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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.

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#1

Re: 3 Must-Know Trends Impacting Engineers Today

03/24/2019 11:18 PM

"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.

I see all these as symptoms of "not benefiting from the fruits of your labor". When you constantly work for someone else, never purchasing/using/consuming the products/produce of your labor, a disconnect develops between work and (home/personal) life. and that leads to discontent. Do you know where that saying, "You made your bed, now lie in it.", came from? It came from recognizing that your work has personal consequences. In those conditions, you will take your performance more seriously. But, when you never use/see your own output, that becomes irrelevant. Since your work has no personal significance, then loyalty/perseverance at a particle job gets lost rather quickly (Why am I here? What am I really doing? Maybe I'll try THAT for awhile.). Sure, they'll believe any sales pitch given them, because they want to believe it. There's no reason not to.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: 3 Must-Know Trends Impacting Engineers Today

03/25/2019 9:37 AM

This blog doesn't accurately represent the article it links to.

Quoting:

"Whether Millennials actually are any more inclined to “job hop” than prior generations is the subject of debate among social scientists. A recent Pew Research article by Richard Fry, for example, suggests, “Among the college-educated, Millennials have longer track records with their employers than Generation X workers did in 2000 when they were the same age as today’s Millennials.”

So the article says the direct opposite. Cool.

Also:

"Fred Filler, a product manager in the Engineering & Product Design Business at IHS Markit, points out that Millennials are often viewed as not being as “performance-driven” as prior generations. “They are seen as more ‘experience-driven.’"

So...not a fact, just an opinion.

I have seen previous studies and surveys that find Millenials overestimate their information/digital literacy abilities, and older generations underestimate that in themselves. There are of course other narratives here. But one would hope that aspiring engineers would know to look for professional materials to solve a challenge...not the stupidity farm of Twitter, which is cited.

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Re: 3 Must-Know Trends Impacting Engineers Today

03/25/2019 11:16 AM

The one trend I notice missing it the trend to follow trends, with trendy misinformation. We all know trends are superficial and soon forgotten, however, they have a tendency to place people and companies in eventual holes which become hard to dig out of.

Trends should be kept in their place; fashion. They already know what you are going to wear next summer/winter/spring/autumn and what colours you will wear. Planned a year in advance, at least. That is what keeps them in business, but trends in engineering and technology should stay well out in the periphery and never be allowed in. Having said that, one cannot change the mindset of those trained to have trends and expect trends to appear like clothing in the work place, It simply would not be hip or cool.

Cost saving, improved safety or quality, better work methods, better equipment to produce something, these are not trendy things, that is evolution taking place. Keep trends for women's/men's clothing, not the work place. It might catch on and then we are all up the proverbial river without a paddle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK2I73RPT-s

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Re: 3 Must-Know Trends Impacting Engineers Today

03/25/2019 3:39 PM

I know what you're saying. However, I believe "trends" are just a statistical data set. Neither a driver nor follower. Decisions based on trends alone, ARE superficial. But, trends showing where good decisions are going, is very useful. They key is to be mindful of how you make your decisions.

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Re: 3 Must-Know Trends Impacting Engineers Today

03/25/2019 1:24 PM

Millennials tend to jump jobs frequently, but there're two sides to the coin. Fewer companies are offering pensions to new employees and many are discontinuing contributing pensions to existing employees, so employees have little incentive to stay with a job if there is a better opportunity elsewhere.

"Key findings:

  • In 2017, only 16% of Fortune 500 companies offered a DB plan (traditional or hybrid) to new hires, down from 59% among the same employers back in 1998.
  • 51% of these companies still employ workers who are actively accruing pension benefits, and 93% of those who sponsored a DB plan in 1998 still manage plan obligations and assets.
  • There has been an uptick in plan freezes since the 2008 financial crisis among plans that were already closed to new hires. In 2008, 20% of companies that had offered a DB plan in 1998 had frozen their pensions and 19% had closed their primary plan to new entrants. By 2017, 42% sponsored a frozen plan and 24% had closed their primary plan.
  • More than half the pension sponsors in this analysis had a hybrid DB plan at some point, and 44% of them were still offering the same plan to new hires in 2017.
  • Certain industry sectors, as well as employers whose pensions are relatively small (as compared with their market capitalization) and/or well funded, are more likely to offer a traditional pension plan to new hires.
  • After eliminating a DB plan for new hires, most employers contribute more to the DC plan."

https://www.towerswatson.com/en/Insights/Newsletters/Americas/Insider/2018/02/evolution-of-retirement-plans-in-fortune-500-companies

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Re: 3 Must-Know Trends Impacting Engineers Today

03/25/2019 3:42 PM

:...but there're two sides to the coin.". Very true. It takes two to tango.

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Re: 3 Must-Know Trends Impacting Engineers Today

03/26/2019 12:45 PM

IMO the increased frequency of job hopping by Millennials and other age groups is largely caused by large employers no longer treating employees as long term investments to hold and grow over time. Smaller employers no longer have to compete with those benefits so they stop offering them as well. The drop in DB plans is symptomatic.

Millenials and Gen Xers have seen their parents and themselves lose jobs due to some strategic move to get short term boosts in share prices or seen jobs moved to low wage countries for pennies a piece cost savings. Smaller employers point to those events, honestly and not, to claim they can't afford better pay or benefits to keep costs competitive. In that environment why should there be loyalty.

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Re: 3 Must-Know Trends Impacting Engineers Today

03/26/2019 1:16 PM

There has been a long standing saying in industry. "If you want loyalty, buy a dog".

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