What types of customer engagement have you experienced?
I never had the chance to engage with customers in my last position as a machine operator but I did engage with certain vendors from time to time. We would file material complaints, reject, and send out poor material samples to our vendors when we had issues with any given material. Such as poor scoring on KDF boxes, hard solid spots throughout a spool of liner material, and even poor graphics on bags. These vendors would occasionally come to our machines to discuss our issues. I loved it because, us operators were able to explain exactly what has been happening and how it works on our particular machine. As we are the ones who perform the tasks and have to struggle through all the poor material it was nice that they let us explain it to the vendors.
Tell me about the hours you are used to working and your schedule.
I am pretty wide open but I would prefer to work day shift. Second shift is not an ideal shift for me as it is difficult with family. I am open for overtime whenever available, and occasional second shift and overnight shift is manageable.
If you had to start over, what career would you choose instead of being a Machine Operator?
If I had to start over completely I would probably do something a long the lines of physical therapy. It has a strong job security, face different challenges everyday due to different injuries and how everybody heals and handles pain differently. I like to stay busy and constantly keep my mind thinking of how to improve every situation.
What type of stressful, high pressure situations, have you experienced?
One day my machine was scheduled to do a full machine grade change. The machine leader was out on vacation and our other two operators had called in. So it was just me and three random operators on overtime. The three operators were generally more lazy and hardly ever work on this machine. So it was up to me to explain everything that needed to be done and how important it was not to cut any shortcuts and may very close attention to detail on all instructions. I gave up my morning breakfast break so I could do all my given tasks plus be there to help these operators through everything as we had a deadline when start up was to take place. I felt like I was working a thousand miles and hour running up and down the machine helping everyone, but in the end it all worked out smoothly and there were a few things that needed minor adjustments on start up but all in all it turned out just fine and everything got done on time.
What special skills does it take to be a Machine Operator?
I am very flexible and dedicated to my work. I pay very close attention to detail and have the eagerness to learn and improve new things everyday.
What do you enjoy about being a Machine Operator?
I enjoy working as a team to solve any challenges that the machine may encounter. IT makes you feel good when something goes wrong and you are able to get it up and running again.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?
Sometimes when something so simple goes wrong no matter how its been fixed in the past it will not give in. Something as simple as a small printer printing streaks onto the product. I purged it, cleaned the head or plate, tracked the belt underneath, and nothing seemed to work. Do everything exactly the same 2 or 3 times and then it takes off. Then it breaks down and does it again. The challenge of trying to figure out why something so simple can cause the biggest problems always blows my mind, but it gets you thinking and back tracking to what else could be causing it as its not always going to be the same breakdown even though it is acting up the same as it did in the last time.
What advancements do you expect in the future?
Assuming that you have different levels of machine operators I would like to advanced my skills and knowledge into moving up to higher levels of machine operations and potentially become a machine lead someday.
What are some of the benefits you are custom to as a Machine Operator?
Health and Dental are always important, but I also find it very important to have a strong 401k, paid vacations, and a willingness to provide overtime.
What are some of your most memorable experiences as a Machine Operator?
The people I work with become family to me. They make all the difference at work, so for me it is the people I worked with, all the jokes, stories, and having somebody there to talk to at work.