At Nations Photo Lab, our production team works tirelessly day in and day out to make your memories come to life. I (virtually) sat down with three leaders on our production floor to chat with them about their NPL work life and their team. (By the way, when I asked them if they could describe their team in one word, all three of them said dedicated!)
Meet Jenny Zeigler:
I currently oversee processes for the production floor. The main focus at the start of this role was around digital intake of customers’ orders and the interactions it has throughout the production process.
I’ve worked with the company for more than 10 years, and I started as a part-time production associate. After several months, I transitioned to a full-time schedule. I have worked in both the print lab and color corrections departments at the associate level. After several years, I became a supervisor – and, then, manager – of several departments.
Every advancement within the company that I have had coincided with an opportunity to better the experience for our customers. Bringing the production, marketing, and IT teams together within our company allows us to make bolder changes that influence our ability to amaze our customers.
Taking a hands-on approach in gathering knowledge around the processes we have is the best way to learn where true bottlenecks in the process are.
[My motivation at work is] knowing the prior years of experience of working directly on the production floor. I can reference how a process affects all levels of the product manufacturing process within our company. That way the process achieves total success!
A recent win: We are currently deploying a large project that will allow us to be more successful for our customers – updating our processes for order intake, which should, in turn, dramatically impact turnaround times on our products!
Meet Tina Labonte:
My current role is the Production Manager. On a daily basis, I look at volumes in all departments, then coordinate with the production leadership team to ship the orders in a timely and efficient manner while maintaining good quality.
When I started at NPL, I was hired into the dye sub department as the supervisor, and then I was asked to oversee the mounting and staging departments as well.
Every moment at NPL is different. There are always moving pieces – always different and their own unique challenge. I enjoy what I do at NPL; the people here are my second family.
My motivation is the teams I work with, and always making sure that they have what they need to be successful. I like the daily challenge of exceeding our customer’s expectations.
I am constantly in communication with the department supervisors on the floor, to ensure we are all on the same page so we can be successful as a team. There are days where I am creating our products or invoicing to achieve individual department daily goals. I believe in personally setting the example of my expectation of each member of our team.
A recent win: Personally, I feel that we have broken down the “departmental barriers” that were originally how the production floor functioned. Working with the team, I wanted to instill the cross departmental mentality that every product meets the turnaround time and quality expectations – regardless of the “home department” where a production associate may have started with the company.
Meet Jenn Blaisdell:
I am currently the Production Manager of our Wall Decor and wood-based products. I oversee the production from start to finish to ensure all of our customers’ gorgeous prints are handled with care and make it to their walls in a timely fashion. I work closely with the production team regularly to ensure there are no issues with production. If there is, I work with the team to make a plan to get it taken care of asap. I also work with the team on continuous improvement efforts, because we can always be better at everything we do.
I graduated college with a BFA in Photography, so NPL was my first “adult” job. I started as a seasonal production associate in the quality control department, and within the first few days of working there, I moved into the mounting and framing departments based on my skills from college. From there, I jumped in wherever needed and worked my way up to Production Manager.
This journey has absolutely kept me on my toes. I am learning about manufacturing practices and techniques daily while utilizing my passion for the arts.
[I’m motivated by] the constant creativity of our customers and my team. I have told every employee that I’ve met that they should leave work inspired by the artwork they see everyday and to channel that energy into creating the best photo products and processes.
There are days when you will pour your blood, sweat, and tears into ensuring that goals, deadlines, and tasks are met, but the adrenaline rush you feel when you shipped that final holiday order makes it all worth it!
A recent win: We improved our cube ornament for better quality results!