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Engineering Management Improvement Programs Implemented By Manufacturers To Become More Competitive

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Frontiers in Engineering Management

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.493.1 - 15.493.14



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Paper Authors


William Loendorf Eastern Washington University

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William R. Loendorf is currently an Associate Professor of Engineering & Design at Eastern Washington University. He obtained his B.Sc. in Engineering Science at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside, M.S. in Electrical Engineering at Colorado State University, M.B.A. at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and Ph.D. in Engineering Management at Walden University. He holds a Professional Engineer license and has 30 years of industrial experience as an Engineer or Engineering Manager at General Motors, Cadnetix, and Motorola. His interests include engineering management, technological literacy, and real-time embedded systems.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Engineering Management Improvement Programs Implemented by Manufacturers to Become More Competitive


In today's competitive global economy, organizations of all sizes from job shops to huge corporations are searching for ways to improve their ability to compete. Actions taken and changes made in the way they do business have made a positive difference. However, that alone may not be enough. Further efforts are needed to enhance quality, increase efficiency, and streamline operations. In response, organizations are implementing established or traditional improvement programs. This is a good choice since they have a proven record of accomplishment. However, which ones are actually being used to make organizations more competitive? To answer that question a study was undertaken in 2008 into one fundamental type of job shop; the American tool and die shops that fabricate molds, dies, and tools essential to manufacturing. Numerous improvement programs are available ranging in cost, time, and personnel to implement. Since many tool shops have limited resources, the choices for implementation are usually restricted. Regardless of the type of improvement program selected, the objectives are always to enhance quality, increase efficiency, and streamline operations. As a result, knowledge about the most frequently used programs must be included in the engineering and management courses associated with the engineering and engineering technology curriculum. The findings indicate that they are using ISO 9000, continuous improvement, lean manufacturing, and other programs to become more competitive. However, no one program was the magic cure for all of them. In order to meet this challenge, engineering and engineering technology courses were revised to utilize the results from this study in the preparation of graduates for engineering management positions in electrical, computer, mechanical, manufacturing, and construction careers.


“Job shops … are the unsung heroes and backbone of U.S. industry” (Bozzone4, 2002). Typically, they encompass contract, build-to-order, and custom manufacturing organizations. Few realize that job shops provide essential services to businesses of all sizes. If job shops were removed from any large company’s supplier base, their manufacturing system would likely collapse (Bozzone4, 2002). Among the many types of job shops, one group that is of particular importance is the American tool and die shops that fabricate molds, dies, and tools vital to the manufacturing process. “Thus, companies that produce them take on significance to the economy beyond their own contribution in employment and spending. Maintaining a strong, domestically based tooling sector is essential to the self-sufficiency of the U.S. manufacturing economy” (Michigan Economic Development Corporation19, 2005, p. 2).

A healthy American tooling industry is required to ensure the self-sufficiency of the domestic manufacturing sector, which is true for the commercial segment as well as the military industrial complex. This strategic significance sets the tooling industry apart from other small businesses. “At the same time, the vital role job shops play in enabling larger companies to compete

Loendorf, W. (2010, June), Engineering Management Improvement Programs Implemented By Manufacturers To Become More Competitive Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16495

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