I was taking an afternoon nap one Saturday as my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number but, being a tad groggy from my nap, I answered. It was the maintenance technicians from Edesia, a company located in Rhode Island. They manufacture foods with high caloric and nutritional densities and provide that food to hungry people around the world. Without realizing what I was doing, in about 30 minutes, I had saved the lives of 1,500 children.
Earlier that week my regional manager and I attended a meet and greet session with the primary stake holders at Edesia. We listened to their story as they explained their needs. They were looking to upgrade to a new facility and asked us to provide quotes on what it would take to relocate their current control system to a new location. But the phone call was not about the upgrade at all!
That Saturday afternoon, the technicians explained that they were having some trouble communicating with a remote I/O module and as a result, their manufacturing line was down. Their system was designed by a company in France, so normally when they have trouble like this they have to send a request to France, wait for them to get to work and reply. It could take days to get a resolution. So they asked if there would be something I could do to help. They understood we didn’t have a contract nor had they ever placed an order with us, but they had orders to fulfill and couldn’t wait days to get the system up and running again.
I explained how to install a small application that would grant me remote access into their laptop so I could take a look. It took me about 30 minutes, but I was able to fix the problem remotely and got their line up and running again.
From my perspective, it didn’t really seem like a big deal, only 30 minutes of my time. I didn’t really think much of it afterwards. That is until the following Monday when I received a thank you email from the Factory Director. He was very grateful for my help, but also explained that had they not been able to get their manufacturing line up and running, they would have not been able to produce 1,700 cases of product. He continued to explain that one box of 150 packets, treats one child, and has a proven life save rate of over 90%. So that 30 minutes of my time to help those technicians bring their system on-line literally saved the lives of 1,500 children.
I would never have had this experience if it was not for the decision I made back in April of 2013 to join the Hallam-ICS family. Later we ended up providing Edesia with a full blown plant-wide batch process control system, and they were very excited when they saw how well it worked.
I am encouraged by the prospects of our future, and grateful for the support of all the wonderful people I get to work with each and every day.