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Interview with Newly Published Author Bobby Hull
Bobby Hull shares his thoughts about his new book Manufacturing Best Practices and how it can help the
manufacturing industry with Authorline.
Authorline (AL): To start off with, why did you write this book and how can it help the manufacturing industry?
Bobby Hull (BH)
To be quite honest, I wrote this book because SAS Press approached me about two years ago and asked if I would be interested. My company had just completed a business intelligence (BI) implementation,
which was showcased by SAS. Being a small manufacturing company still surviving in the South, the folks at SAS wondered what we were doing differently that perhaps others could benefit from. I have
known for a long time that it was our attitude toward managing our business that made the difference and allowed us to survive. There were techniques and philosophies that were birthed from years of
experimentation with known systems like Statistical Process Control and ISO 9000, just to name a couple. These experiments and a lot of scars from mistakes along the way became the foundation for a
very robust set of best practices. I always reasoned that these business rules were universal and could be used in any manufacturing operation. But how could we get the word out? When SAS approached
me to write the book, the doors were flung open.
My hope is that everyone who reads this book will understand that there is no one perfect solution to modern manufacturing problems. You can't install the pages of this book as the newest "system."
Conversely, what the book does is asks you to explore all the facets of manufacturing, consider your current ways of doing business, and be willing to embrace change. Then, the book includes
suggestions for those changes.
(AL): What are some of the unique problems the manufacturing industry is currently facing?
: By far the most imposing issue today is doing "more with less." I hear it all the time. Companies are getting leaner, but workloads are the same or growing. We have
to learn how to work smarter, not harder. So, how do you maximize and optimize to run your operation more efficiently and profitably? Once again, you must examine everything you do and WHY you do it.
Flexibility to change is the key. We can't do things the way we always have; it just does not work anymore.
The world is moving at a faster pace today than at any time in mankind's existence. Products are outdated almost as soon as they hit the marketplace. So we have to learn how to make quick
adaptations if we are to survive. Those who can evolve will be the ones who come out on top.
(AL): Who will benefit from your new guide?
(BH): The book was written with all levels of management in mind, from the CEO to the line manager. There must be a cohesive clearly set goal for a company,
and there must be communication and feedback both up and down the chain of command. There must also be a set of practices that are blessed from top management and implemented on the shop floor.
My book can help guide all parties to work together to build this common set of practices.
(AL): How does SAS support the manufacturing industry?
: The SAS Business Intelligence solutions are the eyes through which we can see the results of our actions. The software makes the invisible visible. Knowledge is power,
and you should never make an uninformed decision. SAS software allows you to make intelligent decisions based on facts.
That being said, SAS also supports manufacturing with projects like this book project. Understand, SAS did not ask me to write a book praising its products. This book is not a 200+ page commercial.
As a matter of fact, SAS is mentioned maybe twice in the entire work. No, SAS recognized that there is a need not only for software but for assisting business leaders with ALL the tools they may
need to compete in today's economy. This book is just one of many resources for accomplishing that.
(AL): What have you most enjoyed about the writing and publishing experience?
(BH): The challenge of the project itself. I would be lying if I said it was enjoyable . . . interesting may be a better word. Being a new author, I had NO idea if I would
be able to make the word count in my contract, nor if I could do that on a schedule. So, these unknowns were the stuff of sleepless nights and many anxious moments. But now that it is done, I have to
say it was an incredible personal growth opportunity. To push my limits and succeed made it worthwhile. I did enjoy learning how the publishing process works, and I am grateful to my SAS editor,
Stacey Hamilton, for her tremendous patience and rock-solid guidance when I was less than confident!
(AL): Tell our readers a little about you---your hobbies, career, favorite books.
: I am just a good-old Southern boy, born and raised in South-side Virginia. I was fortunate to work my way from the shop floor to where I am today. This happened
only because I've had some very wonderful people to work with over the years. These folks opened many doors for me that otherwise would have remained closed. I've always believed you can't go wrong
by doing the right things. I believe in a strong work ethic and pride in a job well done. I do not think these ideals are separate from today's workplace, but rather its salvation. So I tend to be a
bit evangelistic about these ideas. I've been an inspector, lab tech, lab manager, quality engineer, and now, systems analyst.
As for hobbies, I enjoy riding my motorcycles, hiking in the Southwest desert, a glass of good wine, and deep conversation with friends. Artistically, I enjoy playing and writing new music
for the keyboard and designing / creating stained glass art.
I don't read as much as I used to due to time, and I rarely read for pleasure. I want a book to teach me something. As an ordained priest, I enjoy the study of belief systems, philosophy,
and psychology. I want to read something that helps me be able to help others when needed, for example a book like "A Course in Miracles," or anything by Kahlil Gibran.
I consider myself a simple guy who is extremely curious and has lots of interests. My curiosity now is what new adventure this book will bring my way!
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