Enabling efficiency: How a disciplined Operation Lead became a Power Apps champion
A successful career in manufacturing hasn’t offered Loretta a lot of experience with technology. It has, however, given her a unique perspective on how to maximize efficiency. She knew, for example, that if her co-workers at the paper mill had easy access to important information, they could solve many issues on their own and get back up and running more quickly. And an efficient way to provide that information would be through an app. Despite her lack of tech expertise, Loretta figured that, with Power Apps, she could just jump in and figure it out. And she was right.
An essential part of Loretta’s role at the paper mill is to identify gaps within the operations process at her paper mill. She recognized that when a piece of equipment had an issue, operators would have to call someone else to come fix it for them—and that meant waiting. In manufacturing, waiting can be extremely costly. Loretta knew that many of the problems that occurred were relatively minor and could be repaired by the operators themselves in minutes. All she needed to do was find a way to give them quick access to the information they’d need to be able to do it on their own.
Loretta knew her problem had a technical solution. But her lack of experience with technology made her question whether or not she could develop a tool on her own. Like a lot of people, she was intimidated by the idea. But she opened up Power Apps and started exploring what she could do with it. With some help from online videos and the Power Apps community, she was quickly on her way and before she knew it, she’d built her first app. Several team members contributed to the app, by developing the “How to Videos” and “Procedures” that she connected to the app.
Her advice to others: “Don’t be afraid of it and just start.”
“I’m able to provide people with solutions, to their equipment issues, right in their back pocket”
With Loretta’s app, equipment operators no longer have to wait for someone else to handle equipment issues. When they encounter a problem, all they need to do is open the app for a detailed overview of their issue and potential fixes, step-by-step instructions, and how-to videos. Now, issues that used to bring the mill to a halt for hours can be handled in minutes—an important benefit considering a mill that’s not running costs the company thousands of dollars per hour of downtime.
Word of Loretta’s app quickly spread through her company and soon other mills wanted to add it to their processes. It’s now in operation in additional US mills and working to onboard others. And it’s not just her app itself. People across her organization seek out her expertise. She has held training sessions for co-workers looking to take advantage of Power Apps for their solutions. During her classes, Loretta demonstrates that it’s less about knowing the technology and more about understanding the problem. Since Loretta first started exploring what she could do with it, 20 plus additional apps have been created by co-workers at her mill alone.
Becoming a Power Apps champion
Loretta’s first job in the paper industry was as a pipe welder. As she advanced her career and took on new responsibilities, tools like Power Apps have helped her realize her vision, share her knowledge, and contribute to the success of her co-workers.
Learn more about Microsoft Power Apps and how you can start working with it today.