Personal Statement Opinions please?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
melsaye
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:20 pm

Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby melsaye » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:23 am

Hey all,
This is my personal statement, if people could give it a look see and some critique that would be great. This version is tended towards HLS, however, I will be altering the end of the letter to suit the various programs I am interested in at different schools.
Thanks!--just wanted to add, this letter is more about my professional experiences, my DS is compliments this letter...its also posted...
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The smell of industrial paint is what caught my attention first. As I looked around it felt like I was in the 60s; the Brutalist architecture, the oily machinery and hardly an LED in sight. Gigantic Churchill lathes, with big crank dials, and workers from the same era looking at me through horn rimmed glasses, underneath foggy safety goggles. The plant, its workers, machinery and attitude were all relics of the Golden Fordist era. Bob Dylan came to my head, “Then you better start swimmin’, or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a changin’”. The times were definitely changing, and this 120 year old mining tool manufacturer needed to catch up.
From cranks to buttons, from dials to screens, from man to machine, from past to present, that was our mantra going in. It started off as science fiction, but after six months of research, development, and communications between all branches, it was engineering fact. This was one the first projects for the consultancy and the scope was large to prove a point. My job was to mediate and facilitate all communications necessary to an efficient implementation of the project. I was the “problem solver”.
The budget was nine million dollars for an almost total automation of five plants over a period of five years. The automation of processes, an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) system, and a Siemens Programmable Logic Control network would streamline every aspect of the manufacturing process across all production floors and offices around the globe. The system would provide access to details of all plants’ processes at any computer logged onto the global network. The automation and network would globalize communications and implement “just in time” production techniques.
Management was excited but honest and warned me that there would be a great deal of politics involved with the project. Coordination and implementation with the other global offices would be a difficult task, but they thought the challenge would be in dealing with resistance from the workers and the union. Most of the technicians had been there for over a decade, and our plan was going to cut jobs.
The offices had no problem implementing the smaller and more difficult tasks. But they were worried that the AGV system was too ambitious an idea. I had grown up watching computers go from 15 kg steel boxes, to digital Swiss Army knives. I knew that visualizing the AGV system was difficult for an older generation, and I felt that was the root of apprehension. I arranged a trip for visiting engineers to the local FedEx distribution center where the system was being implemented in stages. The sight of autonomous yellow and black trucks, buzzing around in a flurry of hive like activity, assuaged doubts regarding the effectiveness of the technology. The engineers turned from sceptics to believers.
I had been a union representative before and I understood that union interests were not always in sync with those of rank and file. I needed to get to know the workers, and find out what they thought about the project. I learned that most of the rank and file were retiring and others just wanted a chance to retrain and stay on. However, labour was forbidden to communicate this to management, unless it was through union channels. I was able to break the impasse and work as an unofficial mediator between management and the technicians to negotiate an amicable proposal. Despite agreement between workers and management, the union refused to endorse the scheme. I suggested an alternative approach; the paint in the air was a violation of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, and for reasons of compliance, process change was necessary. The issue was taken out of the union’s hands.
Labour reorganization and technological advancements were both aspects of the automation project. By facilitating and mediating communication between all interests, I was part of integrating technology and labour into a globalized and competitive solution. The project reflects the globalization trend; businesses and states are restructuring to attract sustainable capital flows in a new environment.
Globalization excites me for its potential to orient capital towards economic growth and progressive change. The emerging need for international legal mediation, presents a well trained mind with the prospect of contributing to precedent that will shape how trade, investment and technology evolve. Harvard is most unique in that it offers access to a network of some of the most influential scholars of our time. The Islamic Legal Studies program, the Islamic Finance Project, and the IGL&P are examples of a specialized global approach to legal training that few institutes offer. My experience combined with an HLS education would provide the foundation needed to influence how growth and development interface in the future.
Last edited by melsaye on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

melsaye
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Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:20 pm

Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby melsaye » Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:06 pm

BUMP :D

LawSchoolGuru
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:56 am

Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby LawSchoolGuru » Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:24 pm

I'm going to cut to the chase. This PS needs to be revised heavily for HLS. You have a lot of DETAILS, which is awesome, but I feel like I don't get a sense of you within those details. I mean you did a great job explaining the situation, but what I really want to hear is why you are a good fit for HLS. You somewhat get into that at the conclusion, but you need to do this much earlier in the personal statement. Cut out a lot of the details and put more of what you were thinking while this was going on. The first three paragraphs had almost nothing to do with you. I want to hear about you from the first paragraph all the way until the conclusion.

