With the onset of baby boomer retirements, knowledge gap is plaguing the manufacturing industry like never before. While multinational companies take forever to implement strategies to overcome this gap, their smaller counterparts are constantly looking for tools that fit their budget and generate results. Meet Abhishek Pathak, a Penn State grad who refused to let knowledge gap affect his career growth.
From classroom to foundry
Like many international students, Abhishek Pathak came to the US in hopes of receiving quality education that would help forward his career and ensure professional growth. Even before graduating from Penn State University (Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering) in August 2015, Pathak had a job offer in hand at a ductile iron foundry. A phone interview and a couple of in-person interviews later, both Pathak and his employer found the match they were looking for. In the present competitive job market, that is quite the ‘ideal case scenario’ for a soon-to-be-graduating industrial and manufacturing engineer.
You don’t know what you don’t know
As a Foundry Process Engineer, Pathak was expected to work on core manufacturing and process improvement. On day one at his new job, Pathak was asked to study the sand system and suggest ideas to solve problems in the sand plant. “Go ahead and analyze the sand system. Find out what is wrong, is there anything wrong?”, these were the kind of questions he was asked. Without specific process knowledge Pathak turned to information available on the internet and industry specific technical papers. However, he still did not have enough information to tackle his first improvement project. So, he went to his manager for help. It was then his manager introduced him to THORS. "I reviewed and studied it several times and tried to see what I could get from it, took some notes and studied it thoroughly.", said Pathak.
Filling in the blanks
“THORS was a good place to start. While studying for my Master’s, I did things like make sand molds, pour molten metal, produce patterns, etc., but THORS gave me an overall view of how the process works. When I went through the first modules, I found it to be very interesting.” Pathak said if there was a tool like THORS when he was a student, it would have given him a better understanding of his interests and let him make better career choices. “A lot of information that is not present in a textbook was in THORS,” said Pathak. It is true that traditional learning methods don’t capture the intricacies of the foundry industry. “The organization of content is very logical and the language is easy to understand. All information relevant to a sand plant is in one place. This is not the kind of information you can find anywhere else. The visuals and animations are a great addition; they make everything fall into place.” Talking about his learning curve, Pathak said THORS saved him a lot of time as he finished his study of what would have taken three months in just one month.
It’s a win-win
An employer wants someone who can give the company a quick return on their investment. An employee wants to move up the ladder quickly by performing well and being able to differentiate themselves from their peers. THORS provides a tool that is a win-win for both parties, just like in the case of Abhishek Pathak and his employer.
Within months, Pathak had identified problem patterns in the sand system data and was able to suggest process improvements. His work brought immediate improvements and he was tasked with the next big project. Abhishek Pathak is a passionate learner and is always eager to know more about his subject. This is a rare quality that puts him in the upper echelon of today’s manufacturing employees. With Pathak providing the desire, THORS was able to supply the knowledge required to accelerate the climb up the learning curve, and provide his company with real improvements to their plant floor.
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