My last big project at WCI was in 1988 ($40 MM), I had managed to be noticed by our CEO who headed 100 divisions, and he trusted me to work with 2 others from our Electrolux headquarters (Electrolux had recently bought WCI) in Sweden to estimate the budget required to automate materials handling throughout the plant (feeder departments such as press room, injection molding dept., tubing, paint, 3 assembly lines with 200-300 people on each,….). Reason I was chosen was that throughout 5 years that I had worked at WCI, I had managed to implement all of my projects within time frame & budget that I would estimate for them, successfully; I had also worked in every area in the plant, including managing power supplies, feeding the plant & modifying overhead cranes moving heavy tools/equipment. They knew I was hands on, & they were happy with my presentation skills, for which I must give credit to my manager who had an excellent business mind & had thought me well from the beginning.
When we finished the package, & presented it to corporate they showed no interest to make the necessary investments, mainly, because they did not want to invest in replacement of equipment that were over 20 years old. They already were involved with outsourcing parts for their other plants, and were leaning towards outsourcing our parts as well. This was partially my fault, because I had pointed out that it was necessary to upgrade the equipment in use, before investing on adding robotics & AGVs to automate material handling operations in between them.
At this point, it became clear that there were no more exciting projects for the young, enthusiastic, engineer who had manged to earn respect & credit for her abilities to manage cost reduction & automation projects at WCI. So I decided to resign, even the HR, in addition to my own manager advised me against quitting, but I was young, hard-headed, & eager to do better than just average! I resigned from WCI, & started looking for consulting work, I knew that I would do well, after all I had interviewed, hired & worked with many consultants during the 5 years that I spent at WCI. I had worked in all departments (Plastics, Metals, Tubing, Finishing, Assembly, Packaging) and I had done everything from evaluation of market demands to identify the projects & areas worth investing on, to design standardization, to tooling, to process modification, to automation, troubleshooting, development, preventive maintenance, plant engineering, supplier evaluation, project management, cost analysis, justification, budget planning, presentation, and training. I knew that WCI was not about to invest in in-house projects as they had in the past, and they were not about to create a position for me to keep me there, because they were about to start outsourcing the parts, instead of fabricating them in-house; so I decided to leave them & start independent consulting on my own.