Industrial and Systems Engineering Internship (West Ward/ Hikma Pharmaceuticals)
For my Second Year Transformational Experience I decided to pursue and internship opportunity at Hikma Pharmaceuticals (formerly West Ward Pharmaceuticals), a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer. For 11 weeks I worked full-time for Hikma’s Process Excellence Group, which specializes in operational excellence. This experience allowed me to better understand what a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineer entails and, with that, came many great experiences. There are about ten students chosen each year to intern with this company; the small group size has allowed me to develop new connections and work on/ lead numerous projects that will have a lasting impact on the company.
This project changed my professional mindset and allowed me to think outside of the box in terms of my career. As an Industrial Engineer, it is common to pursue a career in supply chain and manufacturing and, while I love my major, I am hesitant to pursue a career full of dirty manufacturing facilities, loud production floors, and minimal person-to-person contact. What this internship has taught me is that my degree gives me the potential to do just about anything ranging from operations to finance. It taught me that not every manufacturing facility is dark and dirty and helped solidify my desire to work in healthcare and surrounding fields.
My boss has been and continues to be a fantastic mentor and has allowed me to apply my knowledge in independent projects throughout the site. One of the first projects I was tasked with was overseeing the implementation of our new data collection software and technology on one of the solid product packaging lines. In order to do this I had to observe the new system run parallel to the old system, using the old system to verify that the new system was returning the proper numbers. From there I had to train the technicians on the line on how to use the software correctly, troubleshooting along the way. After successful implementation of the software I took my knowledge and applied it as a subject matter expert to develop the system’s user manual. In this manual I provided instructions on how to navigate each of the screens, indicate the start of packaging for a particular product order and each of the following stages until end of run, how to pull data, and so much more. While this manual took some time to develop, it will save the company about eight hours on each of the following software implementations which will result in a cost avoidance (Blue Dollar Savings) of about $1200 per future implementation. Another project that I was able to finish this summer was one with the focus of redesigning the visual management board in the ingredient dispensing area. This one was a bit more fun and allowed me to employ some more creativity but, it too, came with some challenges. Having never taken any courses on visual management and never having explored that area, I did not totally understand the way that they needed it to function. I was able to learn along the way but even that could not save me from designing and redesigning their board eight times before finalizing the design.
This internship gave me an amazing opportunity to apply existing knowledge and ended up being a strong opportunity for professional development. During this time I was able to go through the training to receive my White Belt in Lean Six Sigma, which will prove to be useful in the classroom and in the career field after graduation. I was also able to further my problem solving abilities and strengthen my data analysis skills. I will be returning to the classroom with a better understanding of the light at the end of the tunnel (i.e. graduation) and I could not be more excited to see what the future holds.