I walked into an aerospace manufacturing shop back in 1996 and introduced myself. I spent the next 8 months developing a paperless software solution for managing every detail of every part the shop built. From inspection reports, routing, treatments, to inventory. It was my first comprehensive solution that unexpectedly turned my career 90 degrees in a different direction.
I’m still helping them today. And 22 years later, their entire operation is still relying on what I built for them (with major updates along the way, of course).
As I was sweating buckets on their shop floor today, I recalled back when I worked at Boeing in Long Beach, managing all of the desktop computers for the C-17 division, as they were likely using the parts my client was manufacturing. There is a stark difference between the filthy, hot, shrapnel covered machine shop environment compared to the Foreign Object Damage (FOD) prevention obsession of the pristine assembly space for those aircraft with shiny painted and immaculate concrete floors and organized work spaces.
They are two sides of the same coin. I love both environments. I’m totally comfortable in either, minus the heat. Just need to step up my game on hand-coded CNC instructions to the skill level my client demands. You know, if I needed to go mill some robot parts.