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The Issues and Some Answers: Recommendations of the Working Groups The goal of the Symposium on Education for the Manufacturing World of the Future was to propose elements of an agenda that would revitalize and refocus manufacturing education and act as a catalyst for action by educators, employers, and practicing engineers. More specifically, in sponsoring this symposium the National Academy of Engineering hoped to encourage: . · Engineering and business schools to consider developing initiatives In manufacturing education; · Companies to articulate their educational requirements for man- ufacturing professionals; · Local, state, and national governments to examine their roles in supporting manufacturing education; and · Schools and companies to reinforce cooperation in manufacturing education and research. To these ends, symposium participants met in separate sessions to consider five diverse aspects of manufacturing education: Structuring the Manufacturing Education System Industry-University Cooperation in Education for Manufacturing Industry-University Cooperation in Research for Manufacturing Keeping Current in a Manufacturing Career National Priorities in Manufacturing Education The working groups acted as a forum for discussing present efforts, 93
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94 WORKII!iG GROUPS identifying broader needs and opportunities, and "sounding out" new ideas and untapped opportunities for revitalizing and strengthening manufacturing education. In addition, each group sought to formulate recommendations for action by both those who educate professionals and those who manage and operate manufacturing systems. The small group settings stimulated the flow of ideas for transfer of experience and practice between the factory and the educational system, while offering a way for both educators and manufacturers to articulate their needs and capabilities related to manufacturing education. The following reports of the working groups were authored by the chairmen of the respective groups based on their perceptions of where agreement was reached and on what basis. Just as important, the reports also specify where no agreement was possible and articulate the basis for disagreements. Chairmen of the five working groups listed above were Robert Ayres, James F. Lardner, John Wilson, M. Eugene Merchant, and Jordan J. Baruch, respectively. The groups' members are listed in Appendix C. Structuring the Manufacturing Eclucation System The technologies of manufacturing are changing in three ways that call into question the usefulness of current education for manufacturing. First, a revolution is under way in manufacturing systems, so that both process and discrete parts manufacturing will depend increasingly on a wide range of technologies such as computers, robotics, artificial intelligence, and flexible automation techniques. The underlying prin- ciples for these mechanisms are, however, traditionally taught in different engineering curricula, resulting in an educational format inadequate for the needs of those who will have to understand the new manufacturing technologies. Second, the use of new materials in manufactured products may force extensive changes in manufacturing systems over the next 15 years. For example, the manufacture of large-scale integrated circuits, optical fibers, and ceramic engine parts will require a set of manufac- turing skills significantly different from those needed to assemble the current generation of products. Third, much of the economic potential of computers in manufacturing systems arises from their capability to establish an improved infor- mation flow between financial management and activity on the plant floor. Those who design and operate the plant floor, however, must be capable of designing and operating information systems that link the plant floor to the front office.
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ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS 95 With these changes in mind, this working group was asked to investigate ways in which to establish and sustain an educational system in manufacturing engineering. THE PROBLEMS AND ISSUES Should the content and structure of professional education change in response to current changes in manufacturing technologies and organizations? After agreeing that the answer to this question is yes, the working group proceeded to discuss the design and implementation of a new educational system in manufacturing engineering and to answer such questions as: What institutional and financial resources are required for a viable program? What are the most effective ways to organize and implement a manufacturing education system? Underlying this discussion was an issue of particular importance to group members from industry: What kind of manufacturing engineer will be needed in the future? This consideration raised a controversy within the group that was not resolved. Some members felt that universities should provide industry with educated individuals capable of evaluating alternative proposals, choosing the right vendor, and organizing maintenance and service. In other words, the educational product sought is not so much the individual who will design, adapt, or install a new manufacturing system, but one who is able to deal effectively with the specialized outside organizations that will design and maintain manufacturing systems in the future. Other members of the group felt that universities should provide a more fundamental knowledge of manufacturing processes which, with experience, will develop into the ability to select and implement effectively vendor- provided technology. The question certainly deserves further consid- eration. Another unresolved controversy concerned the level of manufac- turing engineering sophistication to be taught at the bachelor's and master's levels. It was not possible, of course, to evaluate fully the trade-o~s that must be made between four- and five-year manufacturing curricula. The group did, however, recognize the trade-offs between engineering fundamentals and a manufacturing systems education per se, and theory and applications in engineering more broadly. There was general agreement that "systems integration" cannot be taught effectively below the master's level and that a wide range of funda- mental skills needs more attention at the bachelor's level. In addition, undergraduate engineering students should: · See manufacturing examples and solve manufacturing problems in traditional disciplinary coursework,
