Do they tend to be with you on innovation and going the extra mile or are they more cautious, not supportive and limiting to what you want to do? I would like to have a general idea of how your place works.
I could take this in so many directions…
but I won’t.
Well, considering I my Mechanical Engineer is one of my business partners, I guess you could say we have a good working relationship.
The toughest obstacle to overcome is gaining the respect of an ME. One that appreciates what ID does for a product. Typically, that comes with you showing full appreciation of the ME process and how it is affected by choices made by the ID process.
The best thing I have found for to establish this kind of rapport is to work the beginning of a project side-by-side with the ME (and the rest of the engineering team if there are others). Work together to establish goals…product size, manufacturing processes, pros/cons of part choices. This is all especially important on the development of an electronics product. Placement of a button, or use of a large capacitor can affect the proportions of the design. It is a back and forth process that, if done properly, can significantly reduce timelines, cost, product size/volume, and tension between disciplines.
The worst thing that can be done (in my opinion) is to silo the processes. ID working in one room, Mech in another, Electronic in another, and Software in yet another.
It is this Team that is required to build the product, and the more everyone understands how the product is integrated, the better it works out.
Then, sometimes, you get someone who just doesn’t want to play in your sandbox…and that is a whole other topic which falls more under psychology, than it does anything else.
This topic will be the source of many a gross generalization, and I’m going to get right into some!
This is NOT true in all cases, but someone had posted at one point a key difference between how designers and ME’s operate. I think it might have been cg?
Designers start (or we should) with the WHO. Studying people, who they are, what they do, how they miss-use things, what they are passionate about. Starting here, and mixing that with project parameters, we often get somewhere new which is something of utility for the consumer, and additional business for the client, and the company likes us for this.
ME often start with the how. How is the competitive product manufactured, how we will manufacture this new product, how can we drive greater efficiency in both the manufacturing and product development processes, how can we ensure better reliability and quality control. This leads to a more repeatable process, more efficient throughput (less overhead), less rejected product, more reliable product with less returns, and thusly more reliable consumers who become return buyers, and the company likes them for that.
Again, 2 huge stereo types. But taking that into account, when you bring you consumer insight to the engineer, that involves a completely untested way to manufacture something, with no reliability measurable, and no way to estimate the effect on processes, you are going to get a “we can’t do that” which really means “We don’t do it that way right now”, but you’ve just essentially caused them to take a position against the design organization.
But, you can take those consumer insights, do a little digging into their world, and show how with a little modification to a manufacturing process here, a controlled beta testing there, this new idea might actually be more efficient in the manufacturing process and they will look like heroes for co-championing it. I also bring the rough ideas early and ask for their council, so they feel like a key stake holder, maybe even have them co-present it to the upper brass.
It doesn’t always work, sometimes you stuck with someone who wants to do things a certain way (which makes me bristle), I try my best to bring them around, while simultaneously going above and around them so it is clear this is going to happen one way or the other, and it would be fantastic if they joined the cause.
All biased based on my experiences and works best for my personality of course. Sounds pretty similar to a lot of the things ip stated about getting folks onboard early.
I’m going to watch this thread develop for a bit, but if I could request (as I’m sure everyone else would like to see) that this not turn into another engineer vs. designer battle-royale a la this thread: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=20894
As stated, I’ll agree the worst thing you can do is to divide departments unless you want to have constant conflict. If you don’t allow both teams to interact on a daily basis, you get no buy-in from either side. Both teams stick to their guns, and that’s the end of it. If you sit next to an ME, you might be more inclined to hear their view of why something will be difficult, and vice versa.
I hope what I said didn’t come across as an us vs them. I firmly believe that the success of all projects is a team effort and that this discussion is less about Mechanical Engineers and more about the psychology of dealing with difficult people. Learning how to manage you’re own emotions while handling people who are emotionally driven is key in this.
ME, ID, EE…whatever…they’re people. This should be a discussion of personal interaction.
No no no… not at all. I was just throwing that out there so that someone doesn’t see this as an “Engineers/Designers don’t do anything anyways” thread.
Some good, some bad. It is definitely dependent upon the individual or team.
In my (admittedly limited, but growing) experience, the real conflicts seem to arise when one or other of the parties is seen to be stepping on the others toes, either because precise responsibilities are not clearly defined or where lack of clear communication leads to one party moving in a direction that the other doesn’t agree in (usually without informing them).
And as Yo said, a mechs reasoning is often tangible and quantifiable, whereas designers bring in ‘new’ ideas and untested concepts, creating an element of risk that goes against the natural, precise and measurable, grain of an engineer (I come from a family of engineers and I am sure that they would agree with this!).
My ME is super, I love working with him. He proposes inspiring solutions, has the brainpower to quickly think through design iterations, and the patience and willingness to learn about what makes a designed object work. He’s a genius on SolidWorks and COSMOS FEA to quickly validate ideas, thinks ‘architecturally’, meaning, not in the weeds too early in a project, and can’t draw but tries anyway. We are about the same age, but he went to Stanford for ME grad school while I was sanding bondo in some South Boston hellhole. I hope he makes the big bucks someday.
I had opportunity to work with few mechanical engineers and boy this people are very intelligent. As you can expect mechanical engineering is such a vast field with wide applications and they have very good understanding of design, product, business,commerce, etc. I guess only field of engineering where you can find some creative people. Infact I learned a lot working with them . All positive for me.
Mine is my boss. And he says no a lot.
I’m doing alright. Thanks for asking.
I interested in finding out the environment and/or industry people are working in that they have engineers on staff.
For example, are you in a design firm, a corporate office, a technical field?
I have some mechanical challenges in front of me, but only Asian factory engineers to work with.
Does anyone have tips for working with Asian factory engineers to provide real innovation to improve efficiency, reduce waste, improve product?
I don’t have any real tips, just sympathy for you, as I imagine it will be a little frustrating. Based on the limited interactions I’ve had with Asian factory engineers stateside, they won’t stick their neck out on the innovation front. Maybe just push, push, push, patiently explain your needs, over and over and over.
agree with slippyfish on asian factory engineers, except to add saying that they’ll miss a deadline if they don’t solve a particular problem. that seems to be a good motivator.
which also goes for ME’s stateside, generally we perform to how we’re measured and if cost and schedule are your only metrics, well, innovation is going to cost you next years raise.