It’s cliche, we know, but it’s the time of year to count your blessings, and it’s always worthwhile to take a minute to give thanks. Here’s what we’re thankful for at RoboSource this year:
1. Two female apprentices that will leave their mark at RoboSource.
At RoboSource, we believe that diversity of thought leads to stronger problem solving. And diversity of thought often comes from diversity, plan and simple. For that reason, in recent years, we’ve been determined to increase gender diversity on our programming team. But it simply isn’t as easy as it should be. Two years ago, out of 60 applicants for our apprentice team NOT ONE ELIGIBLE STUDENT APPLICANT was a woman. Not one. That’s depressing.
The next year, we worked to change that. We invited a Woman in Engineering club to the office. We talked to professors. We hoped it would make a difference.
It did. Last year, we had a handful of good female candidates. Out of the seven new apprentices we hired for 2018, two were women. We were thrilled with that.
And we’ve been thrilled with their performance. Not only were these the first females apprentices we’ve had in a few years, these two were the first students we’d hired from their respective schools: Anderson University and DePauw University. Since we generally have more than one student from a school, these women overcame some obstacles when they came into the office not knowing anyone and being the lone female programmers on the development team. But let me tell you, they didn’t hesitate. They jumped right in, and they rocked the summer. They are still doing great work for us now from school.
One of them said the following to me in an email last week: “I will always love the message you guys send out to us young and afraid youngsters, and I really believe young women can benefit the most out of such an encouraging environment we get so little of regularly.”
This email MADE MY DAY. I was so thrilled to hear that this had been a positive experience, maybe especially so for our female apprentices.
Sadly, these two graduate this year, but we will continue to fight for gender diversity. This year we are thankful that we got a little closer making things right and benefited so much in the meantime.
2. A team full of Figure-it-Out people.
At RoboSource, we value people for several different reasons. But one that we’ve noticed this year especially: we value Figure-it-Out people. And boy do we have them.
A few of our team’s highlights from the past year:
- Removing Duplicates. It’s easy for a person to look at a record that has the name “Bill Smith” and a birthday of 6/2/08 and figure that is the same person as a record that says “William Smith” with a birthday of 6/2/08. But that is a really hard problem for a computer to solve. If you have to do that across a few million records, well, that can take a long time. Our team wrote a machine learning tool to solve that problem. Using statistical and AI algorithms, we helped an organization identify and eliminate duplicate records within their massive data set so they can get more accurate reporting and analysis. Let’s face it: that’s just cool.
- Streamlining an assembly line. One of the most expensive and time-consuming parts of an assembly line is dealing with change-over costs. One of our clients was experiencing very high change-over costs on a daily basis because they kept having to change back to parts they already had used. This was adding up to a lot of extra work, a lot of wasted material, and a much slower cycle time on the floor. We helped develop a tool that analyzed the work planned over the next period and grouped similar parts together, so there was only as much change-over as necessary. The result is a much more efficient operation.
- A wholistic view. How do you know that you have a wholistic understanding of your business when your information is spread across 4-5 different systems? How can you even get a simple count of how many people you have had an interaction with? This is a problem that we are solving along with our partner Translating Data. Translating Data works with community-based organizations to help clean, centralize, and analyze ALL the data these organizations have. We pull all of the data into a centralized repository and clean it up. Then we are able to pull out insights and analysis that has been hidden from organization leaders. This has resulted in a HUGE return on investment and organizational efficiency.
3. A sales team that is attacking the Indy market with ferocity.
This year, we’re thankful for our first RoboSource sales TEAM! For the first time in RoboSource history, we have a group of three that are working hard to find the businesses that need our help. And finding them they are.
One of the great things about being a local business – if you treat your clients right, your business grows by word of mouth. We’ve worked hard, and have grown both through both word-of-mouth and some great allies that refer us often. But prospecting brand-new clients has been a struggle for us. To take things to the next level, we needed to fix that.
That’s where this great team comes in. Not only are they attacking the Indy market ferociously, but they are passionate about helping our clients in the best way possible, and have already worked on streamlining our estimation process. It’s only going to get better from here. If you haven’t met them yet, they’d love to buy you a cup of coffee! Feel free to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No doubt about it: we have a lot to be grateful for. But this post seems incomplete without a quick list of things we AREN’T thankful for:
- The mouse with a taste for peanut M&Ms that has recently taken up sleeping in one employee’s drawer.
- Off-brand Post-Its that come off in a zig-zag pattern instead of all at the top.
- Our sometimes unreliable WIFI.
- Running out of Mountain Dew. Again.
- Apprentices who graduate and move on. We miss them already.