ASQ - Statistics Division

Rediscovery of the Engineering Function as a Critical Factor in Customer Satisfaction – Mini Paper Appearing in Winter 1991 Newsletter

Abstract: According to a 1985 U.S. government report, the shortcomings in the commercialization of new technology are one of the primary causes for the decline in U.S. competitiveness. The problems resides in that manufacturing is not competitive when compared to other developed countries, in part because the US is slow to apply new process technologies. Today's need is the rediscovery of the engineering function. The engineering function must: maintain excellence through leadership, stewardship and innovation of facilities, process and functional manufacturing technologies, focus on the competitive business needs, and learn to apply and transfer technology quickly and effectively. The engineering function has greatest impact on providing competitive facilities, protecting the environment, ensuring product quality, ensuring safety, and contributing to job security and earnings growth. In Du Pont every improvement initiative starts with focusing on satisfying the stakeholders (external customers, employees, shareholders). Du Pont is relying on key best practices to achieve continuous improvement. This requires a significant paradigm shift from short term to long term view, from functional success to business success, and from maintaining the status quo to continuous process improvement. The paradigm within the engineering discipline must also open up to include "soft" technologies such as statistical process control, and experimental design, among others. In short, what is needed is a change of mentality to embrace a broader systems perspective and to understand how these systems can be integrated.

Keywords: Continuous process improvement - Statistical process control

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