Monday, March 23, 2009

Extreme Carpooling (MAP Weeks 2 & 3)

For the last two weeks I and my MAP team have been traveling around Ohio, learning about cabinets, touring manufacturing and distribution facilities and getting a move on on figuring out who wants what we're selling. 

Basically, because I have the biggest car and don't mind driving long distances, I am the team driver. I have lost track of the number of hours / miles we have driven in the past two weeks but let me tell you, it has been intense. Usually I am the only one who is awake but Sang Hee and I have had some long and lovely conversations and I now know a lot more about South Korea than I did before MAP. While we are working at MRCG headquarters we are staying in a Residence Inn about 45 minutes away. This is because HQ is in Middlefield, OH ... 4th largest Amish community in the US! ... which means there isn't a whole lot to do and there are only two restaurants worth going to but there were several enjoyable and unique roadsigns. 
The commute really isn't that bad. There is never any traffic (except that one time when the GPS misdirected me and it took us two hours to get back to the hotel ... after that I decided to go GPSless, it worked out much better) and we have dedicated time to talk as a full team, brainstorm and give feedback on what everyone is working on. We also take advantage of the adapter that makes it possible to plug my computer into the car and draft many of our team documents during the longer road trips.

I have been a fan of cabinets for as long as I can remember. One of the reasons I picked this project is because we are working for the same company that makes Kraftmaid (I'm hoping there's a future discount there but I wouldn't bet on it). There is something about beautiful kitchens that makes my heart go pitter patter. When I own a home, I'm going to have one seriously sweet kitchen. Due to my fondness for cabinetry I already knew most of what we have been told about the product we are working with. In fact, on our first plant tour, I was told that I wasn't allowed to answer any more questions because it wasn't fun if he didn't get to share any information about the product.

Plant Tours
Over the past two weeks we have toured millions of square feet of manufacturing space. That's right people I said MILLIONS. And we have done it all at "plant speed" which is just a touch slower than "missionary speed" which meant that I was the only person on my team that could keep up with the guys showing us around. I was told that, had I been interviewing for a position, I would have passed the crucial laziness test with flying colors. As many of you know, I like myself a good plant tour every now and then. Ever since college where I had an internship at Subaru and would go out on the catwalks just to watch the cars zip around the factory I've been hooked. I never pass up the opportunity to see how something is made.

Who wants what we're selling?
Who the heck knows?? But seriously, we are making some progress on this front. We hammered out some initial estimates of the size of the opportunity for MRCG last week. Now we just need to figure out the characteristics of the people that fall into that group. We should probably also work on understanding what motivates them ... I'll have to think about that one some more. We've put in a lot of long hours and expect to put in many many more before we're good and finished. Guess what that means. Diet Coke!!! It also means palling around with a rooster (no terrorists here) but you don't really want to know about that. No, don't even try to get it out of me. It won't work and no I don't have photographic evidence. I said NO!

Monsters in Lake Erie
On Thursday MRCG let us use their box at the Q to watch a minor league hockey game. It was super fun to unwind and enjoy some downtime with some of the people we are working with on the project. They are great people and I am so glad that I have the opportunity to know and work with them. (MAP team = 4 people in the middle)

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