Greg M. Jung
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What are the Top Trends in Today’s Corporate Environment?
Greg M. Jung   3/29/2012 11:43:24 AM

What are the top trends or cultural changes within today's corporate environment?   So much has changed within the last decade it's hard to narrow down the list to just a few.  However, if you were to take a snapshot of today's corporate workplace, what trends (both continuing and newly emerging) would stand out and really catch your attention?

In an informal survey with several companies, here are some common themes that frequently appeared:

Get Lean – Companies continue to practice the mantra of lean to squeeze more and more productivity and profitability from less resources.  Some of the management tools being used are 5S, Kaizen, and Value Analysis / Value Engineering (VA/VE) in order to constantly eliminate waste.

Use More Off-Shore Engineering Resources – In addition to using off-shore manufacturers, many companies are also expanding their use of off-shore engineering resources.  Some organizations are now trying a 'hybrid' management model where the routine or simple sustaining work is routed to a design resources in Asia (under the supervision of a senior level engineer), while the more complicated or confidential work remains stateside.  High employee turn-over rates in Asia and intellectual property infringement continue to pose a challenge to this strategy.

Be Innovative – Many companies are now realizing that lean alone is not enough.  While going lean can increase profit, clever innovation is their key to new and rapid market growth.  These companies place an emphasis on individuals with creative and inventive skills that can propel their product lines (and profitability) to new levels.

Increased Emphasis on Conflict Resolution Skills - Cross Functional Management (CFM) teams can be a great way to efficiently and effectively develop products into the marketplace.  However, as upper management increases the number of simultaneous projects being developed, conflict frequency and intensity increases because key team members are being asked to complete multiple tasks at the same time.   One team member's number one priority might be the other team member's number fifteen priority.  In these cases, how is this constant conflict resolved?  Excellent conflict resolution skills are key in this type of environment.  These include outstanding communication abilities, proper management of expectations, and an emphasis on bonding and rapport within the team.

What are the trends that you are seeing?  Also, how should we in the engineering field be better prepared to respond to these new and continued changes?


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