For Cassie Johnson, there’s no sense buying nice furniture or signing a long-term lease for the next few years. Since joining the global technology company ABB right out of college in January 2021, she’s held positions in three different states, and later this year, she’ll move on to yet another location.
After that, Johnson will be a candidate for any number of positions in operations at ABB, a Fortune 500 company with about 105,000 employees in 100 countries. Where she ultimately ends up is anyone’s guess, but it’s a good bet that she’ll be improving manufacturing processes and supply chain operations for ABB, which makes a wide range of industrial machinery, including robotics, process-automation solutions, electrification systems and electric motors.
Johnson, 24, is taking part in ABB’s Discovery Program, in which new hires rotate through three different areas of the business, spending eight months in each role, before landing a permanent job. She started out as an intern in Plano, TX, helping to update much of the company’s documentation following a series of mergers and acquisitions, before beginning that two-year program.
For her first rotation, she went to Richmond, VA, where ABB designs, engineers and manufactures powerquality and surge-protection equipment that can be digitally monitored 24/7. The equipment is used by data centers, hospitals, manufacturing plants and utilities to protect key investments like servers, MRI machines and production lines from electrical failures.
Johnson used SAP software to develop an inventory system for the batteries used in production. Prior to that, the company had to scrap a number of batteries that had sat in storage too long, but her batch-management system ensures that batteries are used on a “first-expired, first-out” basis, or FEFO, she said.
In March, Johnson began her second rotation in Mebane, NC, where ABB manufactures electrification equipment such as electric-vehicle infrastructure, solar inverters and modular substations. She’s developing a Kanban system, or a scheduling system for lean manufacturing. Assembly workers will have two bins for each component needed for production, and one when bin is empty, ABB’s procurement specialists will get an automated message instructing them to purchase more parts.