Before graduating from Sam Houston State University, Andres Valdez hadn’t thought of a career in manufacturing. A business major in management information systems, Valdez started out in manufacturing working for Global Shop Solutions (The Woodlands, TX), a developer of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, where he currently is a service consultant helping customers understand how to automate and improve their manufacturing processes.
“Creative problem solvers don’t come along every day. Fortunately for Global Shop Solutions, Andres Valdez is one of them. When he started work for us in January of 2013, it didn’t take long to realize we had a ‘keeper,’” said Adam Grabowski, Global Shop Solutions director of marketing, in Valdez’ nomination. “Over the last three years as one of our top service consultants, he has touched the production line of most of the 2000 manufacturing facilities our ERP software supports, helping resolve problems and streamline their manufacturing processes.”
Working with up to 20 customers a day, Valdez helps users expand their understanding of and fluency with the ERP software, Grabowski added. “Using our Global Application Builder [GAB], which is our software development toolkit and a proprietary programming language, he also assists customers in creating custom programs to further automate and improve their production processes.”
Using his programming skills and manufacturing experience, Valdez is able to help companies in any manufacturing mode, including mixed mode, make to stock, make to order, engineer to order, and more, Grabowski noted. “More important, when the standard solution is not enough to resolve a customer issue, he has the ability to recommend and develop new solutions that achieve the customer’s desired outcome,” he added. “Andres’ personal motto is, ‘There’s always a way to do what the customer needs; my job is to figure out how to do it.’”
Taking on the challenge of entering a completely new field was a good experience, Valdez recalled. “Coming out of college, I was a MIS major and my knowledge was in servers, programming and system analysis. We did a few projects using SAP and learning how a company would use SAP to build a product and work it from quote to cash,” Valdez said. “This was a very new and interesting thing to me, to learn the process of how something is being built and seeing all the moving parts. That caught my interest. When I was hired by Global Shop they explained there was a lot to learn, and since I knew the technical side they started me in manufacturing, and this is how I got into it.”
When he graduated, Valdez thought he’d be working with databases, servers and troubleshooting PCs. “Turns out I still do some of that, along with the experience of learning manufacturing. I still work on the things I went to school for and I also learn the manufacturing side as well,” Valdez said. “One piece of advice is to never give up the opportunity to learn something new, because it could never hurt. I took a step out of the box to learn something new and now customers listen to me for advice, and I’m glad I took that step. There are so many opportunities in the manufacturing markets and knowing what I know now is great.
“My biggest challenge was actually learning the terms and what certain things were,” Valdez recalled. “Like I said before, manufacturing was not my background coming out of school. I came to Global Shop and I learned a lot about manufacturing. I hope to continue to learn more as well since things are changing all the time.”
This article was first published in the July 2016 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Read all of the 2016 30 Under 30 Profiles as a PDF.