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Industry Tour- 31 Gift

 

Last Thursday our professor David Widdifield led us to a distribution center of 31 Gifts, a handbag and accessories manufacturer in Columbus.

Before that, we first had a guest speaker from KMH Systems, who presented to us about what they provided for their clients on solving supply chain problems. He gave us an idea about how to implement automation in supply chain and how to design a warehouse. 5 factors were brought out, which are space, layout, equipment, information systems, and management. Actually there are still a lot to learn. After that, we went to the distribution center near Easton, where it is more convenient to provide goods with flexibility and high-velocity.

When we arrived there, the chief operation manager welcomed us and gave us a brief introduction about their company. Ten years ago, 31 was formed with a goal of helping women by giving them an opportunity to own their own business. Around the corner of the meeting room, we could see a huge pink heart shape poster. The manager said they actually import materials from China originally,  and customize those semi-products into what the consumers want, to meet their own need. Also, they reduce the return percentage through quality control and good service. Then, he showed us the warehouse. Some pictures of the distribution center are shown below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most amazing part is that they don’t have a lot of workers, instead they purchased automotive machine sewing and stitching machines. All they need to do is create designs according to the customers’ requirement.  They had a bunch of templates in their database, so that they could choose what they need easily. Then the machine could operate itself. As you can see below, usually, it takes 3 minutes to complete a whole design.

By applying automation, they could be able to reduce the cost and increase the profit, while improving the productivity.  At the same time, they could take the advantage of economy of scale. After they complete the manufacturing process, they continue the quality control process and handling them into different category according to different customers manually. As we could see in the picture, they record the whole process on the board in order to observe and improve the process.

After all these, they could sort them into several packages and ship them to different destination. We observed the whole process and have a general idea about how they operate. I still feel there is a lot to learn but I was able to gain more experience in the field.


WET Trip to Niagara Falls

Finally, I got time to write something. After a crazy and busy “quiz” week, setting in my chair, enjoying my breakfast, I start to record my life here backwards. So many things happened in August, first day in Columbus, met my host family in airport, lost my luggage, check-in, orientation, ESL test, Health-screening, orientation, another orientation, Career foundation seminar, paid tuition, rejected by bank, first class, first quiz, awesome RPAC. However, none of these I would like to talk about, because I find those topics are far back to one month ago and some people have already written about them. Today I want to tell everybody the coolest thing I did last week during the Labor Day break.

Since I didn’t get the football tickets, which I believe would have a lot of fun too; I went to the Niagara Falls with folks I met in IFI. It is necessary that I introduce IFI a little bit. IFI stands for International Friendships, helping international students have a smooth transfer to United States and make friends with other people. Rich, the leader of IFI invited us to that trip and he contacted his friends in Buffalo, NY asking whether they could accommodate us. Fortunately, they agreed. We set out on Saturday and arrived at Buffalo at night. I have to say our host family was so enthusiastic, she kept talking with us totally ignoring how tired we were after the long drive. But I mean it in the good way. She prepared towels for us because we would get on the jet boat the next day! She warned us never ever tried to sit in the front rows, you would get 100% wet! However, you know, it’s worth to try.

 

After having a Bible study in church on Sunday, it is a great church by the way; we went to Niagara Falls literally. Our first stop is jet boat! Everyone got a raincoat though, our guide said it is absolutely, definitely useless. The fact is he was right! I sat in the third row along the boat’s right side. It turned out to be the perfect direction at which huge water would target. So guess what, after the first time surfing in the Mickey wave, I got totally wet. The water poured everywhere. And several times going up and down, I embraced the wet and enjoyed it. I couldn’t find any single part of my body that is dry, even my underwear. We ride on the boat visiting the great electricity plants, dams, and the famous whirlpool. But we could not be able to make through it, it is so dangerous. Sometime, human cannot fight against great nature.

Then, we went to see the American falls, three sisters’ islands, and enjoying the beautiful scenery around the park. While we were waiting for the amazing lightening falls at night, I taught my American friends how to play the Chinese card game, fight the landlord. We had a great fun time playing that game. A part of Niagara Falls belongs to Canada, and Canada actually has a better view on the falls. They shot a colorful light on the falls from Canada, and we can enjoy it on a sky-bridge here in U.S. The light changed color every few minutes. That was awesome. Pictures are better proof than words. Please enjoy them!

The third, that was Labor Day, we went on the cruise heading to the Canadian falls, it is called Maid of the Mist, which allowed us to have a close experience on Niagara Falls. And again, totally wet when we got closer, the powerful falls arouse the water when they hit the rocks. The sound was so loud and it really sound like storm. After that, we went to the cave of winds and hiked around the fall. When we arrived at the hurricane spot, we can directly feel the falls by touching it. And again, wholly wet. Everybody was screaming while enjoying.

Anyway, during this trip, I experienced something brand new, and learned a lot about American culture. I guess that is the meaning of going out and open mind. Thanks IFI gave me that chance to Niagara Falls. Later on, I will tell more interesting stories about my gradlife on blog.



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