Senior Business Analyst
New Breed Companies
2003 - Present
I am currently working for New Breed Corporations. I was brought
on board as a technical writer for a 6-week contract. That was
in October 2003. Needless to say, they liked me, wanted to keep
me and brought me on full-time. I am doing much more than technical
New Breed assigned
me to two different projects:
Marines do three things
very well: they fight (for this I thank them very much), they
train to fight, and they hold meetings about training and fighting.
They don't manage warehouses very well, and that's where we step
Although I am not
an industrial engineer, I put my general quality management and
engineering skills to work to design packaging, develop packing
standards, and set up a recovery, recycling and retail operation
for chemical protective masks.
I did a Parato analysis
on the inventory and found that 90% of the bulk of the inventory
was comprised of only 3 of the 30+ items we manage: suits, boots,
and gloves. Accordingly, I developed packaging to accommodate
these three items. The packages had to be big enough to accommodate
a reasonable number of the item, yet small enough to be manageable.
Too small a package, and there is loss of efficiency. Too large
a package and the chances of splitting lots is increased.
had to balance how well the items fill the box and how well the
boxes fill a pallet. I came up with two boxes that fit perfectly
on a pallet with no wasted space. For these three items, I designed
packaging with a 85% or better density efficiency. Furthermore,
the glove box packs directly into deployment containers and increases
the density by 50% over the previously used standard.
The other 10% of the
inventory bulk either fits very well in one of these boxes or
is large enough to be loaded directly on a pallet. We captured
the packing standards for these items as we brought the gear into
our first warehouse in the project.
My main area of responsibility
is the chemical protective mask. Not only did I became the subject
matter expert for the product, I also had to develop whole new
concepts for the company. New Breed is very good at warehouse
management. They take in materiel in bulk, inspect it, store it,
manage the shelf life, and ship it out in bulk. They do not do
retail operations such as individual issue and recovery of masks.
The masks require
inspection, tear down, cleaning and rebuild. We need to track
not only the stock in inventory, but also the stock that is in
the hands of the individual Marines. Quality needs to be 100%.
Chemical protective masks are life support equipment and if they
fail, people can die.
Normally when inventory
leaves a warehouse, it doesn't come back. For us, returns are
a daily occurrence. We also have to handle up to 200 customers
a day, each requiring a custom fitting and check out procedure.
We are doing this with less than 1/3 the staff that the Marine
Corps used to employ.
I also developed a
concept for bulk cleaning the masks using a commercial dishwasher.
The current process does not keep up with demand without additional
labor being applied. I designed a test, coordinated with a vendor
to conduct the tests, and ran preliminary tests. The results indicate
that the process is viable, and that formal testing should be
conducted by the Government. I did the associated financial analysis
and for the same initial investment as the current system, we
could save $90,000 in operating costs each year. The idea is currently
being considered by a Joint Commission.
I developed a flow
chart to show the end-to-end process for handling the chemical
protective mask. It is not a linear process, there are multiple
entry points to the process, multiple exit points, and depending
on the type of operation and condition of the mask, there are
various paths through the process that masks may take.
Using the inventory
transaction and inventory levels databases, as well as observations
from the field, I was able to break down each process to its most
elemental steps and assign a labor costs to each step. I was also
able to assign percentages to the paths that might be taken. The
labor rates and percentages were outlined in a flow chart and
tracked in an Excel spreadsheet that corresponds with the flow
diagram. The combination spreadsheet / flowchart allows us to
conduct "what if" analyses to see where improvements
to the process will have the greatest impact.
In my spare time,
I developed, coordinated and conducted training. Some of the materials
I had to develop and deliver myself (or train other staff to train
them). Other materials I had to "contract out" to the
Government which means I have to find a trainer, and make arrangements
for equipment and facilities. Very often, I had to deliver this
training while our facility is still under construction and before
we actual receive the equipment.
New Breed operates
a Reverse Logistics Center (RLC) for Verizon Wireless. Retailers
and individuals send phones back to the New Breed distribution
center to be evaluated, refurbished, reprogrammed and repackaged
I am involved in five
Human Resources Analysis
- Human Resources
- Labor Distribution
- Inventory Management
- Variable Process
- Failure Analysis
The workforce is very dynamic and depends on hiring and dismissing
temporary employees to meet the very seasonal surges and lulls
in cellular phones returns. We also experience high turnover rates.
