May 2014 |   Volume: 46 |   Number: 5
The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers
Our cognitive frontierThe nature of my work coupled with my progressing age have made me hypersensitive to occasional slowdowns in my cognitive processing abilities. So I started tracking these differences more closely and using tablet apps to provide a cognitive barometer. It became evident that these changes, which we often take for granted, affect human performance. How often do we discount these factors when it comes to gauging job performance?
A plan prevents flirting with IT disasterThe New York area has experienced two disasters during the past 14 years. Despite carefully crafted and expensive recovery plans, critical IT support functions were disrupted for days or even weeks. Sept. 11, 2001, and Hurricane Sandy affected nearly every business and government function. Contingency plans were discarded and new strategies developed on the fly. These events should serve as reminders for all organizations.
Benchmarking made easierIn my work, I’m often asked for benchmarks. As an IE, the term benchmark means a standard of comparison. For example, an organization’s full-time equivalents per adjusted occupied bed may be 5.23, and that may represent the 45th percentile. Benchmarks can tell us how we stack up compared with other organizations that may have business functions similar to ours. Are we doing better, the same or worse than our peers?
Managing EOL makes the organization strongerEvery organization I have been part of has focused on new product introduction. New products are the lifeblood of any organization – the security blanket that helps us sleep through the night knowing there is a future. But what about managing component or product end of life (EOL)? While not as critical, EOL product line management directly affects the bottom line and customer loyalty.
Doctoral research in systems engineeringThe rapid growth of graduate programs in systems engineering has led to more doctoral students pursuing research. My experience has shown that about 50 percent of those who graduate with a Ph.D. in systems engineering work in industry or government, while 25 percent work in consulting and 25 percent work in academia. I would imagine industrial engineering graduates pursue similar career paths.