Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

August 2013    |    Volume: 45    |    Number: 8

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Engineers

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Kevin McManus 

Performance by Kevin McManus

Burned in the brain
Improving organizational performance requires better team and individual performance over time. We want people to think about things differently, but we don’t realize how our mental models hold us back and often reinforce the wrong message. Have you worked somewhere where it was OK to break safety rules as long as no one got hurt? Have you ever seen a new product or service introduced with the disclaimer “If there are any problems, the customer will let us know”?

Paul Engle 

Management by Paul Engle

Getting partners to accept their roles
Strategic planning provides a vehicle to force each partner to examine his or her goals, compare them against the other partners’ and find common ground. Agreeing upon a common set of objectives is the foundation for every successful enterprise. Identifying three to five targets gives the partners the basis to develop a vision, mission and charter for the company. Once developed, agreed upon and documented, the strategy and business model can be formulated. 

William "Ike" Eisenhauer 

Health Systems by William "Ike" Eisenhauer

A conference to stop worst practices
At any conference, attendees always talk about the changes and best practices they will start implementing. But face it, these improvements happened in a different environment, under a different management structure and with team members who all were on board. The best practice fallacy is that those are the best practices for that environment, which usually are unrepeatable in less mature environments. But it is really hard to claim that you couldn’t have made the minimal effort of not doing the stupidest thing possible.


Paul Templin 

Manufacturing by Paul Templin

Know when to ditch the process
As an industrial engineer, I know how to establish, optimize and follow processes. I understand how important it is to “stay in process,” using structured tools and methods to solve problems and get things done. But as a technologist, project manager and a member of a large organization, I know when to go out of process if the process is broken, slow or unresponsive. Sometimes, you just need to get things done and steal from Peter to pay Paul. Why? Because schedules, resource allocation and organizational imperatives demand it.


Ricardo Valerdi 

Systems Engineering by Ricardo Valerdi 

The cloud systems
The current excitement behind big data has tremendous promise for our ability to store, access and analyze large amounts of data efficiently. In order to leverage smart analytics of such data, a corresponding evolution must take place in high performance computing. The scale and size of such opportunities cannot be handled by a single human or a single computer. Therefore distributed computing, commonly known as cloud computing, is needed to create opportunities for shared services that leverage economies of scale. 

Joe Michels 

Member Forum by Joe Michels

Professional licensure – it’s important
The history of professional licensure goes back to A.D. 1140 when Roger of Normandy required doctors to prove competency. Wyoming, a Wild West frontier state, was the first state to require professional engineering registration in 1907. Clarence Johnston, the first Wyoming state engineer, decided that the only way to ensure protection of public health, safety and welfare was to require licensure of all individuals involved with engineering.