Don't completely delete this file as you should use these details in some case. Just start talking about yourself way earlier, and then finish off with how this experience specifically relates to the programs at HLS. That conclusion kind of seems misplaced within a personal statement like this one, but it is the closest you got to talking about yourself. Anyway, keep on grindin'

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j12
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby j12 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:28 pm

LawSchoolGuru wrote:I'm going to cut to the chase. This PS needs to be revised heavily for HLS. You have a lot of DETAILS, which is awesome, but I feel like I don't get a sense of you within those details. I mean you did a great job explaining the situation, but what I really want to hear is why you are a good fit for HLS. You somewhat get into that at the conclusion, but you need to do this much earlier in the personal statement. Cut out a lot of the details and put more of what you were thinking while this was going on. The first three paragraphs had almost nothing to do with you. I want to hear about you from the first paragraph all the way until the conclusion.

Don't completely delete this file as you should use these details in some case. Just start talking about yourself way earlier, and then finish off with how this experience specifically relates to the programs at HLS. That conclusion kind of seems misplaced within a personal statement like this one, but it is the closest you got to talking about yourself. Anyway, keep on grindin'

this is what I was thinking as well

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puppylaw
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby puppylaw » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:20 pm

melsaye wrote:Hey all,
This is my personal statement, if people could give it a look see and some critique that would be great. This version is tended towards HLS, however, I will be altering the end of the letter to suit the various programs I am interested in at different schools.
Thanks!
-------------
The smell of industrial paint is what caught my attention first. As I looked around it felt like I was in the 60s; colon, not semi colonthe Brutalist architecture, the oily machinery and hardly an LED in sight. Gigantic Churchill lathes, with big crank dials, and workers from the same era looking at me through horn rimmed glasses, underneath foggy safety goggles. The plant, its workers, machinery and attitude were all relics of the Golden Fordist era. Bob Dylan came to my head, “Then you better start swimmin’, or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a changin’”. The times were definitely changing, and this 120 year old mining tool manufacturer needed to catch up.I like this paragraph, but consider dropping Dylan or making the reference a little less subtle than a pretty big quote
From cranks to buttons, from dials to screens, from man to machine, from past to present, that was our mantra going in. It started off as science fiction, but after six months of research, development, and communications between all branches, it was engineering fact. This was one the first projects for the consultancy and the scope was large to prove a point. My job was to mediate and facilitate all communications necessary to an efficient implementation of the project. I was the “problem solver”.again, good paragraph
The budget was nine million dollars for an almost total automation of five plants over a period of five years. The automation of processes, an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) system, and a Siemens Programmable Logic Control network would streamline every aspect of the manufacturing process across all production floors and offices around the globe. talk more about yourself!! The system would provide access to details of all plants’ processes at any computer logged onto the global network. The automation and network would globalize communications and implement “just in time” production techniques.
Management was excited but honest and warned me that there would be a great deal of politics involved with the project. Coordination and implementation with the other global offices would be a difficult task, but they thought the challenge would be in dealing with resistance from the workers and the union. Most of the technicians had been there for over a decade, and our plan was going to cut jobs.
The offices had no problem implementing the smaller and more difficult tasks. But they were worried that the AGV system was too ambitious an idea. this would be great for a 4 page article, but it too detailed for a brief personal statement, although it's better here than above because it's more about you.I had grown up watching computers go from 15 kg steel boxes, to digital Swiss Army knives. I knew that visualizing the AGV system was difficult for an older generation, and I felt that was the root of apprehension. I arranged a trip for visiting engineers to the local FedEx distribution center where the system was being implemented in stages. The sight of autonomous yellow and black trucks, buzzing around in a flurry of hive should there be a dash here?like activity, assuaged doubts regarding the effectiveness of the technology. The engineers turned from sceptics to believers.
I had been a union representative before and I understood that union interests were not always in sync with those of rank and file. I needed to get to know the workers, and find out what they thought about the project. I learned that most of the rank and file were retiring and others just wanted a chance to retrain and stay on. However, labour was forbidden to communicate this to management, unless it was through union channels. I was able to break the impasse and work as an unofficial mediator between management and the technicians to negotiate an amicable proposal. Despite agreement between workers and management, the union refused to endorse the scheme. I suggested an alternative approach; semi colon is grammatically correct, but try this sentence again with a period of, better yet, a colon and a capital The the paint in the air was a violation of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, and for reasons of compliance, process change was necessary. The issue was taken out of the union’s hands.
Labour reorganization and technological advancements were both aspects of the automation project. By facilitating and mediating communication between all interests, I was part of integrating technology and labour into a globalized and competitive solution. The project reflects the globalization trend; businesses and states are restructuring to attract sustainable capital flows in a new environment.
Globalization excites me for its potential to orient capital towards economic growth and progressive change. The emerging need for international legal mediation, presents a well trained mind with the prospect of contributing to precedent that will shape how trade, investment and technology evolve. Harvard is most unique in that it offers access to a network of some of the most influential scholars of our time. The Islamic Legal Studies program, the Islamic Finance Project, and the IGL&P are examples of a specialized global approach to legal training that few institutes offer. My experience combined with an HLS education would provide the foundation needed to influence how growth and development interface in the future.

