Reinvent yourself

Those practicing control engineering among their job responsibilities have an inherent advantage over others in the workplace, since the profession, by definition, requires continuous improvement. This means that reinventing yourself to be even more relevant within your organization — as so many businesses require today — may be easier because of what you already know and do daily. Link to related resources.
By Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief May 1, 2009

Those practicing control engineering among their job responsibilities have an inherent advantage over others in the workplace, since the profession, by definition, requires continuous improvement. This means that reinventing yourself to be even more relevant within your organization — as so many businesses require today — may be easier because of what you already know and do daily.

Control engineering is full of uncommon sense, much of it obtained from control loop basics. Oh, if only more of the world would implement the core of our practice: measure, decide, actuate, and repeat.

Consultants and authors have made millions of dollars applying these same ideas to professional and personal development and in self-help books worldwide. Yet, you’ve known how it works all along.

Measure: In light of this realization, ask yourself : What measurements have become important for your organization and for your position in it?

When installing a new automated line or process, you have the opportunity to think about what sensors to apply and where to provide key data points about the process. As for your wider organization and your part in it, metrics of old, often rooted in local optimization, may or may not be as relevant. The focus today may be more on optimizing the organization or even a supply chain. Manufacturing remains a critical part and needs to be tightly integrated. Look around. You may need to advocate and teach the miracles of the control loop throughout your extended organization.

Decide: When it comes to deciding, be realistic . Look at resource constraints. Prioritize what needs doing and carve out time. Go back to the list and examine what needs to fall off based on available time, talent, and budgets, and then discuss that with stakeholders so expectations of those around you are grounded in reality.

Actuate: As you actuate the decisions, consider spring cleaning (if you haven’t already). As you clear out clutter, 1) Review what needs to be kept to satisfy legal and company requirements. 2) As you sort, seek opportunities for process improvement. Cleaning up isn’t “wasted” time because you are examining the processes that lead to the mess and are streamlining what needs changing. Recycle as you’re reinventing to augment your manufacturing sustainability metrics.

If you’re not already there, take your rightful place as hero within your organization. Exercise the control loop in all that you do. And repeat.

MHoske@cfemedia.com

ONLINE extra: Also read, related to this topic:

Skilled labor needed? Use an intern program for automation, controls, instrumentation

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Closing the Skills Gap

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Skill, habits, and attitudes are part of good employability skills, as the “How to do things” site explains .