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Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers
8

Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

(OP)
A major article in an automotive magazine reports Ford's resolve to restore the engineering function to engineers. What prevailed in the past years is depending on suppliers for expertise. In addition, the engineering function has been infested with non-engineers who speak QS but are unversed on engineering basics. This is the breeding ground for bad designs and bad parts. Ford recognized this, and they are trying to turn it around to the way it should be.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

plasgears,

Is this the article you are referring to:
"Insourcing", By Tom Murphy; Ward's Auto World, 1 May 2003. (http://waw.wardsauto.com/ar/auto_insourcing/index.htm)
If so, it is well worth the read. If not, please provide some more information so we all can read for ourselves the article you are referring to.

Best regards,

Matthew Ian Loew

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips Fora.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

Well. Hoo Bl**dy Ray

I've been whingeing about this for 5 years. Transferring our expertise to our suppliers is great for them but makes no business sense for us.

"This is the dark side of outsourcing, for it demonstrates that OEMs run the risk of becoming subservient to the technical capabilities — or liabilities — of their suppliers if they merely purchase, rather than engineer.

Skeptics could see the danger of this strategy a decade ago when outsourcing arrived in earnest in North America as the industry was rebounding from the early 1990s recession. But outsourcing of engineering and manufacturing seemed one of the few ways auto makers could rein in costs on a massive scale. Besides, outsourcing was a bone to be thrown to Wall Street, where stock analysts loved the idea of suppliers doing the same job better, faster, cheaper."


"He says Ford decided a decade ago that it would rely more heavily on supplier engineering in certain product segments, but that the company ultimately misjudged the engineering capability of those suppliers. “As we look at the results of that decision in the rear-view mirror,” Boddie says, “we find in some critical areas we shouldn't have relied on suppliers as much as we did.”

Too often, Boddie says, Ford had to use its own engineering resources to supplement those of its suppliers."






Cheers

Greg Locock

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

(OP)
MLoew,
That's the article; it's a mandatory read for all automotive engineers.

I have been suffering thru the effects of Ford's old plan:
- working under QS spouting non-engineers;
- being the voice crying out in the wilderness to change obvious blunders;
- having to explain the obvious and not being understood or trusted by the unversed;
- being threatened by QS non-engineer managers for causing embarrassment for their blunders;
- dragging of feet by QS types who can't move quickly to make necessary changes that come back to haunt them later;
- having to explain why analysis is a necessary adjunct to engineering activity. My QS non-engr bosses call my analysis bullshit, without exaggeration.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

I left GM recently after ~ 5 years in the North America engineering group.  In my opinion, the entire automotive industry has been moving engineering responsibility to suppliers, to the detriment of the OEM.  The auto OEM's seem to be moving to the computer industry model: OEM's design (appearance-wise), assemble and market a collections of components designed by suppliers.  The problem I see is this: in the computer industry, the technology-holders (the suppliers such as Intel and Microsoft) have all the power and money, while the assemblers (HP, Dell, etc.) are left with the scraps.  Bad model to follow, in my opinion.

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RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

The article appears mainly as being the usual business strong talk. Sure devicencies (on parts and people - oiled guys which create less profitable business then expenses) happen, but these are statistically distributed between OEM and supply partners. As can be red, Chrysler instead plans to increase supplier based Operations, GM stays strong with Outsorcing. Reading between the lines the article isn't exactly saying that outsourcing is bad, as the reason for profit losses or the lack or loss of inhouse enginering knowhow. It’s just that the OEM changes a bit of his strategy with the supplier, perhaps ratling the chain. Also there is mention of satisfied supplier relations, providing insource knowledge in fact by way of the outsourcing partner. Mentioned as well, quality issues are perhaps related at times to the tendency to put exaggerated cost pressure on part suppliers.

