So I’m in Montgomery, Alabama this week undergoing training for the dreaded day job.  Basically we’re doing the Air Force’s equivalent of Six Sigma .  Part of that training was a tour of the Montgomery Hyundai plant.  What an amazing place!!  Total human/robot integration (noooo, I don’t mean cyborgs *g*).  Their assembly line is just under a mile long and never stops moving unless there’s a quality control issue.  They can churn out over 1000 cars a day, based on customer and auto dealer orders, so their process is all about customer pull rather than industry push…see, I’m learning all the lingo *g*.

I found it really interesting, as we rode the tram around, that a huge majority of the employees smiled and waved at us (probably helped that there were six military members in uniform in our tour group).  And these were REAL smiles, real waves, not the stuff you do because your boss told you to.  Turns out the Chief Master Sergeant in our group has a brother who works there, and we actually got to see him doing his thing on the assembly line.  When I made a comment to her about how the smiles and waves seemed a bit strange (at least to me, guess I’m just cynical) she said that actually, the attitude was quite genuine.

The starting pay there is really good ($16/hour) and it’s not an easy job to get.  As an employee you basically start out on a trial basis, and then if it works, you go to a ‘regular’ employee.  Because the money is good and the company apparently takes really good care of its people, the employees reciprocate…they enjoy their work and it shows.

All in all I was VERY impressed, and it was a great break from death by PowerPoint.

Now I’m looking forward to coming home late on Friday night.  If nothing else, I’m getting a ton of writing done!

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