Upon nearing completion of my Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics at SFU, I faced a big challenge. I didn’t like grinding data numbers or research; I preferred interacting with people and working alongside the operations. I didn’t exactly match the typical statistician profile. So, while still studying at SFU, I began my career in a small business/personal financial consultancy firm that analyzes small medium sized businesses. What I learned there is that many corporations, including larger enterprises, use statistics incorrectly. By the end of this position, I not only learned that statistics can be applied in research or financial settings, but also in many types of industries.
Soon after, I joined a metal manufacturing company, On Hing Metal, based in Hong Kong and Dong Guan, China, as a quality engineer. Even though I didn’t have knowledge of metal die-casting, I knew about statistical quality control. My position involved applying statistics to measure performance and quality, using systematic and random sampling and set decision rules to determine which production batches were acceptable and which were not. I developed an entirely new process for measuring and collecting data for the sequences of manufacturing activities at the plant in order to gage manufacturing output and ensure consistent quality.
Within 3 years, my quality control design had increased the plant’s efficiency by almost 25%, and I was promoted to project manager. I was ecstatic, and rigorously pursued two new projects:
- Using data from a brand new manufacturing process to derive meaningful metrics, which led to experimentation with different types of metal fabrication processes and cost calculations. The data analysis and interpretation landed the company a few large business accounts, resulting in a significant revenue increase.
- Designing formal questionnaires and using cognitive methods to understand working conditions and improve productivity in the workplace.
As a result of my work and the rapid expansions at On Hing Metal, in 2013 I was promoted to General Manager, overseeing manufacturing and operations. This propelled me to create many new divisions; one that I am particularly proud of is the CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) team, which uses data to program the machines to automatically adjust the specifications and ensure a consistent manufacturing process. Most recently, I created a business unit to monitor our new retail luxury gift line, Next Big Thing. By collecting data from social media and search engines, we can optimize our online advertising budget and determine which target market we should be focusing our efforts on.
During my time in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, the friendly professors and helpful TAs not only taught me technical knowledge that prepared me for my career, but also how to communicate my statistical findings in a well constructed manner to a larger audience. I never imagined that statistics could be applied to so many fields, and even though I never ended up with a stereotypical statistics job, I am very glad I decided to pursue a degree in Statistics.