Today we continue our latest blog series offering a peek into the daily lives of IQMS’ directors. From human resources to testing and training to development, meet the key department leaders who are molding our company’s future and continually advancing the EnterpriseIQ ERP and MES software.
Meet Elizabeth Alflen, Director of Administration and Human Resources, who has helped guide IQMS’ growth and development for the past 16 years.
Can you share any exciting upcoming projects that are happening in your department and with the company?
Obviously our growth is the big story. We’ve got a new building going up right now. We started planning that two years ago and it should be completed in November. In conjunction with that, we made a five and ten year projection at that time and two years into it, we’re ahead of our projections for this point in time. So we will probably start planning a third building within the next year.
Additionally, we are hiring as fast as we can (IQMS has doubled its headcount in the past 2.5 years), so we will be full up in our current building before we get a chance to expand into the second building. We made our future projections department by department, so anticipating the needs of where we are going to be is a big project. For instance, development and testing go hand in hand, so they both need to grow concurrently. We are seeing that track pretty well. Sales and marketing are tracking right on the money. As for support and implementation – we are hiring literally as fast as we can because we are developing those individuals into greater potential. So it’s been very challenging.
What inspires you, Liz, on a daily basis?
For me, it’s a positive, can do attitude. I like to come in with that every day and I like everyone in my department to follow suit. I encourage everyone to smile regularly and to say yes instead of no. It is easy to get bogged down with reading the daily emails and having the conversations, but what we’re doing is important. We provide head of household jobs, we provide challenging work and through doing that, we are helping manufacturing companies improve their processes every day by giving them the tools to succeed so that they’re competitive on a worldwide basis.
One of my favorite quotes is: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
This quote encourages me to evaluate the day one day at a time because tomorrow you get to start all over again.
After 16 years with the company, are there any milestones that are particularly memorable?
Moving into our current building was a very big deal. It was the first time we had owned our own property, built our own building and moved out of leased space. It was very exciting. It snowed on moving day. It was March 13th. It never snows in Paso Robles and it snowed that day.
And then there are the continual milestones. Our 20th anniversary was just amazing, plus lots of frequent milestones now: Every time we have a record month or a record year. It’s still exciting. And that’s what’s kept me here for 16 years.
With all of the rapid hiring that your department has been facilitating recently, do you have any tips to share with prospective applicants?
I try to tell everyone this: Be able to articulate what you have to offer. That includes your technology skills and your problem solving skills. You also need to be willing to learn new things. I am always interested to learn in interviews: “What have you aspired to and achieved? What have you learned that you are then able to apply in your life in the last few years?” When my mother got her bachelor’s degree at age 77 and her master’s degree at age 82 (she just got an iPad this past weekend), I realized that if my mother can be achieving her goals and learning new things and excelling, then I can expect that of anyone here as well.
On a larger scale, are there any trends related to your department or the manufacturing industry as a whole that you are experiencing?
Internally, it is the changing workforce. We have to continue to build, adapt and address both incoming employees and existing employees and their needs. As far as manufacturing goes, manufacturing is not going away, so we are here to continue to develop tools to help manufacturers worldwide in their success.
I always enjoy talking with the implementation candidates in interviews about what they are seeing out in the field. Their stories are very interesting, especially about manufacturers in the Midwest and how business and the product lines have changed. The fact that our customers (by and large) are so successful, to me, is so indicative that either they are smarter than their competitors or they are using better tools. Because I hear a lot of sad stories during the implementation interviews and we are happy to be able to come in and say, “Well, the good news is, we can help you. We’ve got the best product line.” A lot of people ask me in interviews: So you’ve been at IQMS 16 years, what keeps you there? It is primarily the product line and the well run company.