The Creative Inventor: The Season for Change

November 29th, 2010

Tis the Season....

...where we are wrapping up 2009. This is typically the season where we are taking inventory, both physical and of our overall performance over the past year. No doubt about it, we have just gone through probably the worst year in 70+ years. No one on the planet has been unaffected. Many engineers and designers have lost their jobs, or have had their job duties altered significantly. Most people remaining at companies this year have been overworked, and often underpaid, in an effort to keep their company alive.

December is also a time where we need to look forward, making resolutions and budgets for the coming year. At this point, analysts tell us that the economy has entered a slow recovery, meaning, more of the same cutbacks in every area. In order to put some sanity back into what's left of the engineering department, change has never been more important to survival.

So, I'll beat a dead horse that I've been riding all year long. It's time to make those changes that you know are inevitable for the survival of your company. Typically, this is a time of the year when things slow down for a few weeks. Now is the time to make those changes. If you have not created a plan to improve efficiency up to this point, then now is the time to modernize your thinking. Between holiday parties, short vacations, and everything else that occurs at this time of year, you need to do this!

Go back and reread the articles that I've written in the past year or so about improving efficiencies in your design area. Do it now! Don't put it off any longer. In case you need a better guide for making change, here's a short list.

  • Review your weaknesses that block your productivity.
  • Question everything, believe nothing, and initiate change where change is needed.
  • Examine your engineering and design workflow carefully.
  • Fix or eliminate any blockages to improve productivity.
  • Get trained and up to speed on your software NOW. Don't procrastinate. There are bargains in training out there, including on my website. The prices won't be any better, and you won't have any more time to get trained later.
  • Initiate policies that will reduce waste, scrap, by introducing GD&T (if you haven't already).
  • Design everything with an eye to reducing manufacturing and assembly costs.
  • Reduce ECOs by utilizing all aspects of Autodesk Inventor's Digital Prototyping tools.
  • Budget for updated 64-bit systems and software updates/subscriptions for improved design efficiency. Be sure you are using Inventor to its fullest extent (don't just use the tools with which you are familiar).
  • Make this the year to join or form your local AMUG User Group.
  • Attend my "It's a Duesy II" Manufacturing Expo scheduled for March 17th at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana (Fort Wayne, Indiana area). Registration and more information will be available for this unique experience on theteknigroup.com site January 4, 2010.

Thanks for your continued readership over the past three years. I have appreciated your comments. Have a great Holiday season, and I'll be back next year!

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About the Authors

Dennis Jeffrey

 

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