Indium Blog

My Legacy: A Surprising Twist In My Internship

  • 2016 College Interns
  • Hi,

    My internship is approaching its final weeks and I have recently been faced with the problem of how I am going to make my work live on as I intended it even after I leave.

    As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am developing preventative maintenance protocol for our production machinery. Along with this, I have built an Excel-based record keeping system. This system is transitory as we are looking to acquire a CMMS (also discussed in one of my previous posts) that my work will be uploaded into; this CMMS will be more proactive, interactive, and user-friendly than what I am limited to in excel. However, in the time between now and when we acquire the CMMS we will need our operators to work within the system that I designed; this means that the life of a good amount of my work is dependent on our maintenance crew actually using it.

    My problem stems from the end users of my system. As I developed this system, I intended our maintenance personnel to all partake in the data entry after completing the job. However, I recently realized that not everyone in that department may be Excel-literate or perhaps not everyone will be amenable to this change. I have since gone back and simplified my work or consolidated information, but Excel can be limiting in its capabilities. This has led me to branch into areas that I would have thought to be out of the scope of my original job detail. This "digression" has been in considering how to manage staff and assign job duties. I have spent some considerable time trying to generate novel ways to assign the correct personnel to the correct responsibility while simultaneously minimizing the amount of double data entry that could easily take place.

    My fault, having not done work like this before, was in not considering the end user from the very beginning. I created a system that would be intuitive for a college-aged engineering student to follow, but it may not be as simple for a maintenance technician that has been working for 30 years. With advice from our maintenance technicians and help from our managerial staff I know we will find the right solution, but this obstacle came as a complete surprise when I started to think about the conclusion of my internship.

     Until next time,

     Sean McKenna