Engineering Management

The Engineering Management Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about engineering and project management, technology forecasting and planning, productivity tools, and safety and security. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Working Through Challenges to Increase Supply Chain Efficiency

Posted September 06, 2020 12:00 AM by ahorner_22
Pathfinder Tags: radwell supply chain

There are many opportunities to increase supply chain efficiency. There are also many challenges. By working through some of the challenges with some practical methods, any organization can increase their supply chain efficiency.

Let’s start by exploring a few of the challenges.

Risk Management

Identifying risks within a system and rectifying those risks to minimize their effect promotes a healthy supply chain. Risk management should be happening at all levels of the supply chain.


Finding the right talent to product the right results is key. The right people will positively impact efficiency every day.

Cost Control

Costs related to the supply chain are always increasing. By managing around increases, the operation will be more efficient.

Where there are challenges there are potential solutions. Here are a few:

Become Cloud-based

Getting your operation cloud-based can go a long way towards increasing efficiency. Cloud-based means ease of access and sharing between employees and less storage space needed for paper record keeping.


Making communication simple and encouraging frequent communication is a big step in business efficiency. It may work best to work towards streamlining all communication systems.


Being able to utilize machine-based tools to automate tasks will increase efficiency. When you can remove the unpredictable aspects of the supply chain and replace them with solutions that happen automatically, it creates a more efficient system.

Hiring the Right Personnel

Meeting staffing goals based on a plan will result in people who are very connected to the system. When everyone is working towards the same goals, efficiency will increase. Hiring the right people impacts all the challenges listed above.

In any industry there are always going to be challenges to efficiency. By managing some of the basic aspects, any organization can increase the quality and consistency of the results within their operation.

Editor's note: This post is sponsored by Radwell International.

3 comments; last comment on 09/07/2020
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What If You Could Conduct Your Research in 25% Less Time?

Posted May 26, 2019 12:00 AM by Joe Kroog
Pathfinder Tags: data engineering information trends

Drowning in a sea of information. That’s become an eerily common theme across today’s engineering departments. The current trend is 40% increase in information available to engineers on a year-over-year basis is creating massive information overload. Engineering leaders know the best teams and companies must be able to quickly sort through and harness the authoritative knowledge and ignore or even suppress unvetted information.

At a time where engineering leaders are trying to achieve their revenue plan, increase team productivity while facilitating knowledge transfer, stay ahead of competition, meet regulations and control costs; information overload compounds the problem. Directly impacting each of these factors is information overload. 30-50% of an engineers’ time is spent searching for information. On average, engineers consult more than 13 different sources of information inside and outside the company to solve of a problem.

Engineering teams utilizing Engineering Workbench from IHS Markit have reduced research time to 5 – 10% of their time. In a single source and single search engine, engineers are discovering real answers to complex problems across vast sources of information and knowledge both inside and outside the organization – far beyond 13 sources; potential up to more than 400 different sources. Over 150 million authoritative documents in a single source – standards, engineering handbooks, patents, journal articles, plus internal documents.

One medical device company conducted a study of two user groups – the first conducting engineering operations the way they always have, the second replicating those same tasks but with using Engineering Workbench. The result, a 25 difference in engineering productivity when using Engineering Workbench. What do you do with that 25% gain – products are delivered on-time, you invest more in R&D, cost and waste are reduced thus increasing profitability, and the pressures of knowledge transfer and enabling your younger engineers to problem solve more efficiently.

Read the full article on IHS Markit Engineering Trends, Insights and Innovations.

7 comments; last comment on 06/04/2019
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3 Must-Know Trends Impacting Engineers Today

Posted March 24, 2019 12:01 AM by Joe Kroog

1 - Transformative Technologies – new insights surface on 8 major trends

Recently, IHS Markit identified eight transformative technologies in its report, “8 in 2018: The Top Transformative Technologies to Watch This Year,” that have the potential to impact the world around us in ways never before seen. These technologies are: Artificial Intelligence; Internet of Things(IoT); Cloud; Connectivity; Blockchain; Computer Vision; Ubiquitous Video; Robots & Drones. Read the full article on Engineering Trends, Insights & Innovations.

One of the most interesting debates I’ve been involved with recently is utilizing drones for visual inspection of concrete walls of nuclear power facilities, visual inspection of underground pipelines, and visual inspection of welds of storage tanks. Are we moving fast enough or too fast to adopt this technology? Please share your thoughts.

2 - New research finds average new product development exceeds budget by 120%

The average new product development project exceeds its schedule by 120 percent, according to the Center for New Product Development. Reasons for delayed product launches include: poor management of the development process, frequent design changes, lack of coordination among different functional areas, and resource shortages.

