As many baby boomers retire from manufacturing jobs, it is inevitable that younger people must come in and fill the ranks. At a recent event by SME and SVMI, Chico State Alumni and current SME Sac Valley Treasurer Ryan Greenehagen was sharing his goal of building a bridge between the Chico State Manufacturing Engineering program and employers in the Sacramento area. As he put it, we have the jobs and potential students need to know they are all but guaranteed a job here if they finish the Chico State program, and there are people here that will help. This is something near and dear to us, and not the first time a local effort to address the skills gap was mentioned here on the Managed Solutions blog. Because of passionate young people like Ryan, we will continue to have fresh ideas, creativity and innovation driving improvement in manufacturing.
On a recent trip visiting customers and prospects in the Orange County and Long Beach area, I was pleased to meet with several young engineers playing prominent roles in projects that would have a significant impact on their employers success. This wasn’t just at one customer or prospect, it was at most of them. The conversations are creative and constructive, allowing for some improvisation of the project specifications. It was real time proof that Ryan’s dream is possible.
What about thinking big and planning small?
Once a project is underway, you can and should retain some flexibility for emerging opportunities, and know when to appropriately defer them for a later phase. Up front though, thinking big and being audacious is a really important strategy. It is not always easy to look forward beyond the current needs, but it can lead to huge benefits or perhaps even better, save us from some prickly pain points. The little decisions we make today with hardware and software can hamstring efforts in the future if we don’t take into account other inevitable changes or other long term objectives. This is where these young engineers shine, they aren’t afraid to consider change, they quickly embrace new ideas, and they grew up around technology that was evolving seemingly faster than our ability to harness it at times.
The verdict: Big Results
As a result of creativity and thinking big, we see the quality of outcomes of projects improving. This is done by implementing improvements that are very close to what we are already addressing in the current plan, while also inoculating our solution with some prudent future proofing. These small planning steps, result in taking the extra low hanging fruit, leaving some of the larger and more audacious things for the future. All the while also avoiding stranding the resulting platform from being able to accommodate those big ideas.
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