You paint "engineers" with a very broad brush. I, for one, reject your argument & your thesis. I have been practicing the art & science of electro-mechanical design engineering for the better part of 50 years, and I can assure you that in every company that I've been employed, ALL the (degreed) engineers were VERY intimately knowledge of EVERY piece of equipment or product that left their cubicle & went into production. And, EVERY engineer was directly responsible for EVERY shred of paper relevant to the project. Now, this was true in my experience whether the company had 2 engineers or 22 engineers! And, I can further assure you that EVERY engineer in every environment also had a toolbox w/ all sorts of "goodies" packed into them. Not one fellow engineer was an "Ivory Tower" fellow, who had only two items.... his slide rule & a pencil sharpener!!!!
I am not an Engineer. I am an Electronics Technician. What this generally means its that I get stuck with the stuff an engineer screwed up and have to make it work anyways, after engineering has used up all the time for the job. It has happened many times. The engineers have been told how important they are. They are rather well paid. But it comes down to some poor sap who has to get the product working when the delivery date has already been missed because the engineers didn't get their part done on time.
Delivery date is 12 weeks out. Assembly and testing will take 3 weeks. Any special parts will need to be orderred no later than 6 weeks out. So, Engineering comes out at 10 weeks and decides all this is rush because they waited until 8 weeks to figure out what was going to change to meet the customers requirements (which had been decided 6 MONTHS ago) and so the special parts won't be in until week 13. But it is the shops fault that the machine is late even though the engineers didn't have ANYTHING ready until week 10 of 12.
The person with the least control over the project is often the one with the most responsibility dumped on them. And could have probably had the new requirements designed at week 2 because he actually has to work with the finished product and the customer.
Yeah, I tend to (well HATE may be a bit strong...) dislike many engineers because they are so far removed from the final product that they don't seem to have much of an idea what is really involved in executing the idea. It works on paper...
Better treat the Engineering TECHNOLOGISTS with a lot of respect as they are generally the ones who find and solve the problem while engineering rides off on their white horses to joust with another windmill...
We can start talking trash about all EEs who inccurred emergent software hacks by failing to understand the complete system that their assigned module fit into.
2. Reminds me of a similar costly scenario I was involved in years ago, where the production mgt refused to buy the right sized (power) screwdriver for the line. Result, the screws didn't get torqued in enough, and the company paid dearly for material, labor and more while pursuing field replacements. And, yes, here too, an urgent SW hack was required to keep misbuilt hardware from doing bad things -- while still operating correctly -- until the equipment could be attended to.
3. I'm intrigued, hopefully without being nosy, about where and how the certain intransigent individual fit in things. A bean counter imported into production control? An design/production engineer who'd done great things back in the day, but having been promoted out of that scene persisted in "his way or the highway" control over his old venue? Some firebrand climber recruited from outside who wasn't going to risk slipping budget or deadlines, or crossing lines of normative behavior in order to keep his/her career on track?
Have you noticed that it's nearly always the electrical/electronic engineer that rides to the rescue of the management or even the mechanical engineers? How many times do the mechanics solve a problem in our electronics? It's been the story of my life in engineering :-)
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
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