All good things come to an end?!

As I sit in my dorm room in Milan pretty much settled in, and having attended my first official day of class here, it’s finally sinking in that summer is officially over!  Perfect time to tie loose ends here too..

  • My fondest memory of the summer will be great times with all the wonderful people I met there, but in particular, hands on project work of spray painting areas of the floor at the plant I worked at does stand out.
  • My biggest learning was that I love being a part of a company where relationships mean the world.   I am still in touch with people I worked with, sharing pictures of my travels for now.  I found mentors and friends and a sense a belonging at work, which was truly wonderful.
  • My recommendation to anyone would be to intern because it shows you what a good part of the rest of your life can look like on a daily basis.  You learn responsibility, you learn what you enjoy doing, and also what you don’t, and also, you learn what the real world looks like!  You experience what life after college can be like, and you see and learn where you can go with your career.  If you love it, great, you might have just found out your calling.  And if you don’t like it so much, at least you can make sure what you do not want the rest of your life looks like.

If you have any questions/concerns/comments about anything related to my experiences, please feel free to e-mail me at  Hope this has helped; good luck!!

The Amazing Race – LMA edition

Being at a field location can surely provide networking challenges.  Yes – you do connect with your wonderful group and manager of course, as well as Senior Leadership at the plant, but it is not the same as being at the company’s headquarters.  Covington surely produces a lot of cereal, but the number of people that work here is surely not a 4 digit number!

So, as a networking tool for the logistics interns and LMAs (all us are at field locations), a the amazing race was twisted innovatively and put to use.  We were broken into 7 teams of 3 members each, and each team had to work together and timely so to gain points in different legs of the race.  Leg 1 was to learn more about each other, 2 was to learn about the different logistics functions that are available in the company after completing the LMA role (which is the starting point for a fresh graduate), 3 was to learn about certain plants and connect with their LMs (Logistics Managers) and the 4th was to go and analyze how we are doing from the perspective of the consumer.  I surely have a better idea about the Logistics impact and opportunities because of this activity!

Oh, and I was on the winning team comprising of Laura who is the LMA at the Cereal plant in Lodi, California and Judi who is the LMA at the Brands on the Go plant in Chanhassen, Minneapolis.  Being a little competitive clearly helped us out!

General Mills’ Key Performing Interns (KPIs) – LMA intern group project

As I sit in Centennial Park waiting for my cousin to finish touring the New World of Coke across the street, I realize I have not written in a while and I truly apologize for not sharing my summer with all of you; this is because it has simply flown by.  Time flies when you’re having a good time is correct, so to say that it’s been great is an understatement, cause I’m not really sure where it went.

Just like each professor has his/her own way to teach the same material in a very unique way, every logistics group at the various General Mills plants measure their performance variably.  Because the nature of yogurt, cereal, soups and other vegetables for example is so different, this is understandable.  But being the same company, shouldn’t there be a standard?

One of my projects was to work with the logistics interns at 9 other locations (varying from California to Iowa and Tennessee) spanning across 3 time zones in order to recommend certain standard metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that each planning group at the plants should know.  Then we had to quantify these metrics and understand what losses related to them, and how goals could be set to cut these losses going forward.  It was surely interesting to start from a collection of over 45 metrics that 20 plants measured (as each of us had a secondary plant we worked with as well in order to cover a larger network) to bring this number down to a final of just 10!!

The process helped us all learn more about each other and the different plants in the company along with another great team-work lesson.  We also have a better understanding of Supply Chain measurements along with Continuous Improvement, aka CI and linked Phase Progression in the Manufacturing World.

We also prepared to present our findings for leadership in Minneapolis during the company’s Intern Showcase on August 3rd.  Without meeting any of them before presenting together except for the day before the event was an interesting experience.  Attached are some photos of my room at the hotel we stayed in and the ladies are the female LMA interns.

This event was also a great networking opportunity, a wonderful time to meet all the interns in different functions from various locations, along with being a superb way to show managers at head quarters what we worked on over the summer.

Note to self: The work week flies by, literally…

[Pictures: Snapshot of my second week, people I work with, my desk, and ooh, cereal from the giveaway]

WHAT?! 20% of my internship is done, already?