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96 WORKING GROUPS · Be exposed to system and product costing, · Have some integrative, cross-disciplinary project experience, · Have some experience working in groups, and · Be oriented toward problem solving rather than rote answering. It is probably fair to say that there is not any single best type of education for manufacturing. Different kinds of institutions will pro- vide, of course, different kinds and levels of manufacturing engineering education; some will specialize in undergraduate training and others will focus primarily on graduate education. There is certainly room for two-, four-, five-, and six-year programs, but the group did not try to resolve how all these will fit together. The group also tried to identify the unique core content of the manufacturing engineering discipline as opposed to other engineering disciplines. Perhaps 90 percent of the curriculum of a future manufac- turing engineering educational system is already available from other departments, especially mechanical and industrial engineering, and to some extent electrical, chemical, and civil engineering. Is there then a critical 10 percent unique to manufacturing engineering, and if so, what is it? Or, stated differently: What underlying science content of manufacturing might serve as a basis for research? Again, the group was unable to resolve these questions, but most group members agreed that the primary research direction desired in manufacturing is that taken toward more cross-disciplinary 'isystems integration" work. Finally, it was recognized that manufacturing engineering education will probably emerge at many universities as an interdisciplinary program at the graduate level, a likely direct result of funding for faculty research in manufacturing. At the undergraduate level, manu- facturing engineering might initially surface through the addition of specialized coursework and projects to existing curricula in the de- partments of mechanical, industrial, and electrical engineering. De- velopment of manufacturing engineering as a durable, separate engi- neering discipline will likely require convergence of these two trends. RECOMMENDATIONS The working group recommends that educators recognize that: · Undergraduate students have a critical need for knowledge of manufacturing processes and process selection criteria, with emphasis on the process in the context of the overall manufacturing system. · Undergraduate students have a critical need for implementation training beyond design problem solving, with special emphasis on producibility.
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ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS 97 Although U.S. schools of engineering may emphasize problem solving more than schools in some other countries, problem solving, especially in design, needs more emphasis in undergraduate education. In particular, a greater focus is needed on integration between the design end of the problem and the manufacturing (or producibility) end of the problem. This feature is generally lacking in existing conventional engineering courses. It is further recommended that educational institutions recognize that: · All manufacturing students have a critical need for "people" skills, especially leadership and communication. Often missing in a conven- tional engineering education, these skills are probably best developed through project courses-that is, group projects in which students learn to accommodate one another, to cooperate, to subdivide prob- lems, and to schedule. · There is a faculty gap in integrative (i.e., process, design, and systems) and cross-disciplinary problem solving and a lack of focus on faculty development in these areas. Finally, it is recommended that industry and government, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), recognize that: · Since faculty development depends on availability of a critical mass of research opportunities, it is especially important that research monies be available to support interdisciplinary and integrative re- search. Institutions develop in accordance with incentive structures. In universities, faculty development is driven by the availability of research funds in particular areas. Obviously, a very close connection exists between the recognition of interesting intellectual problems and the availability of funds, but it is often difficult to determine which comes first. In the case of universities, there will be no significant development of faculty capable of handling systems integration and developing manufacturing science unless funds are available for that specific purpose. Funding agencies, and NSF in particular, prefer to support "bite- size" projects of $30,000-$50,000 and provide support for perhaps one graduate student per year. It is true that some projects have longer life two- and three-year projects are possible- but these are increas- ingly scarce. Under these circumstances, it is unlikely that a proposal to develop a science of manufacturing, integrating factors at all levels of aggregation and involving a number of different disciplines, would survive the existing peer review processes.
