Head instead of computer? Part 2

Nancy Anderson
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Last week I said that we needed to talk about “Concept and Overview”! In every discipline of Engineering we are constantly bombarded by the budget. Cost models are so tight that we often feel that we need a separate job number to charge, just to ask the project manager a question!

Here’s the bad news: You still have to ask! If you are committed to being a team player and have the best interests of the profit margin at heart, hear this. On a large scale project, whether it’s a construction project or engineering new products to market, no one person really knows every detail on the job. That’s a fact. It’s impossible for one brain to hold it all.

If you are the one to find something unusual, and it occurs to you that “Somebody should look into that”, it’s you! For that moment you are the owner of the issue. Until you find out whether someone else has solved the issue, you solve it yourself, or you formally pass it along to the correct person that WILL solve it. The issue is yours.

Whether you credit this thinking to Dr. Deming, Japanese production, TQM, QMP, ISO 9001, or just your conscience . . . “Tag, you’re IT”! It just makes sense when you think it through. When I said “It’s impossible for one brain to hold it all”, I said that from Project Manager experience. Jobs still get out the door before someone catches an otherwise obvious error.

Once, the wrong graphic was inserted for a window retrofit on a former industrial building . . . with 5 floors and a 7.5 acre plan! Not too bad. It only affected SOME of the windows, about 430 of them. One stray picture cost the owner over $106,000, cost us the overhead and profit for corrections, then we paid for 300+ reprinted bid sets.

While we were totaling the damages later in the day, Randy walked in; a bright intern who was learning everything we asked of him a light speed. We updated him on the issue and he replied “Ya know, I saw that on the documents and it didn’t make sense to me. I figured it would get caught in checking!” Roaring silence overtook the group, and young Randy just quietly backed out of the room.

Get it?

If the “low man on the totem pole” had spoken up when something looked odd, and communicated it up the pecking order to be corrected, money, time and profit could have been saved!

We all found Randy later in the day and made sure he knew no one was holding him accountable, and we never let the secret out from between us. It really should have been caught in checking.

Something looks weird = follow through or get the right person to do so!

More about quality and concepts and why it affects everyone in the future.

You can do this!

By K.B. Elliott

K. B. Elliott is a freelance writer for Engineer-Jobs.com. Working many related positions in the Detroit area for over 30 years gives him a unique perspective on the process. His networking interests as an entrepreneur connect him with many new venture start-ups in Southeast Michigan. On the chance occurrence of spare time, you will find him building computers and airplanes, or restoring antiques. To read more of his blogs, please go to Engineer-Jobsblog.com, and be sure to check out the postings for jobs in nearly any industry at Nexxt

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