Tag Archives: Skills

Update from Siemens

BOM Management: An introduction
By Susan Zimmerlee – What exactly is BOM Management?  Is that the same as BOM Configuration Management?  Or product variability management? Or Master Data Management?  Or a PLM BOM???

The answer seems to be that it depends on who you ask!

BOM management is a tough topic because those words mean something different to each company that I work with.  Even within a single company, you could ask different departments and get different answers.

Which bill of materials management or BOM management solution is best for you? I’ve sat on both the selling and buying end of this discussion, and there is no single answer for everybody. It’s like asking – which vehicle is best?

The answer depends on if you’re hauling heavy loads or trying to get someplace really fast. The BOM management discussion needs to be similar – what is it that you need your BOM management system to do for you? Whether you make paper towels or space ships, at a basic level, BOM management is a critical element that takes you from an idea to a delivered product. To have more detailed discussions about BOM management, we need to establish a baseline of some of the key elements involved:

  • Part: Managing a part bill of materials, also known as the physical product definition or product master, is commonly the main topic of Master Data Management (MDM) discussions.
  • Design: In a design BOM (often called the virtual product definition), mechanical designers and engineering are usually focused on generating the 3D components that make up the product.
  • DMU: Digital mock up (or DMU) refers to the ability to virtually view and interrogate your configured BOM throughout its lifecycle.
  • BOM Configuration Management: BOM configuration management is the discipline of managing the content of the product definition throughout its lifecycle.
  • Variability: Product variability is part of BOM configuration management.
  • Architecture: To better manage configuration and product variability, product architectures help to organize similar content across several products.
  • Coordinated Change: Coordinating product change across various product representations is an issue that is gaining more and more visibility as products grow more and more complex.

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The Costly Zero Sum Game That’s Fueling The Skills Gap

By Jake Schwartz – Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates suggest, for example, that there will be 1 million more computing jobs than applicants to fill them by 2020.

Of course, the skills gap is about more than just supply and demand. It stems from what economists call “friction,” exacerbated by megatrends like the shrinking shelf life of skills and persistent equity gaps in K-12 and higher education systems struggling to keep up with the pace of change. But it also reflects decades of self-inflicted wounds within corporate America.

I’ve observed three troubling drivers of the economic friction fueling the skills gap:

  1. a surprising lack of visibility and long-term planning around concrete skill and talent needs within the enterprise;
  2. incredible inertia around and adherence to old-school hiring practices that perpetuate growing equity gaps through a search for new skills in conventional places; and
  3. a tendency to misplace hope that our higher education and workforce development systems can somehow “solve” the problem with minimal corporate involvement or responsibility.

Imagine the possibilities if just a fraction of that spending was allocated to investments in re-skilling existing workers.

And yet, corporate training fads, from an obsession with online training (it’s cheaper), to a belief that all employees should spend their off-hours being “self-guided learners,” only exacerbate the delta between average investments in talent acquisition ($20,000 to $40,000 per head) and corporate training ($1,000 per person per year). more>

Updates from Chicago Booth

15 middle-class jobs that can’t be automated—a CBR thought experiment
By Howard R. Gold – A much-publicized 2013 study by Oxford University researchers Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne estimates that “about 47 percent of total US employment is at risk” from advances in computerization, particularly machine learning, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Using US Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Frey and Osborne rated 702 occupations on a scale of 0 to 100 percent for risk of displacement by emerging computer technologies. Workers in heavily blue-collar industries such as production, construction, transportation, maintenance and repair, and farming and fisheries face the highest risk, along with white-collar employees in service and sales.

The job categories at lowest risk, according to Frey and Osborne: management; computer, engineering, and science; education, legal, arts, and media; and, of course, health care. The latter accounted for half of the 20 occupations to which Frey and Osborne give the lowest probability of replacement by computerization.

Core skills such as “originality,” “social perceptiveness,” “assisting and caring for others,” “persuasion,” and ”negotiation” are the most difficult for computers to replicate, Frey and Osborne determine. (For more, see “If robots take our jobs, will they make it up to us?” July 2017.) more>

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How Technology Is Leading Us Into the Imagination Age

By Raya Bidshahri – Initially coined by Rita J. King, the imagination age is a theoretical period beyond the information age where creativity and imagination will become the primary creators of economic value. This is driven by technological trends like virtual reality and the rise of digital platforms like YouTube, all of which increase demand for user-generated content and creativity. It is also driven by automation, which will take away a lot of monotonous and routine jobs, leaving more higher-ordered and creative jobs.

Technological trends are giving rise to what many thought leaders refer to as the “imagination economy.” This is defined as “an economy where intuitive and creative thinking create economic value, after logical and rational thinking has been outsourced to other economies.”

One of the tragedies of traditional education is that it was designed for the industrial age.

But now we’re not only living in the information age, we’re already moving on to the imagination age. Most traditional schools have failed to keep up with the effects of exponential growth on our world. Instead of putting an emphasis on grades or content knowledge, we need to start putting an emphasis on 21st-century survival skills. more>

Why Leaders Should Focus on Outcomes Instead of Solutions

By Scott Eblin – I love that distinction between solutions and outcomes. Too often, executives and managers overlook the difference between the two. In those cases, they confuse their commitment to a particular solution with the outcome. Of course, they’re not the same.

A solution is a means to an outcome, not the outcome itself.

And the thing is, there’s usually more than one solution that will get you and your team to the desired outcome. One of the distinctions I make in The Next Level is that leaders need to pick up defining what to do and let go of telling how to do it. It’s really the same idea as focusing on outcomes more than solutions.

