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The Modern Role of the Manufacturing Engineer

The role of the Manufacturing Engineer has continued to develop over the years.  Colleges and Universities graduate electrical, mechanical, and industrial engineers but not Manufacturing Engineers.  So it is helpful to understand the role of the ME in a modern industrial workplace.  Listed in this article are the six essential tasks to focus on as a ME.  Successfully managing the balance of these tasks will help you to grow within your organization.  ME’s must be social chameleons as one minute you are working with maintenance to repair a machine and the next minute working to convince management to invest in a new process.  Mastering these tasks and becoming adept at communication will ensure your long-term success.

  1. Provide Design for Manufacturing Feedback – This would include design feasibility for internal and external processes. Processing cost information for capital investment and labor will help direct the design team to consider alternative designs.  This feedback is invaluable to the long-term success of your organization.
  2. Support Strategic Sourcing – Does it make sense to produce the product in-house or outsource? Your process and labor information are critical to this decision also.
  3. Repair Existing Processes – Depending on the level of sophistication of the process, you might need to lead the troubleshooting and root cause analysis. These activities and at least supporting maintenance plays an important role.
  4. Improve Existing Processes – There are two ways to improve existing processes – reduce waste (scrap) or reduce labor. Both are part of the ongoing effort to reduce costs! Poke-yoke, cycle time reductions, etc. all fall into this category. Quality improvement is integral to a manufacturer’s survival and is driven by the repair and growth of existing processes.
  5. Deliver New Processes – This could be for a new product launch or an existing product. Either way, you are the tip of the spear in creating the specifications required.
  6. Design New Processes – Sometimes, design engineers develop a product that requires a process that has not been done before. Stepping through the technical options with the new product introduction team and subsequently developing, specifying, purchasing, validating, and documenting the new process is critical. Keeping up to date with the latest technology of equipment and procedures will increase your ability to design and deliver new methods.

Your role is critical in the efficient function of the industrial complex. Thank you for your business and interest in continuous improvement!

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