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98 WORKING CROUPS Industry-University Cooperation in Educatior~ for Manufacturing In a field as industry-dependent as manufacturing, it is imperative to establish and maintain strong ties between universities and industries. Cooperative programs in engineering education, combining classroom studies with intervals of industrial experience, have existed since early in this century. In many industries and regions of the country, however, these close ties have not existed in the manufacturing area. Over the last few years, initiatives have sprung up in university- industry cooperation in numerous fields, particularly in high-growth fields with strong commercial interest such as biotechnology and microelectronics. Recognizing needs and opportunities in the area of manufacturing, several firms and universities have experimented with new forms of industry-academia cooperation, going well beyond traditional concepts. For example, innovative programs have been launched at such schools as Lehigh, Rensselaer, and Carnegie-Mellon, and the IBM Corporation has fueled the challenge to universities to increase their efforts with grants for program development in manu- facturing systems engineering. Added impetus has been provided by new state and federal programs; one example is the Engineering Research Centers of the National Science Foundation. The task of this working group was to assess the benefits and perils of such programs, to highlight successes, to propose ways to reduce obstacles to future successes, and to provide a realistic assessment of what university-industry cooperation in manufacturing education might achieve. This task also meant seeking answers to related questions such as: What sequence of events is necessary to establish industry- university cooperative programs in education? To what extent do facilities and infrastructure account for inadequacies in university- based education for manufacturing? TlIE PROBLEMS AND ISSUES General Issues A number of general issues in industry-university relations set the context for cooperative efforts in education for manufacturing. First, there is the lingering mutual suspicion arising from the different cultures and, to some degree, the different value systems that industry and university represent. In the 1960s and 1970s, university-industry relations were not only suspect, they were often adversarial.
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ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS 99 Second, even as we are moving toward a much more sympathetic atmosphere between the two communities, practical considerations such as time frames and resources still tend to inhibit cooperation. The time frames of planning and operations are far different in industry and universities. A university typically takes the long-term view, which is appropriate to education and the search for the advancement of human knowledge. Industry, however, must focus primarily on real- time, immediate problems. A distinguished university expects to live forever; the life of a firm is much more perilous. While in some ways universities are more stable, they are also weaker in some respects. Research resources of both industry and universities are limited, but they are especially limited on university campuses. Third, related to the questions of time frames and resources is the issue of sustained participation. Frequently, criticism is voiced that industry support is not stable enough. Because of the nature of commitments to students and to faculty, a longer time frame is required on university campuses in terms of support and funding than in the more flexible year-to-year planning of industry. A fourth issue concerns attitudes toward knowledge and information. Industrial firms tend to think in terms of proprietary information, while universities encourage and defend the free flow of information. For some collaborative efforts between industry and academia, concern about proprietary information may be a serious obstacle to success. Overall, experience suggests that it is an exaggerated and a diminishing problem, but it still exists and provides an excuse for avoiding closer cooperation. It is much less demanding to argue about how to handle proprietary information than it is to find ways to promote cooperation between industry and universities. A fifth issue is the problem of the science and engineering language as it is used in both cultures. Although everyone supposedly speaks the same language, each uses it differently. Differences in what words mean and how terminology is used create barriers to industry's and universities' understanding of one another's problems. As the rela- tionship grows between the two, the need for translation and interpre- tation will diminish. At present, however, a large part of time spent together is still used to establish a basis for effective communication. Finally, there is a basic problem of differences in incentive structures, and the fact that industry and university people dance to rather different tunes. Universities tend to recognize and reward individual achieve- ment and promote heterogeneity, while industry places greater em- phasis on group achievement, material rewards, and homogeneity. Although none of these differences between industrial firms and
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100 WORKING GROUPS universities is likely to change significantly, a tremendous benefit can be realized by increased cooperation between these two kinds of institutions. Existing examples of successful cooperation leave no doubt that relations can be improved locally and in aggregate at the national level, perhaps by a quantum amount. The key is to focus on specific programs and provide specific incentives so that barriers to cooperation are minimized. Universities are certainly ready to partic- ipate as evidenced by the vigorous and widespread responses to the new Engineering Research Centers program of the National Science Foundation and the program for manufacturing systems engineering curricula sponsored by IBM. A Specific Issue In discussions of education for manufacturing, one oft-heard, emo- tional issue concerns the perceived low image and status of the manufacturing engineer (or any engineer who deals with manufacturing problems). Industry and universities perceive the excitement and challenge of manufacturing quite differently, although even industry is far from universally supportive with rewards, money, and respon- sibility. Certain steps can be taken to increase the prestige of engineers involved in manufacturing, both in industry and on the university campuses, including perhaps widely publicized statements-encour- aged by the National Academy of Engineering that, indeed, manu- facturing has changed. The message should take an appropriate form and be delivered from selected platforms by industry leaders, university leaders, and the Academy leadership. It should reach not only a general audience but also the schools of business and management. Representatives from industry will not change universities by going on campus and telling students or faculty about the marvels of manufacturing today and the challenges it represents. As Robert Cannon (in this volume) points out, a "conversion of faculty interest" must be based on faculty understanding of what is the best manufac- turing practice industry has to offer, what is needed, what the problems are, and what kind of intellectual challenges and career opportunities manufacturing represents. There is a persuasive argument for con- verting the faculty first because in terms of total student exposure (ranging from college freshmen to graduate students working on thesis projects), faculty members, not the occasional campus lecturer, have the greatest opportunity to influence students. A student's summer work experience in industry is seldom equal to faculty influence.
