Some time ago, Denny Miller, CEO of Omni Block, approached Ms. Pat Williquette, Director of the MARC Center with the idea of having the Center assemble electrical boxes for future Omni Block projects all across the country. Since the different electrical box configurations were all basically slightly different versions of the same assembly requirement, Mr. Miller thought that if the Center’s labor pool could learn how to assemble one, they could assemble all of the different models.
Ms. Williquette was very apprehensive at their first meeting because she was unclear of what would be required of her unskilled laborers. The MARC Center is a private nonprofit corporation providing educational, therapeutic, rehabilitation and social services to children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities and behavioral health challenges.
Ms. Williquette explained that each task required for the electrical box assembly would need to be clearly defined, detailed with simplistic drawings and the very basic tools specifically listed and supplied. Mr. Miller continued to believe that the laborers that he had briefly met could accomplish small tasks if they were properly and patiently trained. Ms. Williquette remained cautiously optimistic but did not want to over commit the MARC Center’s capabilities. This was understandable, as nothing this complicated had ever been attempted by the Center.
After the initial meeting, Mr. Miller returned to his office and set out to break down the individual tasks and then had his staff complete very clear drawings that showed the step-by-step process of assembling the various electrical boxes.
Once the electrical box assemblies had been clearly defined and were properly depicted with easy to understand drawings, the appropriate tools were purchased to complete the individual tasks. The only thing left to do was to set-up an appointment with Ms. Williquette to demonstrate the assembly process.
A second meeting was arranged at 11:00 the next morning and Mrs. Williquette as this was a time when she could observe the assembly process in her facility. Mr. Miller asked if she would have 5 or 6 laborers on hand to assemble a few of the electrical boxes. She agreed and then Mr. Miller offered to bring in pizzas for everyone at noon. Ms. Williquette agreed to that as well and now had a little excitement in her voice.
Eagerly the next morning, Mr. Miller took the drawings, tools and the unassembled electrical box components to the MARC Center. Once there, a work station table was provided where the components, the corresponding drawings, and the tools were laid out at the appropriate stations. Ms. Williquette filled the stations with laborers after she determined the level of competence that would be required at each station.
Each laborer was trained at their station. In some cases the laborers needed to practice their task, but within a short period of time they became fairly proficient. As they got better and better, the smiles on their faces became larger and larger. Soon they would complete their task and pass the partially assembled box to the next person in the assembly line.
By the end of the hour, the assembly line was running efficiently and completed electrical boxes were being boxed, ready for installation into future construction projects.
When the pizza showed up, it became a real party, and everyone was so appreciative. While everyone was enjoying their pizza, Mr. Miller showed the laborers some construction photos that the laborers could see where and how the boxes would be used. This seemed to bring a greater appreciation to the laborers as they realized their efforts were actually very valuable.
“It is little times like this in my life that has reminded me again and again how fortunate and blessed that I am. This is a day I shall never forget.”
Pass it on….