The Prysmian Group Rotational Program
First, let’s talk a bit about what this program is. This is a program that takes new college grads from around the world and exposes them to three different rotations. These rotations are typically centered in operations, research and development, and then sales. After the three rotations, you are then sent to an international assignment where you will spend two years working. In my opinion, this is a great opportunity to develop international skills with a global company, build connections, and challenge yourself professionally while in a new environment.
In short, it’s an awesome program. You should check out more information about the program here. Additionally, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter if you would like more information that isn’t in the below post.
The following is my experience in my first rotation, operations. This post will also contain my thoughts of rotational programs in general and why I think they’re beneficial.
Background on My First Year
I was the second graduate to be placed in my location of Rocky Mount, NC in a Draka facility. Draka is owned by The Prysmian Group and makes elevator componenets. So this means anything from the energy cables that power the transit, the cables that balance the elevator car, to the sheet steel that is bent to contain the cables within the shaft.
Draka was acquired by The Prysmian Group to compliment the massive portfolio that they have.
I arrived in Rocky Mount and operations was my predetermined starting point in my Prysmian journey.
I was immediately welcomed and began my rotation by spending in depth sessions with each operator on the process that they ran within the plant. This was about a week of constantly learning new equipment on the floor.
While there is too much to truly mention in just one blog post, the main areas pertaining to making elevator cables are cabling, braiding, jacketing, printing, and quality checks.
Pictured to the left is an extruder head which jackets our compensation cables on one of our lines.
I believe understanding and listening are very valuable traits in the beginning of any new role at any company.
Rotational Program Tip #1:
Operators are usually very knowledgable in the processes they run and they deserve your respect. Without them, you don’t have a job, period. Listen to them and understand what they’re saying when they speak. Develop relationships early that you can call on in the future.
After my time learning how to operate each piece of machinery in the plant, and forming relationships with each of the operators, I was asked to begin taking on projects.
I’ll refrain from too much depth on those projects, as I want this post to just highlight my overall tips and experience, but they were challenging in many different ways.
Although I was in operations, many of my operations project wanted to take advantage of my computer and software skills. This included creating a database for quality defects and making this information accessible to operators on the floor, analysis on efficiency numbers, full time worker value, and numerous other things.
Prysmian will definitely train you if you need training, but having skills that you can bring to a company from the day that you’re hired is invaluable.
Rotational Program Tip #2:
Hone a skill set that can transfer anywhere. For me, this was coding, computer software, and understanding a programming language at an advanced level. Find skills that are valuable and master them.
Projects are Only as Good as Their Transferability
I’ve had a lot of experience in other companies while in school before joining with Prysmian. So I had a good understanding of manufacturing and process before joining. However, one lesson that I learned while in my first rotation with Prysmian was that projects are only as good as their transferability. Prysmian is a fast moving environment and with the rotational program, you only have so long to make an impact. These three month stints make it imperative that if you’re going to drive change, you need to design that change in a way that you can pass it on.
Internships are usually three months, but in every internship I’ve had, I was asked to present an end of the summer presentation about the data I’d done my reports on and the results of my project. While data is a heavy part of my Prysmian rotations, to be truly successful I feel you need to create change of actions from that data.
Rotational Program Tip #3:
Envision how the project you’re working on will exist once you leave the role. Will you expect someone else to pick it up? Will they? Can you automate this?
To transfer projects, the barrier of entry needs to be low. The time to learn the steps needs to be low. Simplicity of process is valuable – that’s why 5S will continually increase in practice in manufacturing.
What Would I tell myself at the beginning of the rotation?
I already had a very strong respect for operators before joining with Prysmian, but I would encourage you to do the same
- Respect the operators, listen, and form relationships with them.
Change needs to be created incrementally. Rome wasn’t built in a night and one project shouldn’t drastically change an operation – barring exceptions of archaic or dangerous processes.
- Design tools to push process correction, not complete process change.
Do things that make you uncomfortable. Rotational programs are supposed to explore areas that you may of never considered before. Ask the stupid question that’s out of your realm of expertise.
- Learn from everyone, have questions prepared for everyone and truly listen to the answer.
Interact with divisions that you may not necessarily need to complete your job. Depending on the level you want to improve a company, everyone plays a part in corrective action.
- Get people on board with a group vision, don’t drive a project that only has your input. Ever.
Originally, my next rotation was scheduled as research and development. However, due to a position in the supply chain becoming vacant, I was asked to assume the role of raw material purchaser.
My next update will have my experience in this role.