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ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS 101 RECOMMENDATIONS National Faculty Advanced Training Program Discussion about recent advances in manufacturing and the need for diffusion of knowledge about these advances led to an intriguing and exciting idea: establishment of a national faculty advanced training program in manufacturing. This concept, which is not as elaborate or as complicated as it may sound, will give university faculty an opportunity to learn firsthand why manufacturing is exciting, why it is a challenge, and how it has changed. Thus this working group recommends that: · Individual companies arrange to conduct one-week manufacturing seminars for 20-30 engineering and business faculty members at a time. Possibly held in the summer period when faculty can commit themselves to attend for a week, these seminars should be a high-quality presen- tation of the nature and the problems of manufacturing. More specif- ically, seminars would elucidate why university professors should be aware of what is going on in manufacturing and why their students might wish to seek employment in this area. Expenses for seminars would be covered in part by the sponsoring companies. Incentives for companies to support this activity include the opportunity to influence the education of future employees. What might help define and encourage such a seminar program in manufacturing and give it coherence? It is recommended that: · The Academy complex consider taking a leading role in fostering this program and creating both its substance and structure. Because of the varied nature of manufacturing activities in the United States, there appears to be a need for the careful and thoughtful design of regional seminars. Travel distances may impede attendance for some people and subsequent cooperation between companies and universities. For example, it seems foolish to hold a seminar on chip- making in the Silicon Valley for faculty surrounded by midwestern metalworking industries where the only chips are metallic shavings. The programs of advanced training seminars should continue for three to five years, or until they have reached a significant percentage of all engineering and business school faculty in the United States. Manufacturing Curricula Both academia and industry question the pertinence and realism of what is being taught in engineering schools. With the exception of
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102 WORKING GROUPS certain areas of engineering research, the problem is widespread in areas dealing with manufacturing. Are engineering faculty members becoming too theoretical and too analytical? Could it be that one generation of analysts is teaching a second generation of analysts who in turn will teach another generation of engineering faculty, and yet none of them will have ever even manufactured anything secondhand? Although this group did not reach a full consensus, it was concluded that the present situation is not too bad. An analytical capability is expected from universities and a practical hands-on capability from industry. These two groups may not be fluent in each other's language and may not fully understand each other's problems, but they have the skills, knowledge, and experience which, when put together, can become a powerful resource for improving productivity and the competitive position of U.S. industry. How then can efforts in the university world be brought closer to current manufacturing practices and problems? One possible strategy is the use of industry advisory boards. When properly chartered and directed to offer broad guidance on content and direction of education and research, they can be very helpful. In addition, individual practicing engineers can serve on campus in more ways than simply as guests who appear occasionally as role models for students. They could, for example, assist faculty members with problem and project definition. The traditional cooperative education (co-op) programs and senior projects are also valuable ways of stimulating exchanges between industry and the university community. Co-op programs can open to young engineers vistas not accessible in any other way. Fortunately, co-ops are widely recognized as beneficial and are a part of many strong educational programs. They lend themselves well to a manu- facturing-related education. Unfortunately, senior projects are disap- pearing simply because no funding and no faculty are available to support such projects. Senior projects are one of the most expensive undergraduate activities and thus are the most vulnerable to budget cuts. Yet, these projects are a superior means of bringing together the various disciplines of engineering into a comprehensive whole. A properly designed senior project provides the integrative environ- ment that industry finds lacking in most engineering schools. Efforts to reinstate senior projects into the curriculum as part of an engineering education relevant to manufacturing should be encouraged. This working group also found that too frequently the team nature of manufacturing is neglected in the university environment. Group activities should be an essential part of the manufacturing curriculum.