Frank Exius
IFE Bonn Germany
www.ife.subito.cc
Telefon ++49\2642\980409
Dienstleistung in ANSYS
FEM Berechnung numerische Simulation
Digital/virtual Prototyping Outsourcing

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

I wanted only to add that I understand very well the frustration of being in a place were the job is done by a supplier and the engineer is basically left to watch - that's not in the proper sense of 'shadow engineering' as mentioned as well in the article. Please take into account that this isn't the suppliers fault. It's usually a strange, if not bizarr mismanagment in house, a deficiency which includes rivaltries even between departments etc. If you find your self in this, that's difficult, as 'this' drains of selfconvidence and the energy to look for new options. Danger is that people get stuck, being transformed into something the wouldn't like. Best thing is, find a new way. There are perhaps millions of people who got stuck, because there wife capitalized on security over satisfaction, because they had not strong enough of an urge to break free, or they got one of 'em 'flourishing' in such system. Fortunaltely there are always productive departments within large organizations, otherwise the enterprise would die. So one might lookout also for inhouse options, if one likes the product as such and a interesting & productive task can be located

Frank Exius

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

(OP)
Sehr Geehrter Herr Exius,
Thank you for your response.
American business is easy to take on board unqualified individuals in engineering positions and in engineering management, of all places. That's the crux of the problem. Unlike the continent, where engaging qualified individuals is the first step, we have staffed our engineering departments in first and lower tiers with promoted draftsmen and lesser talents. The motivation is money; these individuals do not have the mobility of graduate engineers, so they are stuck in positions with marginal earnings. And they can't perform.

These are the staffs that the big three depend on to do their supplier engineering. Ridiculous, isn't it. I could tell you specific stories, but this is not the place.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

Hello plasgears,
thanks for the German adressing : )

assuming unsuitable people for suppliers enginnering posts might again be related to cost pressure by OEM - or to greed by supply org leaders, it varies I suppose. If one finds a unsuitable supplier, I do not gather why keep with him, other then that they are all similar in performance.

But from the info wrt Chrysler, see article again (maybe the German touch does it - DaimlerChrysler) it doesn't seem that it has to be that way, not on a axiomatic scale - none the less that I believe to be precise the experiences you indicate, althought at times it's not the lack of technical eductation but that of a typical techno people deficiency (again that word) being not considerate about suffient time to speak to elaborate settings, a important part of the process. Perhaps because both sides suppose that the 'obvious' is known by the other. Instead time is wasted in preplanned routine meetings

Perhaps evaluation modes wrt suitable suppliers have to be shifted, I imagine that this is a task in a running production environment. But one will, anyway, switch only after sufficient evaluation of a new supplier - if it is accompanied by that 'good feeling in the belly'. I think such change is worth it by all means, given that management gives thumbs up, backing positive change

Frank Exius
IFE Bonn Germany
www.ife.subito.cc
Telefon ++49\2642\980409
Dienstleistung in ANSYS
FEM Berechnung numerische Simulation
Digital/virtual Prototyping Outsourcing

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

(OP)
I had a good laugh when, in Assy Magazine, June 2003, they featured the article "Aerospace Prepares to Soar Again," Austin Weber, Sr Ed. In the article they talk about depending on sub-contractors for the engineering of sub-components, and they cite the automotive industry as an example. I was quick to respond to the chief editor that this was folly. Apparently the word had not gotten around.

I always found it unsettling as I stepped aboard an airliner to note that component parts were built by the lowest bidders. If we depend on sub-contractors to engineer the sub-assys, then we are headed for disaster. The main source is the most qualified to integrate the whole design.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

Hello plasgears,

for aerospace the security aspect has to be at it's highest, but nevertheless, appart from spectacular cases as tires dismanteling etc, the automotive industry delivers well overall. They take care, in that they choose with attitude, suppliers which are to deliver savety relevant parts, be it structural, thermal, fluidics or electromechanical, electronic control components etc.

Sure the last, say five years, have seen quite some hussle, recall to dealer, but to blame it unilateraly on the suppliers does have a taste of convinience - at the end DaimlerChrysler might not be all that naive (see previous posting) especially Daimler wouldn't risk it's name of  quality car maker for short term cost gains by outsourcing to suppliers - I am sure they talked & thought & calculated it through, admitted that some government programm to 'create new workplaces' might have helped (I do not know, maybe).

