A Day in the Life of...
We all have our work routines (editor’s note: mine looks like coffee, coffee, meeting, meeting, meeting, coffee)–but ever wonder what someone else’s day looks like? Take a peek inside the daily shenanigans of our team members and learn what a day in their life looks like for them. What you learn may surprise or inspire you.
...Director of IT, Abel Herrera
Reviewing Open Tickets with Victor
Yet another recurring, weekly, touch base, this time with our HQ IT technician, Victor Martinez, to go through outstanding tickets. This weekly touch base helps us understand trending issues and what we can do better to improve systems or processes going forward.
Cell phone replacement, keyboard purchases, these operational support items help keep the teams working smoothly, and we look for ways to improve the experience.
Meeting with Tijuana Logistics
I met with Elsa Moreno, our Logistics Manager in Mexico, to ensure current cross-border carriers are providing enough coverage and that the rates are holding up. The transportation market has softened up quite a bit now that we’re well post-COVID. I’m volunteering a few hours a week to work on Logistics while the new head of Logistics is brought on board, as I was also in charge of Logistics for 16 years, (ending last year so that I can focus on IT).
The previous meeting ends a little early, which gives me a few minutes to quickly check emails before I head into my next meeting, a weekly touch base with members of my team, Ushan d’Alwis (Application Development Manager) and Karina Rodriguez (IT Project Coordinator) to discuss open projects and timelines. (AKU = Abel, Karina, Ushan, get it?)
We resolve a lot of issues during these weekly touch bases. It keeps us organized, but most importantly, sane. We usually share stories or current events and get some time to keep the dynamic of the group healthy. We laugh a lot as a team, it keeps our spirits high.
Ushan and I have been working together for over 14 years now, and I think we have learned a ton from each other–most importantly patience and how to find some humor in our sometimes intense work life. Karina has been with the group a couple of years and she is adapting well to our styles.
Data Weekly Meeting
Another standing weekly touch base with another segment of my team–the data management team. Yvette [Sanchez, Data Management Specialist], Araceli [Gasca, Data Management Specialist], and I meet to discuss open projects and issues. If we are done early, we also share stories about our pets or talk about current events. For example, we had a chat about teas...we were wondering why there's Bedtime tea downstairs if we're at work. This is the time for the team to regroup. It was a productive meeting since we knocked out all the non-urgent questions/issues out of the way and the team updated me on the trends hitting their desk. I look forward to this meeting because it's a little bit of a breather.
Meeting with MX IT Manager
And yet another weekly touch base, this time with Angel Bejarano (Mexico IT Manager), to discuss pending issues that require my attention. This week we discussed his progress on WiFi infrastructure. He's changing it so that they have better control and can manage the bandwidth. We also check in on his technicians since I read through weekly summary reports, and follow up on things that stand out.
Angel has been an important part of the IT operation in Mexico by creating a young group of IT technicians that service our MX operation. He has also brought much needed technology to the floor.
Quick TB with Ana
Ana Diaz, our Logistics Manager (US), is working on onboarding a new carrier for San Diego, CA to Houston, TX, so I casually drop by her desk to provide feedback regarding moving forward with the change. Before I give the thumbs up, I ask the typical questions when onboarding a carrier, like how much money are we saving. 🙂
Ana holds down the fort for US Logistics–we’ve been working together since 2005. She knows what to do.
Lunchtime! We had Rascal’s today. I usually try to keep it light for lunch so I had a chicken salad, but some days are reserved for grubby lunches like Chipotle or pizza. I try to hangout as much as I can downstairs and eat lunch with some other members of leadership, but sometimes that noon hour is the only time vendors or Mexico can jump on a call (MX has earlier lunch times).
Lunch with coworkers is definitely time to talk about random topics, to go down Google rabbit holes, and to catch a few dad jokes at the lunch table.
TB with Johnny
I typically jump on calls with Johnny [Valle, COO] to talk about logistics or new IT needs in Mexico, but we don’t have a set recurring touch base. Since we’ve worked together on so many operational projects in the past, sometimes he just asks for my opinion on an initiative he’s spearheading.
Our monthly leadership meeting to get company-wide updates from leaders on projects that impact the whole organization (or a large percent) are usually held in the AMs, but it does get shuffled around a bit to accommodate our competing schedules. This meeting is informative, and gives the leaders an opportunity to bring up any major issues affecting our departments. I updated the group on IT’s current major projects like Power BI and 1.0 (Estimated Ship Date).
This meeting is usually quite lengthy, at least two hours long, so shout out to James [Greathouse, VP/GM] for the bathroom breaks. They're appreciated!
TB with Randy
The second of two quick meetings, back-to-back. I briefly met with Randy [Barbera, CFO] and discussed our parking lot lease and options with DWP. (The real purpose for the meeting was to test drive his new sofa, made by our very own craftspeople.)
In the last few months, we’ve been working with Juan C. [Valle, Manager of Inventory & Parts] to walk our new-ish inventory teams in Mexico through system functionality and answer any questions they might have. I like to work with the teams in this way (having individual meetings with the department) because we are able to discover their needs and show functionality in the system that might apply to that requirement. Usually we end up providing a custom solution, but it is always better to have a long discussion/planning before we begin developing system tools.
Another weekly touch base that I recently started joining. It’s a B2B technical meeting with AdVic, a Salesforce implementation company (editor’s note: the meeting is led by a ThreeKit implementation company, Elementals, who is building out our web-based Design Lab experience). This meeting is usually very quick (under 15 minutes!) and focused on business needs/front-end type questions, which Vicky [Law, Director of Digital Marketing] and her team usually handle. I join to answer or ask questions pertaining to data integration and migration.
Coffee in hand (K-cup please), I bypass my office and go straight to the David Harrow room, as I usually get in around 8 am. No time to waste–we’re given a five minute grace period for meetings, and if you arrive after that, you’ll get colorful commentary on your lateness.
This meeting wasn’t scheduled by me, hence the early call time. “Kitting,” which is the packaging of parts of/groups of product into one parent SKU went from a nice-to-have-in-the-future to now-a-requirement, and we were exploring what that meant in terms of impact. This addition has far-reaching implications and affects a lot of departments, which is why the heads of Sales, Product Development, Marketing, Digital Marketing, Quality Assurance, Customer Service, and Scheduling (and IT, of course, and the CEO), were present.
We ended the meeting with next steps: for PD and Sales to provide a model so that we (IT) can mock-up a sample, starting with Beds and Pillow Sets.
JL is constantly changing, and during the meeting, I was thinking that our configurator (CPQ), a flexible tool that we acquired with our ERP implementation, allows us to handle those changes. This feels good.
Quick TB with Lisa
As the ThreeKit meeting ended early (as usual), I pop over for a quick chat with Lisa, to talk about the backup power supply in HQ. This is important as power outages and brown outs are common, and becoming increasingly common, in the summer (yes, I know we’re in November, I’m planning ahead for Summer 2023). Hotter summers means more strain on the power grid.
Also, where my Starbucks K-cups, Lisa?
What's the story behind that "Busy" Flag?
I usually keep the door closed when I’m in the office, and not just when I’m having a meeting. So people used to just walk in even when I’m in the middle of a conversation. Sometimes I'll tell people I’m in a meeting, and they just look at me like I’m crazy–just because I’m not talking at the moment doesn’t mean I’m not listening or paying attention to the call, but they don’t see my lips moving, so they assume I’m free.
At some point, I thought, ok, I need some way to communicate that I’m busy before people come strolling in, and so I started looking for something on Amazon.
I came across this “Busy” flag, and thought, this looks like the best $6.97 I’m ever going to spend in my life.
Now all I have to do is just point at the flag and people will do the universal hand gesture for “I’ll come back later,” and everyone’s happy.