Production Manager and Label Expert Rob’s favorite part of his job is coming up with solutions for tricky problems. “I really like solving problems—whatever it is, in any department. How can we get through this? How do we figure this out? Whether it’s in workflow, equipment, label orders—in any part of the job.”
A typical morning on the job starts with Rob taking an eagle’s eye view of what’s going on at EIM—Production is impacted by almost every department in EIM, so Rob’s days can expand far beyond the actual production floor. An average morning can range through Rob checking in with other department managers to get a heads up on any potential bottlenecks; interacting with Machine Operators on the production floor; trouble-shooting tricky label requests with the graphic designers in PrePress; checking in with our Shipping Supervisor; and communicating virtually with remote staff members about upcoming label orders. Phew!
Rob’s affinity for puzzle solving comes to the fore when working with the production team to up level efficiency. Rob is a big proponent of Lean manufacturing, and has had a hand in making improvements to both the administrative side of label making by helping with an overhaul of how we track a label order’s progress throughout the building (fun fact: your average label order will pass through an average of five departments to get to you!), and redoing individual workstations, like when he recently spearheaded redesigning our unwieldy sampling area to have a smaller footprint with an easier to use, more streamlined workflow.
At home, Rob is the proud owner of hound Chewbacca and terrier mix Wicket. He’s a big reader and thanks to his wife Andrea, who is a librarian, Rob is never short of interesting books to read. Their family is also involved with both local youth basketball and theater thanks to Rob’s kids. Rob is a big basketball lover himself and loves practicing shooting hoops with his son Asher. He coaches a local team and reflects that it’s given him a greater appreciation of coaches he had himself when he was younger. “I don’t think growing up I appreciated my coaches enough. Coaching gave me a great perspective on management, on people, on kids.” Rob also loves to support his aspiring theater star Kelby by making sure he always has what he needs for his latest play—he’s tried volunteering to be a dancing rehearsal buddy, but unfortunately Rob’s sport skills haven’t translated into dancing chops—so he’s happy to be chauffeuring the future Farnsworth star to rehearsals.
When asked about the interpersonal side of being a manager, Rob says that the best part of his job is the side that some people would find tricky. “I think we’re all different, and you may have press operator A who sees something this way, and then you have press operator B see something differently. And neither one is wrong,” Rob reflects. “But their approach to getting something done, or what they think is the right way to do it, can be completely different. So yeah, I think that’s the best part for me, just sitting there listening to both people and understanding their perspective. And then it becomes, while we may not see eye to eye at first, how do we come together to get the job done? For me, that’s the best part.”
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