This week was the start of our internship at Boston Scientific, which will take up the rest of our time here in Costa Rica. My (and Josh’s) role for the next six weeks is to support manufacturing engineers through various projects.
So far, it’s been a bit of a slow start. I’ve spent more time than I would like going through orientation, reading quality documents, and doing my required online trainings. I recognize the need for these steps in the process, but am nonetheless eager to begin contributing to the company. I only have a short time here, and want the company and myself to get the largest benefit possible from this experience.
With this sentiment, I’ve noticed a challenge that will be faced by my new team. As manufacturing engineers, my supervisors and mentors are very busy sustaining the operations of the facility. As it’s been explained to me, manufacturing operations are the money-maker for the entire company, so even slight drops in key metrics can have a significant effect on the company as a whole. Therefore, much care should be given to managing these operations day-to-day. While our supervisors have worked hard to manage their schedule to fit in time to bring us up to speed, the nature of their job seems to have limited the extent to which they could do this. This is somewhat frustrating from my perspective because I know that I can help by taking some things off their plate, but until they can commit the time to give me the necessary training and direction, I am left to watch (and read).
Nevertheless, the ball is starting to roll. At the end of this week I met with my supervisor, and we were able to define one of the projects I was to start working on. On Monday, we should be defining another project I will be contributing to. I’m hoping I will be given the freedom and resources needed to get to work to start helping the company and gaining valuable experience.
Part of this past week included several tours of different product lines at our Boston facility. During the tours, our guides began describing different attributes of the process they were having trouble controlling, different CAPAs that were currently open, and other general problems they were having with each particular product line. Through these experiences and the information I’ve received about the projects I’ll be working on, I have begun to form a greater understanding of the challenges faced by manufacturing as a whole.
Finally, the work environment I’ve been immersed in has been a welcome surprise. Our supervisors’ and coworkers’ welcoming nature and generosity have exceeded my expectations. They have worked hard to make us feel welcomed in a new place, especially one in which we don’t speak their first language. We’ve had plenty of recommendations of fun things to do on the weekends, and regularly have people come by our cubicles to check on us. And who doesn’t love free cheesecake?!