Anyway I think the airliner industrie should pay outmost attention to maintain savety standarts, in that I freely agree with you : )

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

Plasgears,

The problem with having engineering conducted by sub-suppliers is not that those engineers are not as talented or as capable as those at the OEM, it is the lack of systems integration happening at the OEM level. In many cases the suppliers of an engineered sub-system have greater talent and capabilities for their systems, but that does not guarantee performance across systems boundaries. Rigorous, effective systems integrations activities, IMO, are the missing element to the business model. OEMs need to take more charge at this level and at certain "core" engineering activities like fasteners, materials, safety, electronics, and final assembly.

Best regards,

Matthew Ian Loew

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips Fora.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

Semms as if Plasgears has concluded that a bachelors degree is necessary for good engineering to take place. He says "we have staffed our engineering departments in first and lower tiers with promoted draftsmen and lesser talents." In my particular industry, some of the best engineers were the "less" educated who passed the PE exam just like those with a degree. Does that make him less of an engineer? I think ABSOLUTELY NOT. As I said they were better engineers because they understood the mechanics of the systems, much better than those up in "the ivory tower of Acedemia" who never once set foot in an engineering office, or who tried to do anything other than get himself a "chair".
On the other side, I have worked with some fine engineers who were fortunate enough to get their degree.
As to this thread, I am not a proponent of outsourcing for all parts, etc. Where there is much commonality, outsourcing is the most probable answer. For instance, wheels within the Ford organization are not the same, even if they could be on similar sized cars. There are other instances where common items could be outsourced and all be identical.
Just my opinion.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

For alloy wheels at least there is no significant cost advantage in commonising wheels across different platforms, never mind companies, once your volume exceeds 10000 pa.

The advantages of being able to optimise the design for a particular model far outweigh the fairly trivial additional engineering costs. Someone else's wheel would still haver to be validated for your vehicle, so why not have a unique one that locks the owner into buying your own wheels?

Sometimes we use aftermarket wheels for special value packs and so on, but only in a (marketing inspired) emergency.

The same goes for steel wheels, but at a higher breakeven point in terms of volume.

Cheers

Greg Locock

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

(OP)
Ford,
Thanks for your views. The fact remains that, without Ford's engineering staff controlling designs, the designs will be controlled by individuals barely out of high school with no academic engineering training, no respect for graduate engineers and their analyses, and bonehead views on how to solve engineering problems. I have experienced all of the above. And all this in the interest of saving money in the procurement process.

Wake up, Ford. check the credentials of the people you trust to do your engineering work.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

Ford Australia is making market head way especially with the performance of its youth/performance Falcon vehicles. In particular the 'new' 6cyl Turbo Falcon is being aftermarket tuned to produce 315kW at the rear wheels with a piggy back computer and larger intercooler. Perhaps this is a reflection of the changes at ford, certainly some previuos models were considered insipid. In the 'youth' (ie under 30) sector there is a notable shift from the GM product....if only they could drop 200kg from the cars!

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

I strongly agree with plasgear's last statement, and share his experiences (I feel your pain, brother).  

As an automotive OEM FE analyst, I've been challenged on numerous occasions to defend my assertions that a part as-designed would fail.  I once had to run an FEA analysis on a part which was nothing more than a cantilever beam.  Upon first  seeing the design proposal, I told the engineer (non-degreed) that it wouldn't work based on my experience.  I then did a 5-minute beam calculation which proved that the stresses were 20x times the yield capacity of the material. I showed them my hand-written results, and they didn't want to believe "all those academic theoretical results".

Anybody with a sophomore-level engineering background should have been suitably convinced to redesign, yet this ultimately resulted in a protracted battle involving multiple FE analyses and large meetings (in the end the FE results confirmed my beam calculations within 5%). This should not happen with the most minimally-qualified people.

Do I think think a bachelor's degree is required to do automotive engineering?  I would certainly like it to be, but I won't say that it must be required.  I will, however, say that it is reasonable to expect from people the basic theoretical capabilities that come with a BS (and I will add that I know of many BSME's who don't seem to have such qualifications).  If they can't deliver on this, they are not qualified to debate those of us who can (and should sit down and shut up, rather than throw meritless stones based on nothing other than their political agendas).  