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ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS 103 The manufacturing problems studied on the campus may not be realistic, but the human relations problems that arise in multidiscipli- nary efforts certainly can be! While it is important that universities have a certain amount of modern manufacturing hardware in their labs, no university can afford to have its own modern factory. Thus alternative means are required to provide a real picture of the complexity, breadth, and depth of manufacturing, starting with product design and ending with a manu- facturing operation servicing the product in the field. Computer models, for example, can portray some of the real complexities of manufac- turing. Via simulation, manufacturing problems can be relayed to university campuses; they do not require manufacturing hardware for learning and for research. However, real data must be put into the model and that industry should be able to supply. Video is an another important means of conveying realistic images. The technological capabilities are available to make video real-time and interactive. Universities and firms should exploit video technology further to extend the effective size and extent of university laboratories. The ferment currently under way in manufacturing-related education raises then a number of questions: Is there a single best model for a curriculum? Should there be a strictly prescribed manufacturing en- gineering curriculum? Should it be only a graduate program? Should manufacturing be an option within existing degree programs? Should it be developed as an autonomous, separately accredited program? This group concluded that, given the diversity of industrial sectors and geographic regions of the United States, the rapidly evolving nature of industry and its problems, and the various levels of sophis- tication in the current industrial environment, the response to this challenge demands a pluralistic approach. Moreover, action on several levels in the educational system is necessary. It is unrealistic and unwise to propose a national, standard curriculum. Rather, it is more feasible to build on the strengths of each university and region and provide opportunities for addressing manufacturing in a variety of ways. While this is a time for diverse experiments by individual institutions, good opportunities for initiatives by groups of firms and universities probably exist as well. Such consortia could be a particularly useful mechanism for firms and schools not having large resources. In fact, some larger firms may prefer to develop or expand in-house programs of postgraduate education for engineers. For smaller firms, more extensive university training programs may be the only practical solution.
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106 WORKING GROUPS the "best effort," which is standard in university research contracts. University personnel need incentives to engage in useful research. Incentives could include more refereed journals, more dollars for awards for young scientists, a more active exchange between industries and universities, and more support for co-op programs. RECOMMENDATIONS This working group recommends that: · A message be transmitted nationally on the seriousness and high priority of the manufacturing problem. The high priority of and potential for joint efforts by the university and industry research communities in manufacturing must be well publicized at both the university and industry levels. · A better data base be compiled on current activities in manufac- turing research. There is a strong sense that industry is unaware of a wealth of resources existing in the various technical departments of engineering colleges. A better system of exchanging information would enable representa- tives of an individual firm or an industry association looking for help in a research effort to know where to go. · The need for more aggressive participation by academia in man- ufacturing research be publicized. This message has to be transmitted generally and translated into practical and specific terms of where constructive things can be done. Today, the usual transmission of the message about manufacturing in the press is, "Company 'X' has gone out of business because of external competition," with few proposals offered about constructive responses. · Some accounting methods be addressed. As a practical matter, firms take research efforts seriously only when they understand the actual bottom-line benefits. Over the long term, this means that as university-industry consortia are promoted, the engineering division of the university and the business schools should both be involved. Group members differed on how that involvement should go forward, but they did agree that if the people who will undertake the financing, accounting, and management of manufacturing and manufacturing research are not engaged, a serious aspect of
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ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS manufacturing technology implementation, from view, will not be considered. 107 il ndustry's point of · More government funding be sought for existing manufacturing research programs. The manufacturing problem is a systems problem. The use of a systems approach to manufacturing to solve the systems problem should permeate all research activities and research results, but it is a larger problem than some individual industries can tackle. Since the needs for such research projects and facilities often extend beyond university- level regular funding, the national interest clearly dictates that existing manufacturing research programs remain fully funded, enjoy a regular growth in appropriations, and develop cooperatively with industry. · Tax incentives continue to be improved for university-industry - cooperation, particularly with regard to research. The jury is still out with regard to the effects of such tax incentives on research spending. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that the incentives are effective, and that additional incentives would also have a marked and positive result. · Manufacturing engineering research be funded at an early point, as curriculum changes at engineering schools usually follow from research projects being undertaken by individual professors. Usually, a critical mass of research is required to generate material that can be taught to students. Thus, if manufacturing engineering research is adequately funded, curriculum development will come automatically. · A more well-developed theoretical basis for manufacturing-one that encompasses a systems approach be devised. Keeping Current in a Manufacturing Career Those who work in manufacturing usually find it neither appropriate nor possible to become a full-time student or a full-time educator. The obligations of family and career and the costs of tuition make it untenable for most people to break away from their present job without severely disrupting both their professional and personal lives. Yet these manufacturing professionals are being inundated by information on new technologies that eclipse the production processes they know well, management practices that challenge all the lessons they were
