Tuesday, August 17, 2010

us verses them

For as long as I've been in manufacturing, I have been aware of the 'us verses them' phenomenon. I'm talking about the exchange between new product and equipment engineers who create stuff versus the manufacturing engineers who are handed this new stuff and expected to make product.

The 'us' is typically the manufacturing guys who are handed the short stick when the development guys (them) use up all the customer timing and may not finish their work.

The problem arises with expectations I suppose.

The (new product) engineers expect the manufacturing plant to know everything they know * VERSUS * while the manufacturing engineers expect product and equipment to be delivered in working order.

I can see both sides:

New engineers are pushed on timing, timing to their managers or timing to the customer.

Manufacturing engineers are often in charge of multiple pieces of equipment and have less time to work on an incomplete designs.

So, how do we fix?

Meeting expectations is really the solution.

How? (some basic solutions often missed)

  • Finish your work
  • Do the high volume product run-offs to uncover (less than complete) equipment
  • Find variation and fix it
  • Complete documentation (and all 'PSO' materials)
  • Create operator instructions specific to your machine/product
  • Train the manufacturing crowd on 'how' to run it and how to fix it (note: see above where it shouldn't really need to be fixed at all!)
  • Hand off all your documentation to help manufacturing stand on their own

  • Hold the developers accountable for delivering complete designs
  • Be available to learn how to use the new equipment
  • Understand basic problem solving and use of basic tools for basic fixes

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