Ultimately the best thing about leaving an OEM and moving into the position where I now am is that I don't have to suffer such fools nearly as frequently.  If somebody wants to debate me on my core expertise, they generally have some background on which to debate.

Brad

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

IFEgermany (Automotive) Jul 23, 2003
refering to car related product failures, the discussion on reasons - speaking with car dealers/mechanics, one is ocasionally told, that in parallel with such failures the products appear as to have invisibly degraded in quality:

i.e. parallel to these things happening, cheaper materials, cheaper manufacturing and joining methods appear as to have been creeping into the process. Perhaps that covers already a part of the problem.

Definitive failure analysis results proving* this or other, as the reason for component failure, should form the basis for a objective search, determining what came from what and from whom.  

*if retracing real cause(s) of a particular failure is technologically realistic. Witch hunts wouldn't cure the cause
 

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

2
I have seen some very good "unqualified" but experienced and intuitive engineers, and some pretty awful formally qualified engineers, but 9 times out of 10, the guy with the degrees will come up with the goods.

If unqualified people, and I mean by that, anyone wether formaly qualified or not who doesn't understand the design and manufacturing process and materials used for a part, gets involved in decision makeing between design and production, or dureing production, mistakes can easily happen.


I have had a position in technical marketing of engineering plastics, which mainly involved support for designers. Disasasters often stemmed from the following:-
   1)  Purchasing departments buying cheaper "equivilents"
   2)  Metals experienced engineers not understanding plastics.
   3)  Stylists over ruleing engineering.
   4)  Not testing or designing for real world environment and conditions (eg testing water fittings in distilled water because it gives better reproducibility from lab to lab. Yes some wanker of a product testing manager actually used that one when a whole bunch of parts failed from chlorine attack in the field).

Bottom line in my opinion is, that all people involved in the original design and impementation team, need to be consulted before anything is changed.

Engineers should engineer, stylists should style, marketers should market, purchasers should purchase and production should produce, but they all need to converse in a team, respect each others unique skills and knowledge, and come up with solutions that meet all needs, otherwise the product will ultimately fail by the weakest link



Regards
pat

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

patprimmer puts things quite well. To converse i.e. cooperate appears a major aspect, besides buying in the best deal (best  quality/price ratio, not cheapest) integrated by the advice that one should do his work well instead of engaging in non-indicated interference with that what others are supposed to work out.

That enginners should do engineering seems obvious, but isn't, as a degree course doesn't secure to qualify one, it merely shows that you are a more or less smart guy wrt maths/physics, with picking up concepts, learning, which is a good ingredient anyway. But you need practical insight in design, manufacturing, organisational skills, the ability to cope with timing restraints, stress too - and, probably providing you the former skills with ease, luck to meet the right people, basically it takes good practising engineers as examples to 'build' good engineers, on top of the academic achivement.

There should be, in general, a engineer in charge for technical products development, one who is able to supervise non-degree designers and, were indicated provide guidance, advice, such as to avoid that things get unproffesional.

One doesn't need a degree to be a good designer or mechanics, workshop person, but at some level there need be a engineer to sign responsible, to establish, provide a retraceable responsability chain - and if you have some of the good engineers at critical, strategic points in design, manufacturing etc. that pays dividends.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

Interesting forum... and here are my two cents worth.

With regards engineering qualifications of supplier: anyone that believes another company's engineers are less qualified than those at the OEM is just plan ignorant.  In fact, in today's world of high performance parts, often OEMs can not compete against the "engineering knowhow" of specialty shops.  These shops are in business because they know their business, and their engineers are the most qualified to do the job.  In such cases, outsourcing is beneficial to an OEM, and not a liability.

I will not get into the topic of outsourcing except to say this.  Outsourcing is not a bad thing when done for the right reasons; but more often than not, it is not done for the right reasons.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

It has got /nothing/ to do with the competence of the engineers.

The reason that outsourcing the engineering is bad is that cars are integrated systems, not a collection of disparate parts. It is (in my opinion) impossible to write a cost-effective comprehensive interface document for any resonably large sub-system.

Cheers

Greg Locock

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

Greg
    Another way of saying that is.