I developed tools to track the current breakout of the workforce
by work center, shift, supervisor and type employee (temporary
or full time). I track conversions from temporary to full-time,
and evaluate turnover for any time period specified by the HR
I also provide tools to the HR Manager and Supervisors that
track attendance and performance issues and disciplinary actions.
Additional tools manage requisitions for temporary employees,
and audits of invoicing from the temporary staffing agencies.
Labor Distribution and Performance
Effective management of the workforce depends on knowing where
people are punched in, and how much product they are producing.
The output of one process may be the input of another process,
and the workforce needs to be balanced to assure a continuous
supply of product to the downstream processes without creating
an excess of work in progress (WIP).
Supervisors need to see where their people are currently assigned,
and how those assignments affect output. They also need a tool
that will allow them to see the effects of moving people from
one labor code to another to address issues of WIP and meeting
I developed such a tool. I coordinated with IT to have hourly
downloads of punch in data, use an Access Database to consolidate
the data and present it in a query, and use the query as the foundation
for an Excel spreadsheet. All the supervisor needs to do is save
the spreadsheet to the local drive, and refresh a single page
(a two click operation). Multiple reports showing the current
situation are presented. The supervisor can override critical
fields such as current headcount in a labor code and work already
produced during the shift, to show what effects these actions
have on production.
I developed three tools to assist the inventory manager.
The first tool prints labels for pallets as soon as they arrive
on the dock and are awaiting further processing into inventory.
In addition to printing the labels, the tool also tracks how many
pallets arrive, when they arrive and what type they are (for Pareto
analysis later) and how long they have been there before being
broken down and officially entered into inventory.
The next tool assists the inventory manager with cycle counting.
Existing reports tell us where a product is located in inventory
- period. Our customer tells us when cycle counts for various
SKUs are required: some SKUs are counted every 30 days, some quarterly
and some annually. This tool helps with the scheduling of the
cycle counts, and keeps track of what SKUs have already been counted,
and what SKUs are coming due counting.
The final tool is an aged bin report. It is important to our
customer that specifically-designated SKUs not be in our racks
longer than a specified period of time. This report identifies
the location of those SKUs where the age is coming due or past
Variable Process Control
The collecting, refurbishing, and redistribution of cellular
phones is more akin to a manufacturing process than a logistical
process. However, some of the traditional manufacturing metrics
do not work for our application. In particular, run-time charts
showing statistical processes control fail.
One of the primary reasons for the failure is that the wireless
industry is still growing, and it is also a seasonal business
with swings that vary from month to month. To complicate matters
even more, we have processes that vary by day of the week such
as processes that depend on receiving. Typically we do not receive
on weekends making Monday processing almost twice the level of
other days of the week.
The solution to this issue was to take the growth and the seasonality
out of the process leaving daily noise behind. The remaining noise
is suitable for analysis using the traditional tools. In addition
the process is broken out by day of week. Three models are evaluated:
- By Day of Week
- "Straight Percentage”
- Traditional Control
The software automatically selects the correct model to use.
The signal (growth and seasonality) is added back to the noise
to compare to predicted results.
Furthermore, there are two versions of the model:
- The advanced version
uses MS-Excel's solver functionality to produce a sinusoidal
model that can be used for forecasting.
- The simplified
version uses Cramer's Rule to assign least-squares-fit coefficients
to a third degree polynomial to provide a very accurate approximate
the sinusoidal solution. This version is 100% automated and
is useful if all you want to do is check to see if recent transactions
- Both versions plot
the measured data, signal and upper and lower control limits
and flag deviations.
Failure Analysis on Handsets
The company receives tens of thousands of handsets every week.
Some of these are good enough to refurbish (put new plastic parts
on them) and send back out. Others are sold to third parties.
Most of them require some level of repair. My job is to analyze
the reasons for the latter. I provide a series of “live”
reports meaning that the data is automatically updated form the
database in the early hours of the morning. These data are automatically
populated into dashboard-like spreadsheets where the end user
can select data by OEM, model, type of phone (basic, 3G, 4G, tablet)
and failure type. As they select the data the information is charted
automatically showing trends and relationships.