Challenges of Engineering: Cost and Value

A course I took from Professor Bruce Vojak at the University of Illinois, emphasized the number one responsibility of an executive is to maximize value defined as: Value= $in-$out. However, I’ll add a corollary to this in order to accomplish this especially if you manage a high-tech portfolio. It is important that you employ engineers and technologists that are able to solve complex technical problems quickly, efficiently and cheaply. I find my own work at times particularly hard and engaging as I’ve realized that at times some technical solutions are unworkable in manufacturing due to cost and technology limitations. Part of being a good engineer is not just one that comes up with a solution but also making sure the solution can fit within fiscal constraints of your company or project.

As engineers sometimes we sometime like to be able to build a new castle from scratch (going along with my European analogies) rather than renovation an existing one and suiting it to a new purpose, much like most European monarchs. And sometime that’s the challenge we face as engineers to re-work things when a number of details are out of our controls.

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