It is not possable to write a comprehensive interface document for any resonably large sub-system wihtout designing the entire system.

The lastest Wards has more on this subject.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

HDS,

It is possible, just not cost effective. As I mentioned in my 18 Jun post, it is the lack of effective systems integrations that negatively impacts performance across systems boundaries. Greg is absolutely right about the quality level of the engineers. The real issue to be studied is about how to use the  brains available to produce the highest quality product within the constraints of the engineering environment. Not an easy problem.

Best regards,

Matthew Ian Loew

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips Fora.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

I'm reading this slightly confused, but then realize in Canada, engineer and engineering are protected terms by law! An engineer has to belong to a professional association and minimum of a Bachelors Degree in Engineering or Applied Science plus pass an ethics exam!

I guess it is a little different in the US?

Ken

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

(OP)
Slowzuki,
Yes, it's different here. It's a throwback to the days when promising individuals with talent were allowed to prevail in industry even without credentials.

However, one talented fellow at GE was sent to MIT at company expense to get credentials, and he turned out to be one of the best design engineers on the staff. Every time you see a modern high performance jet with variable nozzle or vectoring nozzle, think of Dudley N. He designed a working prototype of a vectoring nozzle back in ~1970. The modern version is now planned for production.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

Hoo boy,  I'll believe it when I see it!
Every few years, Ford comes out with a press release like this,  but sticks with business as usual, in Dearborn at least.
It's never dawned on Ford management that contracting out your engineering work,  whether to a supplier or to a contract eng'g house,  simply gives someone else your enginneering expertise.
Case in point: Carron & Co. did the "engineering" on the original Explorer - which simply meant that Truck Eng'g wasn't budgeted to do the work,  but had to lead Carron by the hand and do it anyway.
By the time the Explorer launched, however, Carron had picked up some valuable experience,  which they promptly took to Chrysler when they (Carron) did the engineering on the Dodge Durango, a truck remarkably like the Explorer, don't you think?

Anyway, this Ford announcement is just a sop to the so-called automotive "analysts" (think 'Maryann Kelleher')to try get them to revise their dire predictions concerning Ford's future.
Meanwhile, back in Dearborn, the layoffs and beatings will continue until morale improves.


PS: BTW, there are a lot of Chrysler engineers who really don't care HOW it's done in Germany...

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

Slowzuki

Actually you should double check your info. In practice Professional Engineer is protected by law but once you get past that things get grey in a hurry (Quality Engineer quite often being the best example).

Ok. the rest of my 1.5 (in US$) cents ...
I have worked at several Tier 1 suppliers supplying GM, Chrysler, Ford, Mercedes, BMW and Toyota.  The key problem with Tier 1 engineering is a lack of competent Engineers.  This is not a competency issue but more a quantity issue.

The costing requirements coming out of the Big 3 these days often doesn't provide enough money to feed true engineering services at this level.  Hence we have a lot of Designers and Technicians who only have half an idea how to engineer properly (usually they look at existing designs and go after similar models) and only a couple of true Engineers.  In the plants most of the engineering is done by kids just out of school or by guys who have 20+ years of practical experience but no credentials.  The combination works well for day to day issues but often struggles with new concepts.

The result is supplier engineers that are component experts and only amateur or moderately fluent vehicle engineers. What the strut Engineer assumes will not necessarily match up to what the person working on the driveaxle is thinking.  

While outsourcing and relying on the supplier to Engineer their product does make sense what the Big 3 relied on is that the supplier would also become an expert on how their component would assemble into the vehicle and interact on the vehicle.  The catch being that the Big 3 never handed over the money to the Tier 1 suppliers to be able to support that.  In essence the Big 3 are getting the Engineering they were/are willing to pay for.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

CanEngJohn,

I believe in Canada, the word "Engineer" is protected by the provincial regulator board.  They are very strict on the useage of the term by unlicensed engineers in which it can lead to potential confusion.  Often the consequences for using the term "engineer" results in a warning, unless it is in a fraudulent manner to decieve the public/employer.  The use of the P.Eng designation, or calling oneself a "Professional Engineer" is bound to get you fined heavily even the first time.