really good job. can you say more specifically about what you want to do with your degree at the end there? Just a sentence more.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:22 pm

I love the creative solution for dealing with the union objections to modernizing the plant.

Overall, your personal statement is interesting, although a bit intense due to its fact-filled content. Whether or not this essay will help your application to Harvard Law is unclear because there are both positives & negatives. The positives are your breadth & depth of experience as well as your creative problem solving ability, while the negatives focus on your manner of communication & your possible failure to use this PS to achieve your goal of being admitted to HLS.

Legal writing should show clarity of thought expressed succinctly. Although this is not a legal brief or memorandum, it is part of your law school application.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:30 pm

It's important to remember that most law school application personal statements will receive only a quick read by each admissions officer. Although your essay is quite clear when read for a second time, you may not get that chance.

melsaye
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby melsaye » Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:23 pm

I def see what a lot of you are pointing at.
I had spoken to the Harvard Admissions rep at the forum here in Toronto awhile back. I had mentioned to her that I would be submitting a DS and a PS. She said to make SURE that they did not overlap in any way. My DS is in another post, and you will find it to be much more indicative and emotive of my personality. The writing itself is a demonstration of my creative side, and the experiences show who I am and what I believe on a very deep level. The PS was meant to show my professional strengths...problem solving, technical knowledge, and experience with corporate transactions/restructuring. I was aiming to show both sides of myself between both statements...
My references are from professors that know me personally and will most probably express another perspective of "who I am". I am looking at the application as a whole...and how each part fits in to make a picture to provoke an image worth conversation. I am pretty sure that the DS will grab enough attention as to invoke a couple readings of the application by a few readers.
Having said that, I am going for a stroll to think of how I can bring more of my personality out in the PS...I greatly appreciate everyone's input.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:25 pm

Clarity is even more important than personality. Law school personal statements usually differ from creative writing exercises.

melsaye
Posts: 23
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby melsaye » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:35 pm

