UTPA Report: Zebra Technologies

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Monday, December 16, 2013 - 9:00am

A local manufacturing company and UTPA have joined forces to improve the way they do business. And as Roxanne Lerma tells us, Pan American students benefit in the process.

UTPA senior Paloma Velasquez says you can’t put a price on this type of schooling. Velasquez gets to leave class and get actual hands on work experience at Zebra Technologies in McAllen, “It’s a great experience we’re learning a lot because you can actually apply what you learn in school.”

Companies like Zebra go through training with TMAC or the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center, part of UTPA’s College of Engineering and Computer Science to make them more productive and ultra competitive. The University recently recognized the labeling company’s commitment to growing manufacturing in South Texas.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, “Zebra Technologies is a worldwide company with 2500 employees worldwide and so for us it is great to have this type of company and this type of technology for our students to get firsthand knowledge of how it operates and works.”

Lean Six Sigma is a set of management techniques, and tools to improve the overall manufacturing process. Pan Am students use the concepts to streamline and make the company more efficient.

Dr. Miguel Gonzalez, UTPA Dean of Engineering & Computer Science, “Eliminating that waste basically in the ends hits them at the bottom line and it makes them much more competitive and makes their ability to meet the customer needs in a much more competitive way.”

Velasquez has utilized simple tricks like putting up pictures of tools so employees know exactly where they go. It saves the company time and money. Employees say having the young engineers-in-training on staff has improved their production levels.

Oscar Cedillo, Plant Manager, “It’s excellent for us Zebra technologies to receive this kind of support from the engineers and from UTPA.”

Henry Oh, the TMAC director, is hopeful other local manufacturers will give students the chance to showcase their talents on the production floor before actually joining the workforce.

Henry Oh, TMAC Director, “I hope all the companies in the Valley will tap into the resources available from UTPA and also from TMAC to help them to grow.”

Velasquez says the on-the-job training, beats learning from a school book, “I’m very thankful to UTPA and with Zebra for giving us students an opportunity to because in all the jobs they ask for experience nowadays so now we can say I know this, I’ve been working for a whole semester.”

It’s a win-win situation. Students get real world experience, and companies boost their profit margin. Reporting for UTPA and Newscenter 23, I’m Roxanne Lerma.

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