Now, three months later I know a great deal more about valves that were very strange for me at the beginning of the summer and also a lot more about the operations of a multinational company that produces highly tailored high-tech quality solutions for its customers. My main tasks in the Item Data Management Team have been valve and valve part enrichment using the factory’s ERP-system and doing other chores related to the valve part procurement.
Enriching valves – what does it even mean?
I had absolutely no clue what my friend, who already worked for Metso Flow Control, was talking about when he first gave me a hint that Metso is looking for a summer intern whose job would be to enrich valves. After presenting a quick overview of the job, it didn’t seem too tempting. ‘’Well you basically just enter values into to the ERP-system’’, was his sales speech regarding the open position. It didn’t sound like the dream summer job for a soon to be a Master of Science in Technology.
But it was already the end of May and I was still without a working place for the summer, so it was no place for me to be picky and working for Metso sounded like a great opportunity. So, I called the team leader and he had a little bit more precise description about the job. The job would involve dealing with production lines where different types of valves would be assembled. Depending on the valve’s specifications it needed to be pointed on the right track in the factory. This information needed to be entered in the ERP-system.
Almost every valve is different, so it isn’t as easy as it sounds like. In addition, all the valve parts that weren’t yet in the system needed to be recorded into the ERP as well. This basically meant that the supply chain for the items needed to be created, because it wasn’t sure that the item could be made or delivered by a certain supplier. I think I need to point out that the parts aren’t usually just basic stuff you get from every hardware store. Prices and lead times for the items were needed so the Purchasing Team could buy the parts at the right time from the right supplier. That means one needs to send a lot of emails to all around the world to get the required info. So, all in all, valve enrichment is dealing with production planning, item data, procurement and supply chain management. Valve enrichment doesn’t sound so dull anymore, does it.
Item Data Management Team – what do we actually do?
The existence of the Item Data Management Team started about a year ago when Metso Flow Control started to implement lean office methods. I already told the basics about valve enrichment which is the main job for the Item Data Management Team; point a right production line for a valve and get the information needed to get the valve built. That is the job in short. However, to get the job done several procedures are needed. There are now six of us in the team doing the basic chores, plus the team leader, who delegates the tasks and tries to make the teams job as easy as possible.