This is how:

  • One of my projects for the summer is to make sure the warehouse we have for our raw materials is utilized in the best possible manner, for both the east and west plant at our location.  I am meeting with those who can guide me Monday morning after a week long discussion they were involved in detailing changes that will come about with the new Warehouse Management System that will go live before the end of the year.
  • Another project involved labeling ingredient locations.  I have toured the west plant ingredient planner on her audit to get an idea and have started talking to the material planners involved.  I plan to go out in the plant myself and make notes this upcoming week to take my work on this aspect forward.
  • The bulk receiving end for our East plant tracks incoming material manually.  I am in the process of building a worksheet that will ensure that this process is carried out electronically in the future.  I will review my progress and learn what else needs to be added so as to start using the document.
  • Discussion regarding metrics measured and Key Performing Indicators (KPIs) used to measure these at all plants across the country and the ability to standardize these is on in full swing with the logistics interns across the nation.  We will be presenting our deliverables on August 3rd at the headquarters in Minneapolis.

Besides the upkeep on these projects, we had the cereal giveaway at the plant so I have more cereal than I can consume in 8 weeks decorated in my apartment.  Grabbing lunch with employees at the plant is giving me a chance to get to know them better.  Networking to learn about all the different logistics roles one can take up in the future was also part of this last week for me, and I’ve been enjoying each second of it!

Oh, also, my roommate and I got LA Fitness memberships so we’re trying to keep up with that along with all the wonderful food we’re trying around here…

Vaishali’s First Week

Well hello dearest reader – so I had an exam at the last possible slot at OSU; 3:30pm on the Thursday of finals week, and I wanted to be on my way to Georgia sometime within 24-30 hours after I was out, so yea, it was an interesting end to a crazy busy quarter…

Packing up an apartment and moving away has never been my favorite thing to do, and it took longer than I anticipated, but oh well!  So after meeting everyone I wasn’t going to see for a while (also because I’m going to Italy for the fall right after my internship, so I may not see some friends for like 6 months straight!!) and packing up for a while, I grabbed dinner with my brother who was driving with me, and set out on an about 10 hour journey after the sun set.  And I made it to my new home for the summer in time for the sun rise!

It is a gorgeous place that took no place to feel like home… from white towels in my bathroom and a dining table set up with plates and wine glasses, there was no looking back.  I also have a Puerto Rican roommate who is also an intern, and I’m so glad I can practice my Spanish too!  We’ve shopped, cooked and hung out by the pool after work already, so that part of it has been wonderful.  We could choose to use the company’s help for housing as interns, which I did, and we pay for a part of it.

Well related to work – that’s been amazing too!!  Do you remember what welcome week was like here at THE Ohio State University? Well that’s what people here at work refer to OSU as… My first week and orientation (well on-boarding) was kind of like that – different trainings and introductions, and being introduced to my projects and networking with other interns across the country, especially the other logistics interns at the various plants.  Since I’m the last one to be on board (as we are on quarters and get out in June and not May) and we have a project that all of us logistics interns do collectively, so I’m catching up to that and trying to add as much as I can along with settling in…

I’ve met with the Plant Manager, a ton of HR people, Finance folks, Operations, Maintenance, IS, Engineering and then some (you name the group, and they had set up time for me to connect with the team leader)… ooh and I got to learn about sensory testing as well!  The plant I work at makes cereal and has two divisions, and I’ve only gotten a chance to tour one side – so I’ve seen how much goes into making sure you get your Cheerios in the morning; surely makes me appreciate my breakfast more after seeing how much goes into it!

The culture of my work location fosters learning and team work based on relationships, so a chunk of my first week (that flew by in all honesty) has been meeting all the people involved so that I can work on getting to know how it all comes together…  I have started getting a grasp on the basics and am meeting people that will facilitate the smooth progress of my projects.

Oh and we do have uniforms, and I do wear steel toed shoes when I walk through the plant, and I have that certain hat and eye protection and ear phones and all that goodness related to not working at a corporate office exactly!!

I shall share more details about my projects, and actually anything in particular you would like to hear more about… the people? the city? working at a plant?

Just let me know if you are looking for particular details…