Over the years, I’ve lost track of the number of clients I’ve worked with who, once they started focusing more on the outcomes (the what) and less on the solutions (the how), have told me how thrilled they were with the quality of the solutions that their teams came up with. more>

Updates from Georgia Tech

Daydreaming is Good. It Means You’re Smart
By Jason Maderer – A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests that daydreaming during meetings isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It might be a sign that you’re really smart and creative.

“People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering,” said Eric Schumacher, the Georgia Tech associate psychology professor who co-authored the study.

Schumacher says higher efficiency means more capacity to think, and the brain may mind wander when performing easy tasks.

How can you tell if your brain is efficient? One clue is that you can zone in and out of conversations or tasks when appropriate, then naturally tune back in without missing important points or steps.

“Our findings remind me of the absent-minded professor — someone who’s brilliant, but off in his or her own world, sometimes oblivious to their own surroundings,” said Schumacher. “Or school children who are too intellectually advanced for their classes. While it may take five minutes for their friends to learn something new, they figure it out in a minute, then check out and start daydreaming.” more>

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Why Nerds and Nurses Are Taking Over the U.S. Economy

By Derek Thompson – In the second half of the 20th century, American stores replaced factories as the most important place for job growth. The retail workforce tripled between 1940 and 2000. Cashiers and retail salesperson are two of the most common jobs in the country. But in the last few years, as online retail has grown, retail has taken a beating, with one department store after another declaring bankruptcy.

Today, rich, college-educated Americans living in or near the largest cities are thriving. Poorer, less educated Americans living in rural areas are falling further behind. Meanwhile the middle class, once composed of non-college-educated men working in manufacturing and construction, is being hollowed out by globalization and technology.

The next 10 years may exacerbate inequality by earnings and geography. Jobs for people with bachelor’s degrees are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs for people with just high school degrees.

Self-driving cars might be the talk of Silicon Valley and auto manufacturers. But the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) doesn’t see their impact in the labor market until after 2026. In their projections, heavy truck-driving will add 114,000 new jobs in the next decade, growing at nearly the same rate as the economy. Delivery service drivers are projected to grow even faster the labor force. more>

Rex Tillerson and the Unraveling of the State Department

With an isolated leader, a demoralized diplomatic corps and a president dismantling international relations one tweet at a time, American foreign policy is adrift in the world.
By Jason Zengerle – Tillerson was originally recommended to the Trump team by the former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, both mandarins of the Republican foreign-policy establishment who had consulted for Exxon Mobil, on the grounds that his vast knowledge of foreign governments and their leaders made him a perfect fit for the job. “The expectation was that Tillerson would be a grown-up and provide ballast,” says a 30-year veteran of the Foreign Service, “that he was someone who believed in America being the glue that created global stability and would be interested in upholding the world order as we have it.”

In a few short months, Tillerson had rid the State Department of much of its last several decades of diplomatic experience, though it was not really clear to what end.

The new secretary of state, it soon became evident, had an easier time firing people than hiring them — a consequence of the election that delivered him to Foggy Bottom.

In the past few months, the pace of nominations for the State Department has picked up. But even so, few of the nominees have qualifications that match those of their predecessors. more> https://goo.gl/qE5XZS

Updates from Georgia Tech

Driving Cassini: Doctoral Student Controls Spacecraft in Mission’s Final Days

By Jason Maderer – When the Cassini spacecraft plunges into Saturn on September 15 to end a nearly two-decade mission, Georgia Tech student Michael Staab will have a front row seat. It’s almost literally the driver’s seat.

Staab is working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California while pursuing his aerospace engineering doctoral degree in the distance learning program. He’s a Cassini Spacecraft Flight Controller, which means he’s one of only three people authorized to tell the machine what to do and where to go as it orbits Saturn.

The job is almost finished. Just before 8 a.m. (Atlanta time) on Friday, Staab will hear Cassini’s signal for the final time before it dives into the planet’s atmosphere, becoming a part of Saturn.

Prior to attending Georgia Tech, I was a flight test engineering intern at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California and, later, a test requirements and analysis engineer for Boeing in St. Louis. I had a lot of control room and operations experience, which is exactly what JPL was looking for.

The duty of a flight controller at JPL is fairly straight-forward; we possess absolute command and control authority of the spacecraft when tracking it through the Deep-Space Network. more> https://goo.gl/aAU76G

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Updates from Adobe

Brooke Shaden Connects Through Art

By Alyssa Coppelman – Photographer Brooke Shaden crafts images that are steeped in symbolism. Each image encapsulates a full story, or at least a crucial plot point. It makes sense that she got her start by experimenting with filmmaking—most dubiously when she made her first video at age 13, set to an N’Sync song.

After going to college in order to study filmmaking, Shaden realized she preferred photography, notably because she could work alone and more quickly than when making a film. And while she was able to take elements of her formal filmmaking training and apply them to photography, she is otherwise self-taught.

When searching for ideas to translate into photographs, Shaden loves to explore overarching concepts. “Symbolism and storytelling elements like conflict and characterization are at the core of why I want to create,” she explains. “When I am brainstorming, I often write down keywords—themes, loose ideas—that are occupying my mind in that moment. From there, I write down descriptions of visuals that go with those words in an effort to visually bring about art from the ideas. I focus on location, color, and character, and sometimes props or wardrobe, as well. Once I have the idea, I write down a little paragraph about what the image is, why it is meaningful, and how I plan to technically achieve it.”

Because her planning phase is so thorough, Shaden generally spends only five to fifteen minutes, depending on the image’s complexity, actually shooting. more> https://goo.gl/dXJZsb

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