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108 WORKING GROUPS taught, and investment decisions that defy evaluation by the standard techniques. For the ranks of manufacturing professionals that is, the engineers, managers, and finance officers who make decisions in a manufacturing firm keeping current in their manufacturing career is crucial if they- and their firms-are to prosper in the manufacturing world of the future. Only easier access to more educational opportunities in more flexible formats at a lower cost per student will permit manufacturing professionals to harness the potential of the new manufacturing technologies, make and sell quality products, and have a satisfying career all the while. This working group examined the manufacturing career by seeking answers to three questions posed in its charter: (1) Why does anyone go into manufacturing as a career? (2) How does one maintain the vitality of a manufacturing career? and (3) What is needed in a continuing education program adequate to serve the diverse needs of manufacturing professionals? THE PROBLEMS, ISSUES, AND RECOMMENDATIONS Without continuing education, our national manufacturing capabili- ties and excellence will decline. It is not only a question of keeping current, but also one of becoming current. The recent rapid rate of change in manufacturing has created a large group of manufacturing professionals whose skills have been made obsolete. Thus this working group addressed the issues involved in bringing these individuals up to speed as well as keeping those who are current in that state. Correcting a Poor Image In undertaking its mandate, the group defined the critical issues and the actions needed to resolve the three questions posed earlier. The first question, however- "Why does anyone go into manufacturing as a career?" was immediately changed to "Why don't more first-class engineers go into and stay in manufacturing careers?" It is not only a question of getting into a manufacturing career; it is also one of staying in that career. The working group felt as well that the original question implied that only runners-up go into manufacturing careers. A review of the range of contributing factors pointed to one obvious critical issue: in this country, manufacturing has a poor image and manufacturing careers have a poor status. To upgrade this image, industry (both individual firms and industrial associations) and profes
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ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS 109 signal societies must share the excitement of today's manufacturing. Potential candidates for engineering careers must hear more about the "action" in manufacturing today, and primary and secondary school teachers, as well as the general public, must be aware that real and significant career development opportunities exist in manufacturing. Industry needs to take one further action. Firms must bear witness to the value of the present manufacturing personnel and structure good professional career paths in manufacturing. Furthermore, these de- velopments should be publicized to all current and potential employees to let the community at large know that real professional career paths and opportunities exist in their company for manufacturing profes- sionals. Staying Current How does one maintain the vitality of a manufacturing career? Manufacturing engineers face the same threat of obsolescence as all engineers, but keeping current in a manufacturing career in this time of rapid change is even more difficult than usual. Some engineers seem to resist adjustments to new technologies, but most wish to stay current and yet are unaware of how to go about it. In examining the incentives for both employers and individual engineers to stay current and the role of employers in providing such, it became evident that having the incentive to keep current is just as important as the availability of continuing education. This observation raises two issues. First, employers fail to evaluate the educational needs of manufacturing professionals to identify the skills or education they lack. An excellent prescription for doing just that is presented by Robert M. Anderson (in this volume), and this working group endorses his prescription. It thus recommends that: · Employers use Anderson's prescription as a basis for this evalu- ation, being very certain to involve the engineer in the evaluation. It is crucial that such an evaluation not be "management only" and that the engineer participate in identifying gaps and how they should be filled. Subsequently, the company must follow through and work with the professional to fill the identified gaps. The second issue is that many manufacturing professionals lack a sense of responsibility about the need to maintain the vitality of their careers in manufacturing. This attitude, however, is not totally the fault of the professional; generally, he or she has had no incentive to feel this sense of responsibility. More often than not, the individual
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110 WORKING GROUPS has moved out of manufacturing to advance his or her career or to maintain professional vitality. Thus it is recommended that: · Industries, universities, and professional societies provide realistic incentives for professionals to maintain the vitality in their manufac- turing careers. These incentives should include existing incentives such as certification. For example, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers offers manufac- turing engineers a series of examinations to acquire certification voluntarily (see Brummett, in this volume), and such programs may merit greater recognition from industry as a real measure of competence in the field. Clearly, greater recognition of certification as a measure of professional competence and support for those who pursue it will serve as a real incentive for an engineer to become and to stay certified. Other incentives to keep current might include tuition support or release time to attend continuing education activities. It is recom- mended that: · Further innovative incentives be sought to encourage professionals to maintain the vitality in their manufacturing careers. Continuing Education What is needed in a continuing education program adequate to serve the diverse needs of manufacturing professionals? This question touches upon a number of diverse issues, for example: the different needs of the chemical versus the electronics industries; whether the employees of larger manufacturing firms have an advantage over the employees of smaller machine shop-scale firms; the value of full-time continuing education courses versus intensive short courses; and the value of the "nuts and bolts"-type courses now available. Consideration of these issues led to two observations by the working group. First, in firms where continuing education for manufacturing professionals is a recognized priority, the demand for such education quickly outstrips the ability of the firm to either develop the courses in-house or support course attendance elsewhere. Second, manufacturing professionals need an opportunity not now available- to take "refresher" courses in the scientific and technolog- ical principles newly important to manufacturing applications. Only by understanding the flow of changes taking place around them can they contribute to making those changes happen and learn to innovate within the integrated system.
