In a conversation with our technical program manager over the last several weeks I have come to the conclusion that Engineering AND Fast rarely belong in the same sentence! Or my expectation of how Engineers define “Fast” needed a major correction. When a customer expresses interest my emotional transactional side stands at attention as screams, “deliver it now”.
After spending time with the engineering and technical teams I have come to realize that four weeks for a sample is rather quick to them! The team echoed, “There are more important parameters than speed.”
So what are they? Here are the 3 things I learned that trumps ‘fast’ to engineers every day!
- Make it Right – not Right Now
Form, Fit, and Function. That’s what our engineers want to know. Does the sample match the customer’s specification? Does the sample interface with any matching components or assemblies? Does the sample match the specification and the drawing but still not fit?
While meeting deadlines are incredibly important, I learned that engineers would rather deliver two weeks late with a part that is accurate than deliver on time with a part that is not perfect. They want it on time, not fast!
Engineers have a specific skillset and often work with other engineers to add value to a project. They all value Partnership, Feedback and Technical Assistance during the course of a project. They are quick to listen to alternative raw materials, a process that will increase part accuracy and potentially reduce cost, and will trust suppliers who are looking to help, not simply make a buck. Every Engineer had limited bandwidth. Teaming up with value adding partners is much better than “fast”.
- Proof of Concept
When it comes to the sampling process the first question to ask is: Will this be a production or non-production sample. Non production will provide the form and fit, but perhaps not the function you need or Expect from a production sample. Engineers are a prideful group and when they deliver a part for sampling they are delivering a piece of themselves and they want it to represent their best. Given the choice, every engineer would prefer accolades about the product over timeliness every time.
What else can a solid team of manufacturing engineers add to your team?
Did you enjoy this post? Check out another Engineering post: "From Initial Design to a Quality Product."