Meet the Engineer: Tim Rice

Meet the Engineer: Tim Rice
What keeps you busy every day?
 
I’m essentially the first line of defense for our clients and the lab. I communicate with clients all day, asking questions so I can understand exactly what they need and connect them with the right testing program to meet their objectives.
 
What does that daily support look like?
 
Our clients come to us because they have a question. It’s often a question of whether their product packaging system can survive the supply chain or what will happen if they make a change. Essentially, they’re looking to put data behind their decisions. Our goal is to support them in that process by getting them the data they need.
 
What kind of positive changes and developments have your clients experienced after working with your lab?
 
We do a lot of routine testing or planned studies, but there are also times where we act as an emergency responder. Sometimes, a client comes to us because they experienced an unexpected failure in the field and their entire supply chain is at a standstill until they can solve it. This means products aren’t getting to market. In medical cases, essential products can’t get to patients. Our team has a lot of experience, so we know exactly where to look for root causes of failure, which cuts out a lot of guesswork for the clients. We can solve the problem quickly and get our clients back online.
 
Who are your clients?
 
Anyone who has a problem and needs a solution! Our team is extremely flexible and can adapt to meet the needs of clients in any industry, but our most common clients are in automotive, consumer goods, food and beverage, medical device, and industrial. One of the most interesting projects I’ve seen in my time here was a stability testing program for a pallet-loaded CT scanner.
 
What trends and changes are you seeing in the work you do?
 
We’re seeing a lot of instances where our clients being asked to show proper documentation or proof that their product packaging system can withstand the rigors of transport as companies become more conservative in their approach to shipping their product. Supply chain hazards are getting increasingly complicated in a number of industries. At the same time, consumers are becoming less and less forgiving of product and package damage. Expectations are higher across the board, and it’s showing up in the lab.
 
What advice would you give to a new client to help them conduct a successful testing program?
 
Be transparent about your objectives, and tell us the whole story. I always ask clients, “What are you trying to do here? Why are you testing with us?” Sometimes the solution isn’t going to be what you expect, and the more we know about what you’re hoping to achieve, the better we can investigate and find a solution for you.
 
What do you like best about your job?
 
With our work at the lab, we give our clients the power to do their job effectively. Helping them achieve their goals, whatever they may be, gives me a lot of satisfaction. I also really enjoy working with so many different people, in different industries and roles, every day. It certainly keeps things interesting.
 
How do you spend your time outside of work?
 
My wife and I have two sons, ages 4 and 2, and they keep us busy! They both love going to the park as a family, and the older one often joins me for bike rides. I like cycling on my own as well and am getting into golf, though I’ll confess I’m not particularly good at it yet.
 
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Ready to talk to Tim about your project—or just give him some pointers on his golf game? Get in touch at 517-322-2400 or trice@smithers.com. You can also connect with Tim on LinkedIn.