Ok guys, did some restructuring cutting out, and putting in. I tried to bring more of my intentions out in this version, I believe this one has more punch to it. Check it out and lemme know if you can, thanks!
--------------------------
The smell of industrial paint is what caught my attention first. As I looked around it felt like I was in the 60s; the Brutalist architecture, the oily machinery and hardly an LED in sight. Gigantic Churchill lathes, with big crank dials, and workers from the same era looking at me through horn rimmed glasses, underneath foggy safety goggles. The plant, its workers, machinery and attitude were all relics of the Golden Fordist era. Bob Dylan came to my head, “Then you better start swimmin’, or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a changin’”. The times were changing, and this 120 year old mining tool manufacturer needed to catch up.
It started off as science fiction, but after six months of research, development, and negotiation, it was engineering fact. The budget was nine million dollars for an almost total automation of five plants over a period of five years. The automation of processes, an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) system, and a Siemens Programmable Logic Control network would streamline every aspect of the manufacturing process across all production floors and offices around the globe. The system would provide access to details of all plants’ processes at any computer logged onto the global network. The automation and network would globalize communications and employ “just in time” production techniques.
My job was to restructure communications in way that would lead to an efficient and sustainable implementation. I was the “problem solver”. I recognized that coordination of technology with the other global offices would be a difficult task, but I felt the real challenge would be in negotiating with the unionized workers. Most of the technicians had been there for over a decade, and our plan was going to cut jobs. I had a personal interest in finding a solution that would balance profitability and modernization with the demands and needs of labour. To me, this was an important experiment in globalization.
The offices had no problem executing the smaller and more difficult tasks. But they were worried that the AGV system was too ambitious an idea. I had grown up watching computers go from 15 kg steel boxes, to digital Swiss Army knives. I knew that visualizing the AGV system was difficult for an older generation, and I felt that was the root of apprehension. I arranged a trip for visiting engineers to the local FedEx distribution center where the system was being implemented in stages. The sight of autonomous yellow and black trucks, buzzing around in a flurry of hive like activity, assuaged doubts regarding the effectiveness of the technology. The engineers turned from sceptics to believers.
I had been a union representative before and I understood that union interests were not always in sync with those of rank and file. I needed to get to know the workers, and find out what they thought about the project. I learned that most of the rank and file were retiring and others just wanted a chance to retrain and stay on. However, labour was forbidden to communicate this to management, unless it was through union channels. I was able to break the impasse as an unofficial mediator between management and the technicians to negotiate an amicable proposal. Despite agreement between workers and management, the union refused to endorse the scheme. I suggested an alternative approach; the paint in the air was a violation of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, and for reasons of compliance, process change was necessary. The issue was taken out of the union’s hands.
Labour reorganization and technological advancements were both aspects of the automation project. I was able to restructure communications in a way that integrated new production technologies and labour, into a globalized and competitive solution. This project was a reflection of the globalization trend; businesses and states are restructuring to attract sustainable capital flows in a new environment.
Globalization excites me for its potential to orient capital towards economic growth and progressive change. The emerging need for international legal mediation, presents a well trained mind with the prospect of contributing to precedent that will shape how trade, investment and technology evolve. Harvard is most unique in that it offers access to a network of some of the most influential scholars of our time, in an environment conducive to innovation. The Islamic Legal Studies program, the Islamic Finance Project, and the IGL&P are examples of a specialized global approach to legal training that few institutes offer. My experience combined with an HLS education, would provide the foundation needed to structure laws that influence how growth and development interface in the future.

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citygirl000
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby citygirl000 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:24 pm

Hi-

I just read your DS and it's much stronger than your PS in a sense that it talks more about you - I think you should think about making your DS your PS

melsaye
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby melsaye » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:03 pm

Thanks for the read.
However, both go hand in hand. From what I understand, the application package is to describe who you are in all your facets.
This PS seems less personal. That is only because it describes my professional aspirations and experiences. In the professional world, companies care about your skills, not your personality. This statement is meant to describe an experience that shows my professional skills, and aspirations. Problem solving, understanding of economic structures and business issues, leadership, goal oriented, go getter, and professional achievements etc..., and an individual belief in balancing growth of capital and social development. Hence the balancing act between technology and labor. This is quite clear.
As for the DS, it is meant more to describe another facet of myself, my uniqueness, or why I believe I am 'special' basically. The DS is an opportunity for anyone to stand out amongst the thousands of individuals who apply. Creativity and personality can really shine through in a DS if properly used. I think that is why most people on here have enjoyed the DS more. Interestingly enough, the coworkers in the consultancy I refer to, didn't like the DS as much the PS. They felt the DS was too personal, and did not describe who I was in terms of what I could contribute to the professional world of law.

