Five Reasons Why You Need a Quality or Process Engineer

2011/07/28

Those that know me are aware of the fact that I am a quality & process engineer. They are also aware that I am currently unemployed. As a quest to improve my blog and provide value to this world, I decided that my next topic should be why companies need people like me.

I need to clarify something before I begin. Quality engineers are also found in the IT world. Since my experience lies in manufacturing, the scope of this piece will apply to the manufacturing environment only. However, some of these principles may pertain to IT as well.

Due to globalization, companies are looking to enhance operations while minimizing costs. Quality improves reliability and production. Fewer defects increases customer satisfaction and decreases product claims, both of which affect the balance sheet. Below are five reasons why companies need quality and process engineers. (As a shameless plug, I have included personal examples.)

1. Improved reliability.

  • I helped lead a Kaizen team that improved the reliability of monthly reports. Supplier on-time delivery increased five percentage points.

2. Increased flow/production.

  • While implementing just-in-time (JIT) principles at a joint venture of Texaco, product flow nearly doubled in one work center.

3. Reduced/eliminated waste.

  • I served on a Kaizen team that reduced cycle time by two hours for one process.
4. Enhanced relationships throughout the supply chain.
  • Working with other engineers at Texaco, the company changed suppliers for one material. Not only was scrap reduced 50%, but customers were happier that we were supplying them with higher-quality product. I was happier because my boss was happier. The supplier was happier because I gave them positive feedback.
5. We are versatile.
  • Most of the engineers I know – including myself – are well-schooled in the following areas: statistical process control (SPC), technical writing, auditing, building supplier relationships and lean manufacturing principles.

Companies need to provide value in order to remain competitive. The benefits of having a knowledgeable quality or process engineer on staff are numerous.  We are multitalented and help improve the bottom-line. I can think of no better way to provide value.

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It’s More Than a Really Expensive Piece of Paper

2011/02/07

Anyone who knows me in the slightest knows that I love my alma mater – Miami University in Oxford, OH.  All I heard growing up was what a great school Miami is & how it is the most beautiful campus anywhere.  (This “brainwashing” might have something to do with the fact that the majority of my family are Miami alums – 16 total including my mother & #17 is currently a sophomore at MU.)  I can remember being accepted to Kentucky and my mother telling me, “It’s not Miami, so I’m not paying for it.”  After a year at UK, I caved and transferred to Miami.

McCracken Hall

There were some bumps along the way, but I finally got my act together and graduated in December 2006.

I took a job at an electronics distributor a few months after graduation.  Last year, I was laid off  due to the economic conditions.  I was angry at the world.  Even at my beloved Miami.  I looked at my diploma as a really expensive & useless piece of paper.  I have recently changed my tune.

Last night I began to reminisce about my years at MU.  I remembered working 12-20 hours per week for three years, while taking a full class load.  I remembered being deathly ill during Spring 2004.  So ill my DSC professor was concerned.  I remembered the ridicule from a few classmates – and even a professor – because I was not in my 20s like the other students.

Then it occurred to me. My diploma is more than a really expensive piece of paper.  It is a sign; a sign that I survived.  It shows commitment, strength, and courage.  Granted, I do not like the $50,000 student loan debt I have, but I am proud to say that I worked for my education.  It was not handed to me.

My degree from Miami means more to me than people will ever know. Why?  Because I earned it.


Is History Repeating Itself in Dayton?

2011/01/06

Philosopher George Santayana is credited with the statement “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.  History is about to repeat itself here in Dayton, OH, and it may be ugly.

In August 2008, Forbes’ magazine published an article entitled Americas Fastest Dying Cities.  People went nuts.  How could Dayton be included with such cities as Detroit & Youngstown?  (Check out some basic facts here, according to Forbes in 2008.)  Sure, the economy is the main reason, but a basic business class would have also answered this question.

A fundamental rule of business & finance is diversity lessens risk.  Dayton didn’t diversify.  When General Motors (GM) was in its heyday, most of the local businesses fed off of GM – tool & die shops, metal fab places, machine shops, and the like.  The city & county didn’t do much to entice other types of businesses to the area, except for maybe military-related contractors.

When GM spun off Delphi in 1999, I personally believe that was when Dayton began its downward spiral.  The defining moment was when the GM closed Truck & Bus in Moraine.  (For you non-locals, Truck & Bus was the final assembly plant for a few models of SUVs & pick-ups.)  When the last truck rolled of the assembly line on December 23, 2008, many of the supporting business were already closed.

Enter Tech Town.  Some people seem to think technology will be the answer, but it will not be the cure-all to the area’s problems.  Hi-tech businesses look for employees with training in computers/IT, engineering, etc.  These are highly specialized fields that comprise a smaller portion of the employment base.  Therefore, employment will not be greatly affected.

I am not a great economist, and I don’t think technology is bad, but I hate to see officials making the same mistake twice – especially when a portion of the answer is as obvious as this.  Did GM not teach us anything?  With the emphasis on high technology, it appears as if Dayton is putting all of its eggs in one basket again.