Joey Broderick, Production Manager
In our series profiling the people of Ocean Optics, we introduce Joey Broderick, production manager and key member of the company’s Operations team. Joey began his career at Ocean Optics as a shipping clerk and has risen steadily through the ranks to his current leadership role. He is based at our manufacturing facility in Winter Park, Fla.
Q: As production manager for Ocean Optics, what do your responsibilities entail?
Joey Broderick (JB): I am one half of the production management team. My teams consist of the groups that build spectrometers, from the optical bench assembly to final calibration. My main responsibilities are to ensure that product is flowing on the production floor and to make sure we meet safety and quality assurance standards, customer deadlines and ship dates. Also, I assist in efforts to reduce inventory and other costs, and keep an eye out for process improvements where we can.
Q: How did your background prepare you for this work?
JB: I was never involved in optics previously. Really, I just got lucky when I was hired here. I had worked mostly warehouse gigs and always seemed to work myself into a leadership position at those places, whether that was leading groups of people or being inventory controller. So, when I started at Ocean Optics as the shipping clerk, I earned opportunities through hard work and accountability.
Q: What do you like most about working with Ocean Optics?
JB: I like the challenge and the people that rise together to meet those challenges. I’ve been here almost 12 years and can honestly say that when we are all in “go” mode, I still get excited and thrilled at what we end up accomplishing together. It can really be quite astonishing.
Q: What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on at the company?
JB: The secret ones. Ha! No. I wouldn’t say I have a specific favorite. I like the pressure of it all: When there are tight deadlines to be met and, together, the team gets it done. Exceeding a customer’s delivery expectation and giving them a solution to a real-world problem they may be facing. Those are the moments I enjoy most. Knowing that we can do anything when we pull together for a common interest.
Q: The Operations side of Ocean Optics – Production and Logistics – has probably changed quite a bit since you started. How have these changes benefited customers?
JB: Implementing SQDC (Safety, Quality, Delivery and Cost) has been exponentially impactful not only to our customers but also to identifying and fixing areas of concern within our own processes. This has helped us to identify potential safety and quality concerns and address them; allowed us to focus on delivery to meet customers’ expected ship dates; and allowed us to look at costs, overall. Logistically, we have grown into this global network of people communicating regularly to help prioritize and continue to meet customer expectations. I still remember helping coordinate everything in the shipping department to get our Shanghai (China) facility off the ground.
Q: What is the biggest challenge of maintaining an efficient and productive operation?
JB: Keeping people engaged and making them feel like what they do matters, because it does.
Q: So, when you’re evaluating candidates to be part of the production team, what qualities are most important?
JB: Attitude and work ethic are key for me. I feel like most people can learn most things, but to introduce a highly qualified candidate with a poor attitude or poor work ethic into a fully functioning, cohesive team, could prove disastrous for morale and productivity.
Q: What do you think would surprise customers most about what goes on behind the scenes in production?
JB: I think our customers would be surprised at how modestly sized we are knowing how quickly we can turn things. And by the amount of work we can crank out of here on any given day, month, or year, and that we have the capabilities and capacity to do even more. That we are much like an extended family that can laugh and joke (or argue our differences) — and still come together at the end of it all because we are a team of committed individuals who just want what is best for ourselves and our coworkers.
Q: Production environments can be very hectic, fast-paced and even stressful. What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day at work?
JB: I just try not to take it home with me. Give it all I can while I am here and let it go when I leave. Disclaimer: This method is NOT guaranteed.
Q: What’s the most unusual request you ever got from a customer?
JB: I think we get our most unusual requests from the sales guys. Nothing too crazy that we can’t work through together, though.
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