kublaikahn
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby kublaikahn » Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:18 pm

Boo dude. This is not nearly as interesting or well written as your DS.

Plus I don't think everyone will like the end around you did on the union rep (if that is even true). I admit I find it hard to believe a paid consultant would go into a clients shop and document the fact that they are violating the occupational health and safety laws and hand that data over to the union which is about to have its workforce downsized. But maybe you are that dumb. Just kidding. :wink:

melsaye
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby melsaye » Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:48 pm

So essentially you are calling me a liar or dumb, if I am not mistaken? :roll: I'll assume you were 'just kidding' for a moment. Perhaps the situation was not clear enough in the letter itself, or you got confused.
The union representative was part of the Health and Safety Committee, that had been there for years and years and years. Anyone coming into process could smell the paint instantly, in fact many of the automation consultants who came more than once brought with them paint masks. Everyone knew about the issue already.
The reality is, as complex as it may seem, in most industries that hold a monopoly, there is a relationship or understanding that forms between the 'union' and the monopoly. As long as the union doesn't rock the boat, individuals are employed, and the union keeps its dues for a long long time. This company is over 100 years old. They were unionized right around the 60s (by the steelworkers), and haven't updated anything since.
The only thing the union could do upon 'finding out' about the hazard, is demand change. Unless any of its members had immediate health problems that were evidenced to be as a result of the paint, there is nothing more they could do. That is exactly what we wanted, change. The technicians wanted to keep their jobs for a couple years, and others wanted to retrain and take advantage of the free technical skills education (that alone was worth thousands of dollars for each worker). They had no interest in pursuing health complaints that would be tenuous to prove at best, and that would result in few long term benefits. Especially in light of the fact that the paint was in the air for 50 years, and no complaints had ever been filed.
So basically the union had two options, 1)Report the situation to the government, which would result in process change, workers would lose their jobs while the process was automated, and they would receive unemployment benefits (not full salary), and there would be no guarantee of re hire. Of course there would be all kinds legal costs associate with this move for both sides. 2)The union would cooperate with us, keep its members happy, and accept the generous proposal to keep workers on till they retire, train younger workers, and keep relations good with the employer, and allow for process change. Either way, in the long term, the company would gain what they wanted.
Automation that reduces manpower, saves a company per employee, about 500,000$ in expenses a year. Not to mention the opportunity costs of lack of productivity when no implementation occurs.
I appreciate your commentary, perhaps this was not clear in the letter, but i guess that's the problem with two pages...if you have any suggestions as to how to clarify the situation, please go ahead.
I guess my assumption is that most admissions officers will have a knowledge of labor dispute and have had some knowledge in mediation between unions and employers. Generally, mediation resolves most of the labor disputes, this was not a unique example of mediation at all.

kublaikahn
Posts: 647
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby kublaikahn » Sat Oct 15, 2011 12:20 am

