At National Nail, all interns work in the warehouse for a week to help them understand that side of the business. This week I worked in the packaging department. My days started at 7am and finished at 330pm. My task was to sort boxes of nails that came in from our “buyback” program. When we land a new account, we offer to buy back the competitors product for full retail. This allows us to clear our new clients inventory and restock it completely with our product. It’s a win win because they get rid of their unwanted product and we get a new account that becomes more revenue. Anyway, so our company sends someone out to our new customer and loads the product we bought back from them onto pallets. Then the pallets are shipped to our headquarters in Grand Rapids to be sorted again. I checked the condition of the boxes, and if they were damaged I would toss the nails in a scrap pile. Also, if the nails were rusted or damaged in any way they would get scrapped. The nails that were salvageable were put into inventory. I didn’t mind the work. The days went by really fast because I was always moving and staying busy. There was an influx of pallets coming in because we had just landed a new major customer. The other two interns and myself sorted too many pallets to count. Getting to handle to product made us a lot more familiar with the different types of nails and screws, and this was useful when we transitioned into our office roles.
When they first told us we would be in the warehouse for a week I was a little upset because I had wanted to get started doing my “normal” job. However, at the end of it I was glad to have went through it. I now know a lot more about nails and screws, and I wouldn’t have been able to learn those little details had I not handled them. My IT projects I work on now require a deep knowledge of the product line, and it would have been a struggle not knowing the difference between a common and finish nail (nail joke).
I also learned a lot about what a hard days work looks like. At the end of each day I would come home covered in dirt and dust. I was so wiped out that I just wanted to lay in bed the rest of the day. My hands were sore and calloused, and I dropped a 20lb box of nails on my foot so that was also in pain. I couldn’t imagine doing that job for the rest of my life, but for many of the people that I worked with this job was their full-time career. All of the full-timers came to work with a great attitude and they had tremendous drive. I think that is somewhat attributed to the great company National Nail is, and many of them said that NN is the best place they have ever worked at. Being able to attract and keep great employees is a key to success, and it is no wonder NN is growing at the rate that it is.