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Old 04-06-2014, 09:46 AM   #21
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In my last job, I was the only engineer and I attended too many meetings like that one. A few of the people were not only clueless, but nasty, too. It was a big factor in my decision to FIRE.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:16 PM   #22
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........ A few of the people were not only clueless, but nasty, too........... .
Where I w*rked, nastiness was a prerequisite to getting a promotion.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:07 PM   #23
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What's really fun is to read the comments for this video over on C|Net, where it was posted.

There are a whole bunch of Marketing, Sales, and Design/Art Department types posting there explaining why the Engineer is wrong...
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Old 04-07-2014, 05:15 AM   #24
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What I find strange is how many customers are willing to plunk down prodigiously large amounts of money without having their technical people talk to their suppliers' technical people to assure they're not getting snowed by marketing.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:25 AM   #25
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What I find strange is how many customers are willing to plunk down prodigiously large amounts of money without having their technical people talk to their suppliers' technical people to assure they're not getting snowed by marketing.
I believe that it was Mark Twain that said that the definition of an expert was someone that lived at least 50 miles away.
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:17 AM   #26
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As an engineer I can relate. When I first got out of school and in my first engineer job, I quickly realized that engineers were told when, and how much cost, to fix a problem. But this was from higher level accounting and scheduling type folks that had zero idea what the actual work would take.

In general, engineers make judgment calls based on a limited set of data. Is it black or white? Well, the data is some shade of grey and you have to make decisions based on that, and usually without the time you would like to have.

I guess that's why the accounting and scheduling types are paid the big bucks.........
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:13 PM   #27
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I think that was my project manager in that meeting. At least, he stuck up for that poor engineer the same way my PMs stick up for me.
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:05 PM   #28
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What I find strange is how many customers are willing to plunk down prodigiously large amounts of money without having their technical people talk to their suppliers' technical people to assure they're not getting snowed by marketing.
I worked at a place where the VP bought productivity improvement software, and when I asked the sales guy how long it took other companies to actually realize the productivity improvements, he said with a straight face 4 years. He even added that because of training and the learning curve projects would take longer during the four year crossover period. Crazy stuff. Productivity software that makes projects take longer for four years. If I hadn't lived it I wouldn't have believed a lot of the Dilbert cartoon situations could really be true.

This was at a meeting with the VP and a bunch of managers, and the other managers didn't really react. They either didn't get what the four years meant or they were smart enough to simply not to question it. Probably the latter.
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:16 PM   #29
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Hmm... I can assure you not all engineers are infallible. I work in Logistics which is downstream from Engineering (and everything else, but that is another story).

I've sat in shipping meetings at some very large industrial manufacturers and and looked at schematics of things that engineers have designed and are as proud as punch about.
Never mind these things are to large, to heavy or a combination of the two to be moved down the road, onto a railcar or onto a vessel for anything less than a kings ransom or a redesign of highways or a change in the laws of geometry.

But, heh, their drawings sure were purdy..........
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:00 PM   #30
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I worked with many chemical and mechanical engineers during my stint as an operation superintendent at a chemical/refinery complex. Whenever I had an engineer putting in a project, I always assigned a plant operator and a mechanic to assist and oversee the project to make sure valves where accessible and the equipment could be maintained without tearing out or shutting down the rest of the plant. I could tell you horror stories of engineers working alone putting in projects that had to be completely reworked due to not enough input from a practical operating/maintenance perspective. That said, I still have the utmost respect for those in the engineering field and agree with most of the Dilbert like insanity that comes down from above and like bird ****.
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:12 PM   #31
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I worked with many chemical and mechanical engineers during my stint as an operation superintendent at a chemical/refinery complex.
How did you get to that position without being an engineer yourself? I got to that level coming up through the ranks but I started as a basic engineer.

I had one plant manager that was an accountant. He understood the P/L statement for the site but had no clue what went into achieving the numbers. One year he increased our yields beyond theoretical so we would have had to create matter to meet it but somehow we failed. He had no concept of a heat and material balance. He abused us a few years and was promoted to headquarters. He had been repeatedly rewarded for irrational and nasty behavior at the plant level he continued with that operating mode in his new postion. The headquarters people wouldn't tolerate that and he was fired in less than a year.