When I worked for a Canadian company after graduation, my job title was "stress analyst".  When I got my P.Eng, then it was changed to "stress engineer".  Last I heard, the PEO was making every effort to crack down on poeple using "Quality Engineer", "Computing Engineer", etc... if they were not licensed, simply because it was resulting in a confusion amungst the public.

Have a great day.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

jetmaker

That is the theory.  

Practically however I am unaware of the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) having yet to win any cases to penalize companies using the Quality or Systems Engineer job titles.  

These grey areas are the CQE (Certified Quality Engineer) and MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) designations that are available to individuals without a B. Eng or a license.  In all cases where a company has been fined they have taken it to court and won.  The only cases the PEO has won have been in cases where the misuse of the Professional Engineer designation has been violated or where services are rendered to the public without a P. Eng.

(A key point here is the ioffering of services to the public.  A Quality Engineer or MCSE is not necessarily offering services to the public but to private companies.)

There are other issues as well and the PEO and Engineers are trying to resolve them but I would argue that the term engineer is still not controlled enough to be considered a protected term.  Once we get a win in the courts then I might to start to change my opinion.  Until then it isn't a law if you can't enforce it.

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

There is an article in the 13 October 2003 issue of Automotive News on the same subject of the Wards article:

Engineering: Ford takes control

500 new employees will monitor parts; suppliers lose clout
By Julie Armstrong
www.autonews.com/article.cms?articleId=45531

Nothing much new, same criticisms of above posts still apply.

Best regards,

Matthew Ian Loew
"Luck is the residue of design."
Branch Rickey


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RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

This just hit me. In the Automotive News article from my post immediately above there is the following statement:

"Ford's shift is bad news for suppliers that want to engineer systems, which is more profitable than producing components."

Is there any proof of this? What is meant by profits, more absolute profits because the price of the "system" is higher, and/or margins are greater?

Best regards,

Matthew Ian Loew
"Luck is the residue of design."
Branch Rickey


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RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

What i posted on the other thread applies here as well, but i would add this: the buck drives the design - competitors underbid to get in, quality is driven by the top tier and QS. More than anything, in my world, new technology improves the product, SLS, direct links, and testing, but the ideas still have to be good. Nothing is very new, the same thing with wheels, just more buttons, and maybe safer. If it's all built faster, and computers saved a ton of time and money, why does the end product cost more? I think the end user demands more. Notice how cars look alike, (NASCAR) and the ones that don't, don't matter? Same reason we're wearing bell bottoms again, and some new group found an old R&B and thought it's a great new song! Anyway, i'm one of the 30 year plus guys, started on the board, using Catia now for plastics. I still prefer to work with the degreed project manager, preferably an engineer not a manager. We exchange ideas and compromise for a good design. I have a business degree myself, tried my own business, that sucks. I'm very happy now on the tube flying through the 3d world, get paid plenty, and have more fun than ever. At the end of the day, i think i won in life. We are a tier two to the big 3 and the benefits trickle down. ALSO, i ran into alot of degreed engineers that were not born to be engineers or designers, but thought the money was good, or got pushed into it, same as doctors, some are worse than plumbers. SO: surround yourself with road scholars, i do like experience, degree or no, the winner is the one with the best idea - oh by the way ( btw for you young ones ) it's all an idea!!! You gotta have one first, preferably a good one, and most have been thought of before, so don't re-invent the wheel, go with a proven one, it's all based on i - that stands for information - it's out there, find it, you could be president, if you want, but make sure you like your job. That's all - except this: if you don't like it, get the hell out of my life, you are slowing me down, i don't want to share in your missery, go do something you like or know how to do, or just go away - NO WHINING!!!

RE: Engineers to regain lead at Ford and suppliers

Lee Iacocca got it right ... "you're either born a car man or you're not".  What stikes me about this thread is that Lee's axiom (if you want to call it that) seems to apply regardless which side of the issue you are on.  At the end of the day though, there is no substitute for an engineer.
As for outsourcing engineering, it's been that way since the earliest days.  The challenge is to keep it ballanced - trading off loss of direct control and understanding for potential cost savings.  The scales need to be tipped back a little.
Kevin

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