I have been able to attend a couple employee meetings held at Inside Outside. These meetings have addressed problems such as the lack of efficiency in the showroom and shop, timeliness, the same mistakes being made multiple times, communication between each other, customers, distributors, etc. among many other things.
Before each meeting I print out a current project list for everyone to have their own to make notes on. This is very helpful, because, as we go down the list, we are able to discuss all the current clients and their projects, give input where needed and all become more familiar with the clients who we are not working with. There is always going to be disagreements during a meeting but it is how those disagreements are handled that decides whether the meeting will go smoothly or not. Once the meeting is over I will compile all the notes taken and revise the current project list to be printed out before the next meeting. This type of meeting with a printed out copy of the project list is a very simple, yet very helpful, way of communicating between employees. After these meetings everyone has a better understanding of what needs to be done and what they have in store for them in the near future.
A couple days ago, first thing in the morning, I walked in the door to the office and they were having a shop meeting. I could not get to my desk so I patiently waited. I was a part of this meeting but not on purpose. The topic of this meeting was about the amount of time it takes to install materials, whether it be cabinetry or counter tops, how mistakes are made and how they can be prevented and overall communication so that things are not forgotten or misunderstood.
There was a recent job located about an hour and fourty-five minutes away from Inside Outside. The guys loaded up everything into the truck to be delivered and installed and left early that morning. They did not return till later that day just before we closed. They had forgotten some materials and sinks at Inside Outside so they had to make another trip back to the project site. Everything that needed to be loaded, taken and installed was written on a material release form, put on the clipboard, that is meant to be looked at by the shop employees, and placed in plain sight. The form was not looked at. The employees saw material with the name of the client they were delivering and installing to written and tapped on different materials in the shop. Instead of reading the material release form they assumed that was all there was to take. Needless to say Mr. Tim and Nicole were not very happy during the meeting. They listed the things that needed to be changed and/or improved as well as the things that those working in the office/showroom needed to work on.
Lesson # 5: Listen and follow directions
Lesson # 6: Ask questions if you are unsure about something. I think it is safe to say that any employer would rather someone ask a lot of questions rather than ask very few and make many mistakes.
Lesson # 7: No one is an irreplaceable employee. If you do your job, since that is what you are at work to do, chances are you will not be replaced.Projects I have worked on:
I have had the opportunity to work on many projects with Kristi, Nicole, and Mrs. Pam. Most of them have involved countertops and some sort of backsplash whether it is a continuation of the granite or a decorative tile and others have involved cabinetry too.
I have been able to help space plan kitchens and bathrooms, decide what types of cabinetry should be included and where, suggest granite colors to be used in accordance with what is already in the house or the look the client has described he/she wants, and help with a decorative tile backsplash design.
I have worked side by side with Kristi on a couple large kitchen and bathroom remodels. Space planning of the cabinetry was a large part of the projects. One of the jobs required very specific cabinetry parts specified in certain areas of the kitchen along with two tight corners that had to be worked around to fit cabinetry into them. The layout worked out beautifully and when Kristi was able to put it into 20/20 and see a perspective view the clients were very happy with it and approved the plan.
The other kitchen design we worked on was unique and very difficult because of the number of doors in the room and the small amount of space we had to work with. There were four walls in this room and every one had a door or entry way on it. The client also specified that she wanted the cabinetry to look like pieces of furniture. This means that, if possible, she did not want the cabinetry to touch in some places and have a high level of detail. She wanted many different appliances along with other features which, when trying to draw out a plan for her, was extremely difficult. As a result, a plan has been made as best it could be, per the client’s requests, and we are still waiting to meet with her to discuss it.
Work Room (2)
Work Room (CAD-Template Machine)
Working on the CAD-CNC Machine:
Matt asked me to help him one day by drawing out the templates Mr. Tim had previously gathered from the job site. The program I was using was a form of CAD but not the kind I am used to using. I was given a drawing with dimensions to look off of and, although it took a while to learn all the computer controls, it was great to be able to learn something new and help out in another area of Inside Outside.
When I was finished drawing the templates into the CAD program, it was then printed onto a plastic sheet material to be laid onto the stone slab and cut to fit the countertop template given.
It made me very nervous knowing that the drawings I had made on the CAD program would be how the machine outside knew where to cut the slab. One line drawn wrong could mean the loss of part of the material or worse the whole slab. Thank God everything worked out great and, although I hate how nervous it makes me to get back on CAD to print out another template, I had a lot of fun experiencing something brand new and would gladly do it again.
Lesson # 8: Never be afraid to learn something new. Whether you make a mistake the first or second time or do it perfectly every time, you are learning something from the experience regardless.
Shop (Right Side)
Shop (Left Side)
Beginning about halfway through the internship, Nicole asked me to start pricing all the items displayed in the showroom. If we had the most current price list for the products I was able to look up the price for each item and if we did not I called the distributor and asked them to send us one. I priced out about 350 items and once I got to my fourth distributor I noticed something different. The price book specifically said “cost price.” I started to worry because all 350 items I priced before may have said the same thing or something similar and I could have overlooked it. I went back to all the items I previously priced and most of them had to be re-priced using the cost price in the formula we use to get the retail price.
Although I have had some mishaps while pricing, I have learned so much about the price of materials and what distributors offer. Having to price some things twice has made me learn about those products two different times which I feel makes me remember information better anyway so it was actually a good thing. I have also become much more familiar with the location of all of the materials in the showroom and feel more confident when showing clients around.
Lesson # 6: If you have to redo anything because you made a mistake, think of it as a learning experience to better understand the subject and/or process. It will also be far less likely for you to make that same mistake again.
The entire Internship experience will be something I will never forget. I have learned so much and have met so many great, knowledgeable people. I feel much more confident in myself and my abilities and am ready to apply it in my final year of school!