You may be a startup firm with some promising IP and a dream, a researcher with a lab scale manufacturing line, or a manufacturer with an established product and a great market who needs additional manufacturing capacity. In each case you need a new manufacturing machine or a new production line, and you need a firm skilled and capable of designing and fabricating the unique and custom manufacturing equipment and systems to meet your requirements. There are a lot of different products and even more ways to manufacture them. Your product may be a food product, a pharmaceutical or a chemical. It might be a discrete product requiring machining or assembly or an item manufactured at high speed on a roll-to-roll process and then converted to its usable form. Independent of what it is you need and how it is manufactured, how do you find a qualified company to design and build it for you? In many cases you will start a search on Google or ThomasNet, testing several key words try to find a few qualified suppliers that you can talk to. After you do that, how do you vet them, check capabilities, and make the best selection for what you need to have engineered, designed, fabricated, and commissioned?
In today’s digital world it is hard to think of how things are still done the “old way”. The new way of doing things isn’t because the old way doesn’t work, but rather to make things easier or quicker. I am still a pencil and paper girl, if I need to take notes during a meeting, I am writing them the old-fashioned way, and then typing them up later. This was my process all through college and grad school, and I think helped me not only learn information, but retain it. Although, I am not one to fight efficiency, so the majority of what I do takes full advantage of digital tools.
The celebration of National Engineers Week started in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers and is always during the week in February which includes George Washington’s birthday, February 22nd. President Washington is considered the nation’s first engineer, notably for his survey work. It is observed by more than 70 engineering, education, and cultural societies, and more than 50 corporations and government agencies. Primarily, the goal of this week promote recognition among parents, teachers, and students of the importance of a technical education and a high level of math, science, and technology literacy. The intent is to motivate youth to pursue engineering careers in order to provide a diverse and vigorous engineering workforce.
The Challenging Question We Often Face.
Recently, I was challenged by a friend, who is not associated with our business, if I could explain why one of our prospective clients why they would hire an outside design/build engineering firm.The client has the capability to produce products in their manufacturing plants, and would thus have a fair amount of in house capability. This is a very provocative question, and one which we are regularly challenged to answer. As I reflected on the varied reasons that support our business, I decided that rather than give my usual elevator speech, I would have a bit of fun with my answer. So, here are what we observe are the top ten reasons (in ascending order) why our clients do routinely ask us to participate, as viewed from their perspective:
“Rapid” is how we describe getting things done quickly. It implies that an objective is pursued with haste, but not with waste. Rapid is positive, advantageous, and sought-after.
In business, it’s been said, “you need to spend money to make money.” This axiom certainly applies to capital investing, where market demands can be exploited with increased production through the careful implementation of new equipment.
There are both direct and subtle ways to “manage” your suppliers. Some companies have elaborate supplier programs with score cards, audits, cost reduction goals, targets, etc. It is great if you have the infrastructure to support this type of program, but not everyone can.
An interesting manufacturing tool is emerging as more companies seek to mine, or take advantage, of the process data their production systems generate. The tool, called Process Monitor (PM), uses statistical analysis methods to crunch the manufacturing process data, and predict whether or not the production system is operating within preset control limits that indicate an acceptable product outcome.
One of the most efficient ways for an engineering services company to work with a client is by having an Engineering Services Contract or some type of “Blanket Order” in place. At some companies, it can take longer to get a purchase order than it does to complete the actual work that is requested. Having a blanket order or an engineering services contract in place streamlines the process and allows work to be authorized and initiated quickly.
Topics: Engineering Services