melsaye wrote:So essentially you are calling me a liar or dumb, if I am not mistaken? :roll: I'll assume you were 'just kidding' for a moment. Perhaps the situation was not clear enough in the letter itself, or you got confused.
The union representative was part of the Health and Safety Committee, that had been there for years and years and years. Anyone coming into process could smell the paint instantly, in fact many of the automation consultants who came more than once brought with them paint masks. Everyone knew about the issue already.
The reality is, as complex as it may seem, in most industries that hold a monopoly, there is a relationship or understanding that forms between the 'union' and the monopoly. As long as the union doesn't rock the boat, individuals are employed, and the union keeps its dues for a long long time. This company is over 100 years old. They were unionized right around the 60s (by the steelworkers), and haven't updated anything since.
The only thing the union could do upon 'finding out' about the hazard, is demand change. Unless any of its members had immediate health problems that were evidenced to be as a result of the paint, there is nothing more they could do. That is exactly what we wanted, change. The technicians wanted to keep their jobs for a couple years, and others wanted to retrain and take advantage of the free technical skills education (that alone was worth thousands of dollars for each worker). They had no interest in pursuing health complaints that would be tenuous to prove at best, and that would result in few long term benefits. Especially in light of the fact that the paint was in the air for 50 years, and no complaints had ever been filed.
So basically the union had two options, 1)Report the situation to the government, which would result in process change, workers would lose their jobs while the process was automated, and they would receive unemployment benefits (not full salary), and there would be no guarantee of re hire. Of course there would be all kinds legal costs associate with this move for both sides. 2)The union would cooperate with us, keep its members happy, and accept the generous proposal to keep workers on till they retire, train younger workers, and keep relations good with the employer, and allow for process change. Either way, in the long term, the company would gain what they wanted.
Automation that reduces manpower, saves a company per employee, about 500,000$ in expenses a year. Not to mention the opportunity costs of lack of productivity when no implementation occurs.
I appreciate your commentary, perhaps this was not clear in the letter, but i guess that's the problem with two pages...if you have any suggestions as to how to clarify the situation, please go ahead.
I guess my assumption is that most admissions officers will have a knowledge of labor dispute and have had some knowledge in mediation between unions and employers. Generally, mediation resolves most of the labor disputes, this was not a unique example of mediation at all.


I'm sorry, in a past life I implemented logistics and supply chain management solutions like the one you describe. I found your terminology and explanation simplistic and incredible. I just don't think a company would begin a six month project without executive sponsorship that was already coordinated with labor. I certainly would not expect a peon consultant to come in and start labor negotiations. I would bet a weeks pay you are full of shit. Just in time is not exactly a modern supply chain concept. Current operations managers talk of outbound logistics optimization and lights out manufacturing, the benefits of which are not that you can access the information from any computer in the world, but that a human only touches the data (and materials if possible) when a decision must be made. Information is integrated with disparate systems. Maybe I am getting cynical.

melsaye
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby melsaye » Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:24 am

Have you every worked with PLC's and automation in small manufacturing processes. The supply chain management you are speaking of is for extremely high volumes and all kinds of different assembly lines. You are talking things like Wal-Mart distribution or perhaps car manufacturers that require components from hundreds of suppliers at once to assemble one vehicle. Factories that are producing thousands upon thousands of units 24 hours a day.
This company makes mining drill bits. Steel rods that are milled, cooked, and painted. That's it. There is no assembly whatsoever. The total number of employees on each floor is less than 50. Very simple, when warehouse runs out of stock, or is near running out of stock, floors are notified. Bits are made, or shipped to other warehouses. Mining is not a volatile industry. Lights out manufacturing is for a whole different beast, you are talking about CNC machining that is for massive manufacturing numbers. There are no disparate systems here, it is one unit. This kind of company is looking for very basic lean consumption improvements with least cost and complexity.
No one said just in time is new, it's been around since the 70's.
Control of PLC and throughput is not new, and neither is networked access. But for this company, it was a useful and affordable option, and for many companies that have been in the manufacturing business without competition it still is. The only real new technology being implemented was AGVs, and that was simply to handle stock between processes. From the milling station to baking to painting...
It took 6 months for research, development, and negotiations just to get the project approved and running, and 5 years to implement. The issue with labor was part of getting executive sponsorship, that was the whole point! Read carefully.

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Yukos
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Re: Personal Statement Opinions please?

Postby Yukos » Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:50 pm

Well this got ugly fast.

For the record, I liked it. But I'm a PS reading novice.

ETA: Read your DS. Listen to everyone else in this thread. Your DS is your PS, your resume will speak to your professional experience.




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