During my university years I had real difficulties in studying within a group. For some reason it just did not work for me. I was either faster or slower than my team mates. After graduation, I found working within a team and calling on the expertise of vendors was a remarkable asset in meeting design goals and schedules. We never had issues with confidentiality or protecting trade secrets. The vendors understood; one slip and they were out forever. With the modern day complexities of design; i.e. FEA, solid modeling, CFD, etc etc; it is almost imperative to include a variety of disciplines to get the proper design commercialized and in on time. One issue I might mention was great difficulties we all had with our CAD function being in India. They were going to bed when we were getting to work. We would meet each morning at 0630 hrs for a discussion relative to the project at hand. They uploaded at night—we downloaded in the morning. It got old quickly and produced real issues. Co-location, as mentioned is the very best way to go if it is at all possible. Excellent post Rod. I certainly agree with the methodology.
That's right, Rob - whenever that happened where I worked, we viewed it as "us versus them" - it is really difficult to create a good working dynamic with other companies when it comes to the nuts and bolts of engineering. Being able to overcome that has to be a corporate cultural value embraced by leadership.
Good points Nancy. I remember covering Boeing when the company broke ground by bringing suppliers into the design process in the late 1990s and eary 2000s. I would imagine that was a big jump, bringing in engineers from a different company with its own unique culture. But the benefits of collaboration were too important to allow hurdles to stymie them.
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