I agree with putting operators and maintenance personnel on any project review. They are requred for the HAZOPs and LOPAs. They always go better with some prior exposure to the project.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:04 PM   #32
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Actually started out in 1974 as an hourly employee and took a promotion to front line operating supervisor then day operating supervisor, plant safety superintendent, assistant area superintendent and then finally area operations superintendent. The plant operations manager wanted me in the position and got permission to rewrite the job description as it required a degreed engineer. Along with the experience of coming up through the ranks, I attended many engineering, HR, safety,environmental, etc., etc.courses, through the likes of Clemson, Ohio State, Texas A&M and the University of Arizona to name a just a few. Also held a stationary engineers license in the state of Ohio, which in and of itself is no big deal. Retired in 2005 after a very challenging and enjoyable 32 year long career. Not that it matters but I think there was something in my genes that helped as my father and grandfather were both Ohio State degreed electrical and civil engineers.

Almost 100% of the managers and superintendents were chemical engineers. The bean counters usually were at the VP level of the organization.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:17 PM   #33
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1986. Challenger. That one didn't leave me laughing.

heh heh heh - work was never the same after that. They did subsequently replace a lot of the management.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:23 PM   #34
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Whenever I had an engineer putting in a project, I always assigned a plant operator and a mechanic to assist and oversee the project to make sure valves where accessible and the equipment could be maintained without tearing out or shutting down the rest of the plant. I could tell you horror stories of engineers working alone putting in projects that had to be completely reworked due to not enough input from a practical operating/maintenance perspective.
FWIW, this is hear-say from an employee of the company, a well known jet plane manufacturer, who has had troubles with parts out sourced to contractors all around the globe, did not follow your example. Supposedly, while the company did send engineers to the companies to make sure they had the specs correct and were doing the job properly, they never sent anybody who worked on the assembly lines. When the parts got to the assembly plant, the guys assembling the planes found numerous problems and conflicts with the assembly process.

From what I also understand, the decision to out source so much of the production of the plane was made in meetings similar to the one in the video. Again, this is hear-say.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:26 PM   #35
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Whenever I watch engineering disasters on the history channel, it just makes me cringe and feel for the poor bastards that probably had to design and build whatever under unrealistic time and budget constraints.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:32 PM   #36
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FWIW, this is hear-say from an employee of the company, a well known jet plane manufacturer, who has had troubles with parts out sourced to contractors all around the globe, did not follow your example. Supposedly, while the company did send engineers to the companies to make sure they had the specs correct and were doing the job properly, they never sent anybody who worked on the assembly lines. When the parts got to the assembly plant, the guys assembling the planes found numerous problems and conflicts with the assembly process.

From what I also understand, the decision to out source so much of the production of the plane was made in meetings similar to the one in the video. Again, this is hear-say.
On many projects that required overnight travel to an offsite vendor I would more often than not send an hourly employee or two which was pretty much unheard of back in the day. The payback was many fold as the hourly people would come back to the plant with a greater appreciation of what it takes to work a project plus they had a much better understanding how the equipment was supposed to work.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:56 PM   #37
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(Engineer here and have years of operations management experience too)

A thought just crossed my mind as I wonder how many engineers are in those Chinese plants that are making the "knock off" spare parts much of our aftermarket needs? Or just knock off goods in general?

Having bought a few disc brake rotors at 1/2 price what an OEM ones go for, should I have been surprised that they only last a few months before warping so badly they can't be turned?

Maybe they have engineers but none have had materials science courses?
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:28 PM   #38
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The only engineer at a business meeting.

I attended several meetings during my last year of work that were similar to the video. Approx 20 people attended these meetings, have of whom were engineers, the other half legal and management. During these meetings, I detected that the engineers were going one direction and everyone else was going another. At first I thought that there was a communication problem the engineers and others. There was, but the overriding issue was unrealistic expectations that engineers had of the others and vice versa. It's amazing how little is accomplished when everyone is trying to protect one's turf as opposed to trying to work as a team.
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:34 PM   #39
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FWIW, this is hear-say from an employee of the company, a well known jet plane manufacturer, who has had troubles with parts out sourced to contractors all around the globe, did not follow your example. Supposedly, while the company did send engineers to the companies to make sure they had the specs correct and were doing the job properly, they never sent anybody who worked on the assembly lines. When the parts got to the assembly plant, the guys assembling the planes found numerous problems and conflicts with the assembly process.

From what I also understand, the decision to out source so much of the production of the plane was made in meetings similar to the one in the video. Again, this is hear-say.

And how is this not the engineer's fault If they cannot draw up the specs that some other engineer can follow..... well...


Just sayin.....
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:38 PM   #40
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This did not come from an engineer... but close enough....

During a finance meeting it was pointed out that they were selling the stuff for less than variable costs... and the response was 'We will make it up in volume'...

True story... my boss almost blew a gasket....
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