In “The Effect of Product Introduction Delays on Operating Performance,” Vinod Singhal, departmental editor for Production and Operations Management at Georgia Institute of Technology, and Kevin Hendricks, operations management professor at Wilfrid Laurier University analyzed the financial performance of over 450 publicly traded companies, across industries, that experienced product launch delays over a 16-year period. Read the full article on IHS Markit Engineering Trends, Insights & Innovations.

3 - How do you combat the fallacy of ‘Digital Native’ Millennials?

Millennials – those born roughly between 1980 and 1995 – now constitutes the largest generational cohort in the workforce. This change in the demographic trend has brought a number of new challenges and competitive risks for engineering firms:

  • Millennials tend to migrate between jobs frequently.
  • These young professionals are not “performance-driven.
  • Millennials are accepting information at face value regardless of the source.

Are engineering leaders doing enough to provide them with guided and vetted content to do their job efficiently? How can engineering leaders ensure they are keeping young recruits and stay engaged? What then can organizations do to motivate them? Read the full article on IHS Markit Engineering Trends, Insights & Innovations.

Companies are still scrambling to solve these challenges, some with HR leading the way, some with Engineering teams leading the way. What approaches to knowledge transfer and closing the knowledge gap are working in your organization? Please share your thoughts.

8 comments; last comment on 03/26/2019
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Vendor Managed Inventory: Five Things to Consider

Posted February 11, 2018 12:00 AM by ahorner_22
Pathfinder Tags: radwell VMI

After research, you’ve decided that vendor managed inventory might be the right solution for your operation. If you’re unsure what your next steps are to finalize a VMI vendor relationship, here are five things to consider before making your final decision on a vendor:

1- Senior Management Buy-in: For both the vendor and buyer, senior management acceptance and support of the program is the first step in a successful and working vendor managed inventory system. Without the support of senior management it will be very difficult for the VMI system to translate through the rest of the organization as a recognized and working program.

2- Experience: The vendor should be experienced in how to efficiently manage customer inventory to maximize potential efficiency and cost savings. Vendors that provide VMI should have systems in place to provide efficient VMI services. Vendors should also have advanced capabilities and tested systems in place to provide the proper level of client service. An automated materials handling system may provide the next level of VMI efficiency as well.

3- Training and Employee Knowledge and Acceptance: Employees must be on board for a VMI system to work. Be sure that systems are in place to provide training that works for your business operations. With proper training your employees will be fully engaged in making a VMI system successful and effective.

4- Partnership: A strong partnership between the vendor and the buyer is a key component to success with vendor managed inventory programs. In seeking a VMI system, focusing on providers that work as partners will produce the most effective results.

5- Follow Up: VMI providers should be able to provide follow up on a regular basis. A VMI vendor contact should work with their customers regularly and consultatively to continue to monitor and improve inventory operations.

Editor's note: This is a sponsored blog post from Radwell International.

1 comments; last comment on 02/12/2018
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Standards in Action: An Overview of the ISO Certification Process

Posted September 10, 2017 12:00 AM by ahorner_22
Pathfinder Tags: iso certification radwell

ISO Certification is a process that enhances business offerings. By showcasing how an organization meets certain standards, they announce to the world the highest level of quality, safety, and efficiency in their operations.

At Radwell International, Tom Foy, Corporate Training/ISO Manager has worked with all levels to facilitate the process of gaining ISO certifications. We spoke with Tom to discuss the process.

What is involved in achieving an ISO certification for a business?

The first phase is to build documentation to support your certification.

The next phase is to train all levels of managers and ensure they have everything they need to supply materials to their teams.

The final piece is to conduct audits. An internal audit is completed by a team based on the standards. The next audit is conducted by an outside company. Between audits, things get adjusted as needed.

How does an ISO certification affect employees?

It heightens the awareness of customer focus. It gives employees a feeling of empowerment.

How long does the certification process usually take for a business?

For a first certification, it usually takes nine months. For subsequent certifications, the process usually takes an average of six months.

What are the differences between the certifications (2008 v. 2015)?

2008: Required a quality manual as well as six separate necessary documents.

2015: Required some changed language, quality manual became optional, and it has 23 required documentations

Who is responsible for implementing ISO standards?

The ISO team and all management are responsible.

How does Radwell International's certification impact the customer experience?

To us, the certification is all about customer focus and quality. When we receive an ISO certification, there are benefits for our organization and our customers. It opens the door for a company to be exposed to new partners and new customers.

Editor's note: This is a sponsored blog post from Radwell International.

2 comments; last comment on 09/11/2017
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