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ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS 111 Despite these insights, the provision of continuing education remains a problem of substantial proportions across the spectrum of manufac- turing industries. The key issue is that there is no system for continuing education for manufacturing professionals equal in scope and effec- tiveness to that existing for entry education into manufacturing careers through the university system. Thus it is recommended that: · The National Academy of Engineering or the Manufacturing Studies Board of the National Research Council conduct a study to define a system for the continuing education of manufacturing profes- sionals. Such a study should involve strong industry participation, including industrial associations, as well as the participation of profes- sional societies, universities, service organizations, and other educa- tional agents. For a successful study, industry must specify early in the process the features it perceives as needed for a continuing education system. These can then be debated and refined and the study can define and structure a system having the desired features. Clearly, no one of the groups listed in this recommendation can by themselves define and operate a continuing education system. The system and the study must include all these groups to be effective. National Priorities in Manufacturing Education Education for manufacturing has not been a social priority in the United States for the past quarter century. As a result, the number of manufacturing education programs has remained very small, and the prestige of being either a student or an educator in manufacturing has been similarly small. In the face of increasingly proficient international competition, concern for the quality, prestige, and extent of manufacturing in the United States has risen to the forefront as a technological and social priority. Consequently, many new university programs will be estab- lished across the country over the next several years. Many people, however, have questioned whether new university programs are either an appropriate or a sufficient response to the national need for increasing manufacturing expertise. As the use of new manufacturing technology transforms the profile of skills needed to operate and manage a factory, job definitions and work structures will evolve as well. It is still an open question whether more skilled, less skilled, or differently skilled people are needed. At
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112 WORKING GROUPS this stage of the national wave of manufacturing education develop- ment, it is important to consider whether the programs in operation and the programs on the drawing board will be appropriate to national needs a decade or two from now. The task of this working group was to speculate on the types and number of programs needed, their value in the spread of new knowl- edge, their accessibility for working professionals, and their ability to adapt to the continual change certain to take place in manufacturing and information technologies until the next century. The recommen- dations of this group were addressed to federal, state, and local agencies who fund and regulate education programs; prospective students who must have better information about the manufacturing education options available; and any organization that is considering setting up its own manufacturing education program outside of a traditional university curriculum. THE PROBLEMS AND ISSUES In arriving at a set of national priorities in manufacturing education, the group began by attempting to define manufacturing engineering, how one learns it, and what this involves. Group members repre- senting academia, government, both sides of Congress and the exec- utive branch, industry, consumers of engineering, and suppliers of engineering recognized that everyone participating in manufacturing engineering is having a problem. The working group generally agreed that manufacturing engineers must have a thorough grounding in fundamentals. With this background, they are then able to shift their activities as changes are made in technology, in the demands on the manufacturing system, and in the potential for manufacturing. More and more the task of manufacturing involves not just unit processes or manufacturing elements, but also manufacturing subsystems and systems, and these pose some very special problems. Engineering schools in general have an adequate number of appli- cants, although few overall in manufacturing engineering. Furthermore, the quality of the students and the general health of engineering education seem good. Many schools are initiating programs in manu- facturing engineering, but they are facing problems. One problem identified quite early by the group is that a good faculty member in manufacturing engineering is an asset not only to a school but also to a manufacturing company. Therefore, perhaps more than in other fields of engineering, the schools and the industry are faced
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ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS 113 simultaneously with the tasks of competing and collaborating- a conflict that must be resolved. A model for the clinical practice of manufacturing engineering can be based in part on that used for the clinical practice of medicine. Much of the underpinning for the modern clinical practice of medicine in the United States stems from the support, direction, and intellectual involvement of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For manufac- turing, there is no equivalent to NIH in the federal, state, or local governments despite the fact that manufacturing is as much a profit- making, private enterprise as the physician's health care practice. In manufacturing, too, there are strong reasons for society to participate in ensuring excellence in the United States, ranging from jobs created