GPI 380 – Accumulate a list of ideas, hire an intern and pick one to finish to save money each month.

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Many employees are hired to do a job. Sometimes those same employees are then subsequently asked to complete a project only to fail because of other assigned priorities. Other crises intervene, the important new project lags, stops or is delayed for a later day.  This is the wrong approach to get money saving cost cutting one time tasks completed. Hire an intern.

Many projects, once completed, pay off in many ways. Sometimes it is best to hire someone temporarily just to accomplish one specific task.  This might be just the right opportunity for a temporary intern.  Choose a task your company needs done and select an appropriate student from a local college. There are literally thousands looking to perform this duty for a willing school so call them. Once you pick your intern, do not give them lots of other things to do which cause delay of the original goal. Allow them to focus on one of the following ideas and then see the benefits.

Intern Assignment Ideas

  • Equipment: Inventory all company equipment noting make, model, year built, serial number and any other pertinent data about each piece. Draw a layout to locate each within the company facilities. Note 800 service numbers or contact information on these machines. Open them up and search for other information to note unique for the machine.
  • Equipment critical parts: Research and document vital equipment parts by machine.  Note telephone and vendor service names and contact information and post on each applicable machine in protected plastic sleeves for easy reference in case of breakdown. This will allow faster notice for service in the case of downtimes.  If you prefer, assemble a manual easily referenced and regularly updated to be used by maintenance and service personnel.
  • Post part info on machines: Research all critical part numbers for each piece of machinery and post with the machine with telephone numbers, service numbers, etc.
  • Fixed asset tags: Inventory all company assets and tag each item.  Create plant grid layout in order to locate each item (i.e. Building A:  aisle #1, machine location 3, aisle #4, machine location 11).
  • Asset loans: Tie all company assets back to bank loan numbers and amounts in order to know immediately when items have open balances.
  • Lost sales from unused machines: Track all unused machine time and convert it into lost absorption or lost sales.  Track, report and post this every day to put pressure on sales to fill up your machinery.  (i.e. plant production = 87% of full capacity or $40K of lost sales per day).
  • Use SIC Codes to find new sales: Research new potential customers by tracking the SIC codes of your current customers. The same or similar SIC codes may point to more sales possibilities.
  • New programs: Research the viability of a new program, campaign, or initiative; compile and present statistics.
  • Troublesome projects: Complete a backburner project that has been bogging down permanent staff.
  • Social media campaigns: Create a proposal on a potential social media strategy, evaluate various social media platforms, or come up with suggestions for how your current social media strategy might be improved.
  • Website critiques (pros/cons): Critique your company’s website from a user perspective; brainstorm ideas for boosting usability.
  • Website usefulness (what is missing?): Poll customers on usefulness of company website and gather suggestions as to desirable changes that can be made or altered to make the site more useful.
  • Industry blogs: Research, identify and follow the most influential blogs in your industry. Follow them and provide weekly reports of the best ideas, innovations, new equipment, new products introduced.
  • News articles and developments: Scan industry media for news items; provide regularly scheduled updates.
  • Observe sales meetings: Accompany employees to client, sales, or other outside meetings; have them take an observer role, but ask for their input and ideas (and answer any questions) after you’ve left.
  • IT evaluation: Evaluate some area of IT functionality (for tech-savvy interns); ask if they see a way to improve efficiency, streamline programs, or cut costs.
  • Assign a daily task/duty: Take responsibility for some regular task. Even if it’s as simple as taking, and placing, the weekly supply order, it will demonstrate follow-through and an ability to take ownership. Calculate and chart daily sales, daily returns, items manufactured, sold or made.  Keep track and publish earned incentives, oil, gas, lumber prices, hog futures, new customers, product margins (best to worst), store sales (highest to lowest), best and worst sales personnel, office supply usage or scrap generation or revenue.
  • Prepare a budget: It does not have to be the corporate budget. Select a department, source of revenue, particular store or branch or troublesome division to analyze and dissect.
  • Graphs/visuals: Create support materials, such as charts, graphs, or other visuals.
  • Events/meetings: Plan and coordinate an event or meeting.
  • Marketing plan: Generate a marketing plan, financial forecast, or other report. Start with demographics, price points, desirable profit margins, etc.
  • Videos: Produce a video or slide presentation.
  • Customer AP Contacts: Create a list of all customer personnel who are in charge of paying your company.  Get names, telephone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses, fax numbers.
  • Product studies: Perform a study or survey; analyze and present results. (i.e. worst profit margin products, slowest selling items, least desirable colors or finishes, worst return rates to customer service, etc.)
  • Customer polls: Ask 1,000 customers what they use your product for and document all of these various uses.
  • Employee manuals: Compile employee manuals or develop process directions for tasks with high employee turnover. Survey workers to see what is missing or needed for inclusion in the next updated version.
  • Low cost source alternatives: Source goods or search for lower-cost sources for high-volume materials. Identify alternative vendors through market research.
  • Purchasing manual: Assemble a purchasing manual (database) of all the goods and services purchased. Research all vendors’ names, contact names, telephone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses and a 30-50-character text box or comment indicating anything unique about ordering or how to order to gain lowest prices.
  • Database cleaning: Clean up a database (customer list, vendors paid, full time employees, accounts payable files, machine, equipment, vehicle or service files, maintenance lists, oil change mile suggestions and due dates and times for in-use company cars and trucks, dates for license plates renewals, amounts, locations and coverage levels for insurance).
  • AP Liaison: Serve as a liaison between the company and clients or vendors (freeing up staff members to communicate on only more crucial issues).
  • Train interns: Help screen and train replacement interns prior to departure.
  • Worst products/services: Have a financial analyst intern investigate the top ten worst performing products and then analyze the companies or buyers to see similarities or common points or features.  Do the same for top performing products in order to understand who is buying them and to identify more potential customers.

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