or noise as possible, so we can focus on the important thing at that time, and use our time effectively to achieve more and be satisfied.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in their manufacturing/production career?
I would advise learning – I would advise finding what interests you and seeking out knowledge to develop that skill set. Whether that’s LEAN (always worthwhile), Warehouse Management, Quality Control, or Team Leadership – Manufacturing can support a number of career directions and gives essential real-world experience that you can call on again and again as your career develops. I would advise to set targets and measure yourself against these – even if only internally …. The day passes much faster if you are productive and motivated.