My first job after college was a career I never heard of. Even though my parents are engineers, never learned about Manufacturing Engineers. Am not alone, there are many careers no one knows about or understands.
Design engineers are what everyone thinks of for engineering. The people who can take a idea and create from scratch new products is what people think of engineers. (That and we drive trains and sound the whistle) Truth is even simple products need vastly different skills and talents to be made successfully.
Manufacturing has designers, design engineers, toolmakers, tool designers, industrial engineers, machine designers, planners, production mangers, and the craftsmen who put products together every day. Every small product takes a team of people to accomplish everything you touch or hold.
Manufacturing and tooling engineers are often considered second-class citizens by management. The example that comes to mind is I was in my thirties before I had desk younger than I. Sales had the fancy offices. Production is industrial. And manufacturing engineers plan, coordinate, improve and team to make it happen.
Why do it? I love it. Am fascinated by technology, products and services. The challenge of find the easiest way, the least cost, a faster way, a safer way, and to make your product better is consuming. People need help and you solve problems. You wake up at night with new ideas how.
Nothing happens instantaneously. The first version doesn’t work. The second round can’t be made as designed. The third version needs to be more reliable. And competition means the cost has to go down. There are always problems and challenges that have to be overcome. Innovation, creativity and persistance are key. You work hard to make your team succeed.
Production celebrates shipping new products like teams winning playoffs. Anything great is the result of lots of hard work.
There is a sense of accomplishment and knowing you have done what others could not with new products. New production systems may be invented, tools created specially for your product, people need to be trained, instructions and documents written, and schedules met.
Manufacturing is a great career even if no one understands what you do.
“Make Something Better.” Bill Boeing