Name: Han-ru Yang
School: National Quemoy University
Department: Industrial Engineering and Management
Company: Keyarrow (Taiwan) Co., Ltd.
Department: Project Management
Keyarrow is a professional manufacturer of key components of machine tools and its factories are considered models of lean managment. As a student I always hoped I could intern at Keyarrow and learn the latest knowledge in industrial management. I finally got my wish when I landed a 2-month internship at Keyarrow in the summer of 2018. During my internship, I was deeply impressed by the culture of this company and its implementation of lean management methods. This planted the idea of joining the Keyarrow team in my mind, and I applied for a second internship at the company in 2019. My goals have evolved from “learning by doing” to becoming an independent industrial management professional.
I observed how the TPS concepts of Toyota were carried out in Keyarrow, which included make-to-order production, JIT, zero inventory, etc. The implementation of TPS not only included units directly involved in production, but also units in supporting roles. In the spirit of teamwork, the goal was not just to improve your own factory, but also support the improvement of other factories that you collaborate with. Therefore, I knew back then that interning at Keyarrow would greatly benefit myself because I could learn how to put knowledge into practice.
In my day-to-day work, I clearly saw the company’s attention to detail. I worked at the document management center, which was responsible for creating, revising and publishing standard documents. There was a simple rule for creating standard documents, and that rule was “follow the instructions and nothing will go wrong”. Of course, when you first start preparing such documents, you actually don’t know the standards. So how were the standards set? It was quite straightforward: Do what you write, and write what you do. Like the PDCA cycle introduced by Deming, the application of these methods can be applied in many areas.
One of my most stressful experiences was assisting in the preparation of the briefing for the chairman. This gave me the opportunity to closely observe the chairman’s thought process and working principles, which helped me identify the crucial tasks in my job and reminded me not to commit the same mistakes. When briefing, you were expected to communicate using numbers and avoid vague adjectives and expressions such as very good, so-so, a little bit different, etc. “Our philosophy is ‘not to name names,’” the chairman said, a motto that was imprinted in my memory. You always need to work with others, including colleagues from other departments. If a job is not completed, you must remind your colleague, and it might turn out his or her inability to complete a task is because you did not provide enough resources to support him or her. This is an example of “teamwork and collaboration”, a key TPS concept.
As stated above, I chose to intern at Keyarrow while in college. Through this internship, I learned about the culture of Keyarrow and acquired knowledge in the field of industrial management. Moreover, I developed the desire to join the company permanently. My main reason to join this company is their focus on talent cultivation, as demonstrated by their comprehensive training program and their willingness to hire outside consultants to help employees improve their efficiency. This again is another illustration of the TPS spirit: “continuous improvement.”
While Keyarrow is a great company, I think the internship itself is a great learning experience for students. You are no longer reading about theories in a book, but learning how to become a part of a successful organization from hands-on experience. In addition, the experience and knowledge on the company’s operations and culture you acquire during the internship are all advantageous to you as a fresh graduate. This advantage has benefited me greatly, especially when I chose to stay at Keyarrow. While other new hires of the company were spending most of their energy getting acclimated to the work environment, I was focusing on getting my assigned duties done in a more efficient manner by drawing on my previous experiences. I was able to accumulate a lot of work experience and hone my job skills in a short amount of time; this certainly helped my future advancement immensely!
Therefore, speaking from personal experience, I can say that an internship is a shortcut to future success for students!