An important consideration in engineering is ethics. Whether it is a product or a manufacturing process, there are ethical decisions to be made. How many safeguards does the process need to have? How safe does the product need to be? Can the product contain a toxic material because it is cheaper than the alternative?
Many times, guidelines from powerful organizations, such as OSHA, are available that enforce ethical decisions and to what degree they are to be enforced. Without these powerful organizations there would be little incentive for companies to develop enhanced safety features, other than normal market competition. Certainly the market could use safety features as a competitive advantage, and that does exist, but without harsh protocols and penalties, it is hard to believe that safety features would be implemented as readily as they are today. The reason is simply this: developing and implementing safety features costs money and creates many engineering problems that require solving, such as what feature is to be made, where to install it, and how effective it is. A company has little incentive to self-impose higher costs. Business decisions are made based on needs and profits; if there is no “need” for a feature and it costs more to implement, then there is no reason for it to exist. Safety protocols and laws provide the need in many cases. (more…)
The movie, Moneyball, is one of my favorites. I haven’t gotten around to reading the book, yet. I have watched this movie multiple times and each time it invigorates my love for baseball statistics and makes me want to come up with my own player analyses. Some analyses have made such splashing success. The Oakland Athletics are continuously competitive each year for a fraction of the price that the richer teams are paying. In a way, “moneyball” methods are analogous to lean methods; in this case, getting more production out of the same amount of payroll. But that isn’t where I wanted to go with this post. I wanted to focus on the statistical aspects and their affect on free agency and relate them to the common workplace.
Yes, we do have methods to seek out the best prospects; its called screening and interviewing. But we ultimately base our decisions on self-representation. We base the screening process on a resume; a self-made advertisement that outlines only positives and probably embellishes on successes and responsibilities. Then in the interviewing process, we base that off how well the person comes across and presents themselves and decisions are based on potentially practiced answers that may or may not be true. When you look at the hiring process, it will probably screen out the incompetent, but it still is basically arbitrary and may not always lead the best candidate being hired. Something should be done to improve this process. (more…)
My name is Jake, this is my first blog post ever. Unless you count old MySpace rantings from early teenage years. You may not care who I am yet, but I hope that after I add some content to this blog, that I warm up to you. I would just like to start off this blog with an introduction of myself. I graduated from Oregon State University with a double degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. The two topics are so closely related that it would have been irresponsible to not elect the double degree option. After all, the difference was about 12 credits if I remember correctly. School had pretty much been my life up until now. I had always excelled in school; in high school I was a 3.92 GPA student in International Baccalaureate (IB) coursework. Basically, IB is just a glorified AP; it has the same essential effect. I received a perfect score in IB Calculus on my way to earning (more…)