After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going. This is the seventy seventh letter I wrote. Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.
6/30/03 – Summer at Dell
Hello friends from Sooner Plant (and other less fortunate souls),
I looked at my old e-mails this morning and I realized that it has been over 3 weeks since I wrote last. That surprised me because it seems like it has only been 2 1/2 weeks. I have been busy working with my summer intern (and going to meetings), so the time has been flying.
The Friday before last we had our I/T All-Hands meeting at some place way out in the country. It was called “Fiesta Ranch”. I think I mentioned it before. Well. It was a very hot day. I didn’t bring my swimming suit so I wasn’t able to cool off in the “Waterin’ Hole” with those that had the foresight to bring theirs.
So after our team building activities, I just sat in the shade and talked with some friends who were equally as short-sighted as I was. Our Vice President had his head shaved because he challenged all of us to turn in 95% of our “Satisfaction Surveys”, and we did.
He knew what he was doing. It was at least cooler without any hair….. I guess. As long as he was able to wear a cool hat so that he wouldn’t get a sunburn on the top of his head (like I did — because my hair is getting a little thin up there).
Well (That’s a deep subject). I am going to be in Stillwater late Tuesday evening. I was thinking about visiting the plant on Thursday morning. Are you guys going to have a Safety Meeting on Thursday morning? — I thought maybe us old “retirees” could drop by and eat a doughnut with you guys. That is, if you had an accident-free month.
I had a class last week called “BPI”. That stands for “Business Process Improvement”. Does that sound familiar to any of you guys? “Business Process Improvement”? Yeah. It’s the “Quality Process”.
Down here, when you do process improvements you can receive a belt like you do in Karate. So you start out with no belt, and then if you make any kind of quality improvement (and turn in the paperwork), then you become a “Yellow Belt”. Then you can become a Green Belt, and then a Black Belt if you save the company millions of dollars (which around here isn’t too hard to do. You could practically sneeze and save the company a bunch of money just by the fact that we make so much).
Anyway. When I was in the BPI training I met this guy there that was tall and thin and had a moustache. He looked and sounded very familiar. I kept looking at him and thinking that I had seen him before. — Let me describe him just one more time…. He was tall…. Thin….. And had a moustache….. he acted like he was a mechanic or something. — I finally figured out who he reminded me of…… Stick.
I almost asked him if his nickname was “Stick”. — Anyway. I wrote down his name so I wouldn’t forget it, and it wasn’t Gary McCain. He did have a calculator with him, and I almost asked him if I could look at it so that I could see if I could program it for him, but I didn’t.
Note to Reader: To learn more about “Stick” and Gary McCain read the post Making Power Plant Friends with Motor Alignment.
Evidently, the “Quality Process” has been going on around here for a long time. Every year they have a “Quality Day”. I told my manager that we used to do that same stuff at Sooner Plant before we figured out that we didn’t have to do it as long as we had a super-intelligent Equipment Support Supervisor. He was all the quality that we needed.
Note to reader: To learn more about the Quality Process at the Power Plant, see the post A Chance for Power Plant Men to Show Their Quality.
Yeah. They still do “Fishbone” diagrams and “Root-Cause Analysis” and “Flowcharts” and stuff like that. They haven’t figured out that they only need to tap into the unlimited intelligence of the “Super-Intelligent Equipment Support Supervisor” and his trusty Human Resource Representative in order to immediately have all the Quality you could possibly need!!
Anyway. I took “Yellow Belt” training. So now I need to join a team somewhere and come up with a way to improve a process somewhere in order to receive my Yellow Belt. — I’m looking right now. — I’m getting out my “Fishbone diagram and figuring it out. I’m developing a Process Map!! My Brain is Storming!!! I’m fitting it all into a Pareto Chart!!!! I’m applying a Root Cause Analysis!!!!! — Oh!!!! There it is!!!!!!
Oh. Wait. I dropped my pencil…… Let see…. Where was I? Oh yeah. I was writing a letter to you guys. It seems like I was having an idea. But I forgot what it was. Oh well. I guess it wasn’t that important.
I look forward to seeing you guys later this week if I can make it out to the plant. Will I be able to make it through the front gate?
See you later,
Your friend from Dell,
Kevin James Anthony Breazile
Kevin J. Breazile
Dell Computer Corporation