Updated: Mar 7, 2019
It was Ben Franklin that said, “you can do anything you set your mind to.” I don’t think anyone would disagree with that statement.
Despite having had the opportunity to see and experience some of the most fantastic feats of engineering, I continue to be amazed at some of the new and innovative concepts I come across from within this industry.
From feats of automation to industrial IoT solutions, there is always a new perspective and solution to consider.
By the same token, however, there are also some intangibles that many a genius / mad-scientist may fail to consider.
I have stated before that any company or individual truly concerned with making a positive impact on the organization they serve must accept some level of shared ownership. No exceptions. Anyone that does otherwise is simply selling something; however, part of the shared ownership proposition is to advise the client wisely.
See, there are fantastic solutions and then there are feasibly fantastic solutions.
I have a colleague who is one of the best mechanical designers I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with. He showed me early in my career that the ability to design an exotic solution, while fantastic, is rarely practical.
Instead, a good designer has the insight to first consider using an off-the-shelf, commercially available part and then making small modifications to it. Only when this proves impossible should a custom design ensue.
I’ve always liked his line of thinking, and especially in terms of our clients' endeavors within industrial IoT and data management solutions.
Coming from a background of custom communications drivers and ‘black box’ solutions, it has usually been easy to for me to consider solutions which many of our manufacturing and production engineering clients wouldn’t dare take on…yet, in some cases, they do.
Now typically this occurs when the client has an exceptional skill set that many manufacturing and production engineers lack – not because they can’t (remember what Ben Franklin said!), rather because it doesn’t interest them.
For those that do decide to take this on, the allure of creating a custom solution often ends with their having to accept 100% ownership and 100% of the support.
This isn’t always horrible, but if the support time is in addition to their day-to-day responsibilities, their work-life balance begins to shift negatively.
Unless steps are taken during the engineering of the solution such that others can easily manage it (which typically adds an exceptionally large amount of time to the project), no one will want to.
The next step usually isn’t positive for anyone – either the fantastic solution is slowly dismantled since no one has time to learn how to support it, and/or the designing engineer responsible for the solution decides the added support isn’t worthwhile and sets out to greener pastures leaving the burden to someone else. In short, no one wins.
As a company committed to making a positive impact on our clients and the lives within their organizations, we strive to provide off-the-shelf solutions that can meet the current (and future) goals.
Doing so allows for shared maintenance and support moving forward for everyone, from engineering to maintenance!
I think Ben Franklin would agree. While most anyone can do most anything, it’s also important to work smarter, not harder, and always strive to make a positive Impact!
And then, leave the fantastic solutions to our team at elliTek! ;o)