or saved to the central role that manufacturing plays in establishing both a standard of living and quality of life, our defense posture; and even our national pride. RECOMMENDATIONS Based on a strong consensus that society, in addition to the companies involved, has a stake in the excellence of our manufacturing enterprise, the group recognized that a mechanism is needed so that society can share the cost of developing the resources necessary for excellence in manufacturing. It is therefore recommended that: · The National Science Foundation, which in Fiscal Year 1985 has only a $7.5 million budget for manufacturing, significantly increase its funding for the support of manufacturing engineering. Just as NIH has the resource of the teaching hospitals, an equivalent is needed in industry. It is therefore recommended that: · A national priority be industry-university collaboration to assure the relevancy of research and the availability of industrial facilities for manufacturing education. This collaboration can be exercised through the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other orga- nizations influential in industry. This does not mean that industry directs the research and education; only that closer collaboration can acquaint faculty and students with industry's problems, particularly with those of the future. Research and education start to pay off especially when oriented to anticipated future developments. Salary disparities between academia and industry are a major issue within the profession nationally. For example, an assistant professor
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114 WORKING GROUPS in manufacturing engineering today may earn $27,000 a year, while his counterpart in industry may earn 50 percent more. It is recommended that: · Steps be taken, with the help of industry, to either provide funding to make up that differential or create a system of side employment or a program that will permit qualified industrial manufacturing profes- sionals to serve as faculty members in the universities. The primary value of research in manufacturing engineering is to the industries themselves. It is therefore recommended that: · Industry sectors work out mechanisms, as they have in some specialized fields such as semiconductors and petroleum refining, to provide adequate nongovernmental sources of funding for research and other manufacturing-related activities at universities. A bill submitted in 1984 to the U.S. Congress (Senate 1286) to support manufacturing delegates a set of research activities to the Department of Commerce. This working group believes it is appropriate for the National Academy of Engineering to suggest such legislation. It is also recommended that: · The National Academy of Engineering use its charter to take an aggressive posture to encourage implementation of government policies that support manufacturing research, education, and related activities. The need for an education for engineers and others involved in manufacturing does not stop at the university gate. In fact, productive learning continues after engineering students are employed by industry, and particularly when they participate in a program of continuing education. In much the same way, finance officers, personnel officials, and corporate lawyers should as well broaden their knowledge of manufacturing to increase the nation's competitiveness. Unfortunately, recent changes in the tax law reduce the incentives for engineers and other professionals to pursue an education to broaden their base or to extend their knowledge in the field of- manufacturing. It is therefore recommended that: · The tax law be adjusted to give professionals in manufacturing, whether they be engineers, managers, or finance officers, incentives to pursue continuing education and to broaden their background in manufacturing. Many in our society are unfamiliar with technology. Many younger people have no idea of the relevancy of technology to their life and
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ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS 115 rarely know how the things they take for granted are made. It is therefore recommended that: · The Commerce Department be encouraged to establish a program for the public's understanding of technology, including manufacturing, in collaboration with industry and the media. This program should emphasize educational activities for students, from primary school children to high school seniors. This program could, for example, arrange for primary school children to see how bread is baked on a mass production basis, or urban children could visit a farm to see the amazing amount of technology being used today. Many young farm people are already familiar with farm equipment, but they may not be acquainted with a new factory to generate alcohol from corn. Such a factory is becoming an important factor in determining the price of corn, and it uses some innovative technologies. For example, in one factory even the carbon dioxide and excess heat are used to grow lettuce hydroponically, at a rate of 20,000 heads a day. The National Association of Manufacturers could also encourage its members to host visits and tours of their plants for primary and secondary school students. Finally, it is critical that students at all stages learn why mathematics, physics, and other sciences that underlie manufacturing are important and appreciate their value in everyday terms. Students should graduate from secondary school with an understanding of the role and essence of manufacturing in our society. This would encourage students to recognize manufacturing as a possible field of study in their university program. It is therefore recommended that: · A concerted effort be made to demonstrate to state and local boards of education that familiarity with manufacturing processes is an important component of both primary and secondary education.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: